Through six games, these Huskies have the same combined margin of victory as the '91 team. "I think we’ve got a good start," UW coach Chris Petersen said.
“You want to talk to me after we play at Arizona, come back on a short week against Stanford and then (go) to Oregon? You want to have some hype after that? OK. But until then, until we play six games … it’s like, really?” — Washington coach Chris Petersen, on July 14
Well, here they are.
The Huskies are 6-0 entering their bye week, they’re ranked No. 5 and they just beat Stanford and Oregon by a combined score of 114-27.
Really, Coach, how do you feel now?
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“I think we’ve got a good start,” Petersen said Saturday night, standing outside the visitor’s locker room at Autzen Stadium after UW’s 70-21 victory over the Ducks.
“I think we’re really proud of these guys. They haven’t flinched. And it really goes back to last season. They were so mad and so frustrated, but they kept working. And we told them: ‘It’s going to come.’ And so they got a little better. And then in January you could tell they had a little chip on their shoulder … and they’ve done everything we’ve asked them (to do since). So if they will stay grounded and humble and keep doing what they’ve been doing, we’ll have chance to keep improving.”
The Huskies are 6-0 for the first time since 1992, and at the season’s halfway mark they’re squarely in the conversation for their first appearance in the College Football Playoff. Good start, indeed.
“I truly believe this team can get as far as they choose to,” UW offensive lineman Kaleb McGary said. “I have every ounce of belief that you can have in the guys next to me, the guys around me. I’m amazed by my own teammates about what we can accomplish when we decide to.”
How dominant have the Huskies been?
UW’s 1991 national-championship team is widely regarded as the greatest in school history — and one of the best teams in conference history — and through six games these Huskies have outscored opponents by the same margin as the ’91 team had through six games: 212 points.
Petersen said Saturday that he appreciates how his players have handled expectations so far this season, and he says he’s not overly concerned about how they’ll handle the added scrutiny now that they’ve established themselves as the Pac-12 favorites.
“They prepare each week really, really hard — with a purpose to get better, with a chip on their shoulder,” he said. “And that was the case again this week. I think it’s because everybody has a lot of respect for this Oregon program, so these guys prepared as hard as they’ve prepared all year. I think it’s nice when they prepare that hard and they can see the fruits of their labor.”
— Kickoff time will be announced Monday for UW’s Oct. 22 game against Oregon State at Husky Stadium.