Washington Huskies 2018 Season Preview
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Washington Huskies 2018 Season Preview

Expectations are exceedingly high at UW this year as the Huskies look to do something they haven't done since 1991.

Washington Huskies 2018 Season Preview
Alex Larson

10 years ago, the 2008 Washington Huskies finished with a 0-12 record. Fast-forward 10 years later, the 2018 Huskies are predicted to go back to the College Football Playoff. My how times have changed...But this school has been a part of my life from day one.

Over the years, my grandmother and I have called each other at halftime and after the game to talk about the big highlights. She was a long time season ticket holder, who would tell me the glory days of Husky football with Steve Emtman and legendary coach, Don James. My late father and I would wake up at the crack of dawn (not literally, but definitely felt like it) on Saturday mornings to watch ESPN's College Gameday. This is a tradition I have continued for years (Find me another teenager willing to wake up at 5:30AM on Saturdays) and watch the Huskies play later.

I am proud to say that I was the first one on my father's side of the family to attend and graduate from UW and I got to live out my dream of sitting in the Dawg Pack (student section) .

I have watched this team become a laughing stock in the Ty Willingham era, to improving in the Sarkisian era, to becoming Pac-12 Champions and falling short to Alabama in the CFP Semi-Final in 2016 with stern, and intense Coach Chris Petersen. It's finally time to Bow Down to Washington!

While it's safe to say Jake Browning underachieved last year - as did the rest of the team against Arizona State - the Huskies finished 10-3 (7-2 in Pac-12) with a unfortunate, hard-fought loss to Penn State 35-28 in the Fiesta Bowl. It wasn't just bad play, it was also bad luck with injuries. UW lost WR Chico McClatcher, LT Trey Adams, CB Jordan Miller, LB D.J. Beavers, TE Hunter Bryant (who might not play again this year) with season-ending injuries, while Freshman stud CB Byron Murphy missed significant time with a broken foot.

This year, the Huskies are currently ranked #5 on ESPN's Preseason Power Ranking and #6 in the Amway Coaches Poll, and a lot is riding on their backs. They return Senior QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, RB Salmon Ahmed, WR Aaron Fuller, WR Ty Jones, about 80% of their Offensive Line, DL Greg Gains, DB Austin Joyner, and LB Ben Burr-Kurvin. Their 2018 recruiting class includes four-star QBs Jacob Sirmon, Colson Yankoff (who will see action in future years), WR Marquis Spiker, CB Julius Irvin... you get the point: The Huskies are stacked! All but Bryant will be back from the list of injured players (above) and the experience of the QB and RB position makes UW a threat all around the country.

Game-by-game predictions:

Note: These predictions might change as the season goes on as key player's may get hurt, and/or teams might be better or worse than I predicted. I will compare the games I picked on this article with the pick I give in the gameday previews.

9/1/18: Auburn Tigers (@Atlanta, GA)

All the talk of UW's cupcake schedule is thrown out the door with this game against Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers (who defeated Alabama 26-14 last year). Even if UW loses, they won't be out of Playoff talk just yet. UW may not have been able to knock off Alabama, but this might be the greatest defense Petersen and crew have put together, and we say that a lot! While the defense steals the show, Browning and Gaskin do just enough to squeeze by Auburn and shut the mouths of SEC-bias ESPN to put their names back on the CFP map!1-0

9/8/18: North Dakota Fighting Hawks

As a Young Alumni Season Ticket holder (thank you again, to my beautiful girlfriend who forked over $200) this will be the first time I see the guys up close, live and in-person...if you count Section 326, Row 58 up close. Whatever rust UW had against Auburn, they'll clean it up here for the first 2018 game at the Greatest Setting in College Football. 2-0

9/15/18: @Utah Utes

Remember what I said about no more cupcake schedule talk? Exactly. Utah has been trouble for UW these last few years. In 2016 late in the game, Dante Pettis took a 58-yard Punt Return to the house to hold off Utah in their own place 31-24. Last year, UW won because of these three things: A questionably weird timeout from Utes Head Coach Kyle Wittingham, a couple of bombs thrown by Browning late, and a FG that was made by Tristan Vizcaino who finished 2017 making 12 of 19. Utah is a Pac-12 South favorite, but UW should win a very low-scoring affair. 3-0

9/22/18: Arizona State Sun Devils

Most of the East Coast was asleep at 10:45PM EST on October 14, 2017. However, they awoke the next morning to see UW miserably lost to Arizona State in 13-7 in Tempe and questioned their shots at the CFP. Arizona State has had the Huskies number for the longest time, but I know these guys didn't forget what happened last year. ASU will put up a fight with new head coach Herm Edwards, but the Dawgs will be barking and biting as sweet revenge will be served their way.4-0

9/29/18: BYU Cougars

UW should have no problem handling BYU. However, UW better polish any other bugaboos they have because their next two games are critical in determining the rest of the their season. 5-0

10/6/18: @UCLA Bruins

Chip Kelly returns to Pac-12 action with a Bruins team that lost QB Josh Rosen to the NFL and is supposed to be middle of the pack. While the Huskies should be the better team, this one has trap game written all over it. But fear not, there's no doubt a one-loss team can make it to the Playoff. 5-1

10/13/18: @Oregon Ducks

Part of the reason I had UW losing last week was because of this game. These are a bunch of young college athletes and this is a rivalry game, you can't expect them not to eye this one on the schedule. I hate Oregon, and if you're reading this, so should you! While they've had our number for years upon years, UW has blown the Ducks out of the water the previous two seasons *rimshot*. The winning streak will improve to three against the Ducks in a very entertaining game. 6-1

10/20/18: Colorado Buffaloes

In 2016, these two faced off in the Pac-12 Championship. Colorado fell flat last season and I don't expect too much from them again this year. 7-1

10/27/18: @California Golden Bears

UW visits their former Defensive Coordinator who is now head coach, Justin Wilcox. While this might be a closer game than the experts think, the UW defense will be flying all over the ball and be key contributors to their victory against the Golden Bears. 8-1

11/3/18: Stanford Cardinal

If UW is truly 8-1, then this one should have College Gameday written all over it! I remember storming onto the field when UW destroyed Stanford 44-6 in 2016 to take over the Pac-12 North. However, Bryce Love and the Cardinal were too much for UW last year as Stanford put the nail in the coffin for the Huskies chance to repeat as Pac-12 North champions. Bryce Love vs. the Huskies Defense will be the difference in this one. Expect the Cardinal to hang with UW late in the game, but UW should get the much-needed victory to crown themselves Pac-12 North champs.9-1

11/17/18: Oregon State

The only way the Huskies don't win this game is if they don't show up. 10-1

11/23/18 (Friday): @Washington State Cougars

Chris Petersen is 4-0 in Apple Cups against Mike Leach and the Cougs, while outscoring them 162-54. Need I say more?11-1

11/30/18 (Friday): Pac-12 Championship (@Santa Clara, CA)

While some believe USC can repeat as Pac-12 South champions, Sam Darnold left SoCal for the NFL and USC might have trouble replacing him. That's why I believe Utah will come out on top in the South, but they're in for a treat when faced against UW. Regardless of who UW faces in this game, the Washington Huskies will walk away victorious as 2018 Pac-12 Champions!

This is going to be a season to remember Husky fans! With the combination of experienced players returning (Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, Greg Gains, etc etc), with Coach Petersen's stern and intense coaching style and the overall hype surrounding this team, I would be shocked to see UW left out of the Top 4 at the end of the year.

It all starts with Auburn on September 1st in Georgia.

Go Purple, Be Gold!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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