Just a couple of quick thoughts before the predictions…
- I don’t follow high school football real closely, but it seems the Seattle area is especially potent this year. Bellevue is ranked #3 in the country by ESPN. They have one current Husky commit, MLB Sean Constantine (who unfortunately just broke his arm but should be back for the playoffs). Myles Jack is a terror at LB and RB, and while he’s currently committed to UCLA, people seem to think there’s a good chance he changes to the Huskies. That’s not even mentioning junior Budda Baker, who will easily be the top recruit in the state next year as a RB/Safety. Out in Sammamish, Skyline’s good like always and Max Browne is the top quarterback in the country. At least two other quarterbacks are Division I commits, Bellarmine Prep’s Sefo Liufau to Colorado and Eisenhower’s (in Yakima, my hometown) Kolney Cassel to Southern Methodist. I don’t know how good the teams are throughout the state, but there’s plenty of talent, led by Danny Mattingly in Spokane. He’s committed to Notre Dame, but the Huskies and others are working on him. And how about the kickers? Mt. Si’s Cameron Van Winkle will be a Husky next year, and Austin Rehkow kicked a record 67-yarder in Spokane this week. Congratulations to everyone so far, and get out and see a game if you get a chance.
- We’ll get more into recruiting once December and January hit, but it’s shaping up to be a fun year. The Huskies have 18 current commits, a class rated #2 in the Pac-12 right now. It’s not expected they’ll take too many more than that, but experts have speculated that as much as half the class could be different by the time signing day gets here. The good news is that the Huskies are still in on some big-time prospects. I’ll try to put up a more detailed post if the Huskies have a big weekend of visitors soon.
- On the basketball recruiting side, news is looking good. PG Nigel Williams-Goss, a playmaking true point type, has been committed for a while. This week, Darin Johnson, a shooting guard from California, committed. Both are four star recruits. The Dawgs will likely take two more players, and those will hopefully be forward Aaron Gordon and SG Isaac Hamilton. Hamilton is the less likely of the two, but that’s fine if they get Gordon, who is possibly the best player in the country. He’s a skilled high flyer who has been high on the Huskies for a while. We’ll see if they can hold off Arizona and Kentucky, among others.
On to the predictions!
This is a hard game to pick. On one hand, the death march that is the Husky schedule is over. They are now playing teams that they probably have more talent than and should be able to compete with and get some wins. Arizona has a terrible defense and the Huskies will actually score tomorrow. On the flip side, night games in Arizona are so weird. They seem to use some sort of trickery down there in the desert. Maybe the Sun Devil helps both teams? I don’t know. I’m getting off track. Arizona’s offense is incredible and our defense is much improved. Our offense is struggling and Arizona’s defense is terrible. That all looks like a draw to me. There doesn’t seem to be a clear advantage in the special teams department. Maybe these teams will tie? You can’t do that. Today on KJR, Sark said that they’ve had this game circled on their calendar before the season started. He said that they knew the second half would be incredibly important and called this game the biggest of the year. It seems like he and his team know the importance of tomorrow. I was going to pick Arizona until I heard that interview. He won me over and now I think the Dawgs pull this one out. The defense will need to get opportunistic stops and get tough in the red zone. The offense needs to roll. There’s no other option. Keith Price can do it.
UW 38 – Arizona 31
The Dawgs roll into Tucson licking their wounds from the past 2 weeks. At 3-3, UW has gotten past the toughest part of the schedule, and it feels like they’ve approached a fork in the road. Tomorrow night’s game could propel the Huskies to a strong finish, and I will be rooting hard for that, but the schedule only gets slightly easier now and things could quickly unravel for the Huskies. The new and improved defense will have its hands full yet again against Rich Rod’s dynamic spread. Zona will score often, so to me this game will come down to whether Keith Price and the Washington offense can keep pace. I see a good ole Saturday night barn burner, full of entertainment, but ultimately Arizona has just enough firepower to beat this searching, beaten up Husky team.
Wildcats 38 – Huskies 34
This game could very well shape the rest of the season, for both of these teams. The Arizona offense is potent, but it’s potentially a better matchup for a Husky defense strong in the secondary. The Huskies need to stay strong against an excellent running back in Kadeem Carey and find a way to muster a bit of a pass rush when Matt Scott holds the ball for any time at all. I think the Huskies can hold them relatively in check, but the question is whether they will from the beginning. That seems to always be the question with this team. This game will likely come down to how healthy the Husky offense can get against a terrible Arizona defense. I’m betting they feel pretty good by tomorrow morning.
Huskies 38 – Wildcats 28
The Huskies come into their Saturday night match up with Arizona as the worst passing offense in league. Not many followers of this program even thought that possible at the beginning of the year, yet here we are. Keith Price has regressed from last season. Kasen Williams and ASJ have yet to make any significant impact on opposing defenses, and the remaining receiving corps have been very quiet. The reasons for this are manifold: the offensive line’s pass blocking has been sub par, Price simply does not look like the same QB from last year, losing starting tailback Jesse Callier and frankly the level of opponents has been strong. Throw all that together and you get a mess in the passing attack. The good news? Arizona! The ‘Cats are simply terrible defensively, ranking near the bottom of the Pac-12 in every category imaginable. U of A simply cannot get pressure on the QB, and they don’t force turnovers. This will be the first game since PSU that UW should be able to move the ball, even in light of the above negatives casting a shadow on the offense. I fully expect Keith Price to find a rhythm and have a big game in tandem with Kasen Williams, who is flat out due to have an 8 catch, 190 yard 2 TD performance. Watch for the Dawgs to run as well, giving Bishop Sankey a heavy work load. I feel really good about this game despite the traditionally notorious and bizarre effect a night game in Tuscon can have on road opponents. I think the Huskies have more talent, top to bottom, than the Wildcats, which will lead to a wild, yet satisfying win.
UW 38 – UA 34