Tag Archives: Arizona Wildcats

Running with the Pac: Week 5

And we’re back with our rankings of who had the best week in the Pac-12. Remember, these aren’t overall power rankings for the season (those will come in a day or two).  They are just rankings of which teams had the best games and weeks.  Teams on a bye are left off unless something happens to warrant inclusion.

1. Stanford Cardinal beat WSU 55-17

I had doubts about the Cardinal before the season, and their first few weeks didn’t do a lot to quell them.  An offense already short on playmakers lost two excellent tight ends and a star running back.  A defense supposed to be among the best in the country looked a bit lackluster for the first couple of games as well.  Stanford has changed course in a hurry.  The defense pounded WSU, knocking Connor Halliday out of the game, and the offense has added a vertical passing dimension it hasn’t had in a while.  I’m still not a complete believer in Stanford, but they look like a completely different offense from the one the Huskies beat last year.

2. Arizona State Sun Devils beat USC 62-41

ASU badly needed a win to maintain any shot at challenging UCLA in the south, and they got it in unexpected fashion.  Everyone knows about USC’s offensive woes, but their defense had been excellent.  ASU showed all of their offensive weapons in an explosion that cost Lane Kiffin his job.  Giving up 41 is concerning, but the win is still big.

3. UW Huskies beat Arizona 31-13

It’s unclear how good the Huskies opponents have been, which makes it tough to know how the Huskies are.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Either way, the Huskies handled what looked like a solid but limited Arizona squad.  It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t the blowout Dawg fans were hoping for, but I think that had as much to do with the first half monsoon as with anything the Huskies did.  There was a point where both teams seemed to give up on doing anything more than handing off, and that was a bigger detriment to UW than Arizona.  The defense was stingy all day, and the offense exerted its will most of the game.  It’s a big win for the Huskies, but it didn’t provide as much clarity on the Huskies ability as I’d hoped.  That’ll come soon.

4. OSU Beavers beat Colorado 44-17

After their well-documented slow start, the Beavers are rallying.  They haven’t beat anyone of consequence, but they’ve done what’s necessary to get their season back on track.  I still think their defense will keep them out of the top half of the division, but the offense is as dangerous as any.  Sean Mannion to Brandin Cooks is maybe the top duo in the country.

5. Oregon Ducks beat Cal 55-16

Oregon demolished another poor opponent.  The main reason they’re at the bottom of the winning teams is De’Anthony Thomas’s injury.  It doesn’t sound serious, but he’s likely out this weekend, and hopefully (for the Huskies) the one after.

6. Arizona Wildcats lost to UW 31-13

No one had a “good loss” this week, but Arizona’s wasn’t terrible: on the road, to a ranked opponent, competitive.  As I said, the weather made it hard to glean a lot from that game, but Arizona has a solid defense and an excellent running back.  Quarterback is what’s going to hold them down.  BJ Denker gave no indication he can be any passing threat whatsoever.  The Cats can beat the bad teams, but they’re going to struggle greatly against good defenses until they find a semblance of a passing game.

7. Colorado Buffaloes lost to OSU 44-17

The next three are all pretty interchangeable, but we’ll give the Buffs the top spot because we had low expectations of them and they didn’t suffer any notable injuries or embarrassments that I’m aware of.  The loss did show how far Colorado still has to go before they’ll be competitive.

8. California Golden Bears lost to Oregon 55-16

No one expected Cal to keep this close, but I thought they’d put up a few more points, or at least yards.  They now have a bit of a quarterback controversy as well, for reasons unclear to me.  They switched mid-game from starter Jared Goff to give Zach Kline some snaps.  Maybe it was just to protect the less mobile Goff, but if they were expecting more from a true freshman against Oregon, they’re crazy.  Goff was good enough before Saturday to justify the surprising decision to go with him to start the season, and to change now seems strange to me.  I’d expect to see Goff back in there throwing like crazy.  It might not get Cal many wins, but a dynamic passing game is all they have going for them.

9. WSU Cougars lost to Stanford 55-17

The Cougars go below the previous two because they actually had hopes of a win, hopes that Stanford tore apart and sent down the storm drains with the rain.  WSU’s supposedly improved defense was overmatched, and the offense did next to nothing.  I do think WSU’s better than last year, but their improvement has been overstated.  A big problem is the quarterback.  Halliday can do some things, but he balances his plusses with terrible mistakes.  Austin Apodaca looked decent when he came on for the injured Halliday, but he’s not going to be a magical cure should the Cougars go to him more in the future.  The Cougars might be on the right track, but Stanford showed it’s going to be a slower journey than Cougar fans had hoped.

10. USC Trojans lost to ASU 62-41

Let’s recap USC’s Saturday/early Sunday. They were demolished by ASU, giving up more points in one game than they had all season up to that point.  They lost multiple defenders to injury, depleting a roster already demolished due to scholarship sanctions.  All-world WR Marquise Lee, suffering a poor season due to inconsistent quarterback play, had a knee injury that looked bad, although it’s unknown how long he’ll be out.  And, to top it off, Lane Kiffin was fired as soon as the plane landed back in LA.  It’s been about as bad a week as USC could have imagined.  A few positives: USC still has plenty of talent, and it might respond to new coach Ed Orgeron.  The running game with Tre Madden and Justin Davis has been a solid plus for an offensive that’s struggled.  And whatever else one wants to say about Kiffin, his playcalling this season has been strange at best.  A new mind running the offense might get better results.  Or it might not.  It’s hard to know what the rest of the season will bring, but this was an inevitable move.  Let’s just say that as a fan of another Pac-12 team, I’d much rather have Lane Kiffin as USC’s coach than whomever they hire to replace him.

-Matthew

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UW vs. Arizona Predictions

Hello Husky fans.  Sorry for the lack of coverage this week.  Between company, life and Andrew getting a new job and having a birthday, it’s been a busy week.  Coming off the Idaho State beatdown, there wasn’t a lot to discuss anyway.  The Bengals were easily the worst team I ever remember the Huskies playing.  It seems a little pointless to play a game like that, but at least they get an easy win.  It was also good to see the Huskies not mess around and just take care of business.  They were able to play every eligible player on the roster as well.

The schedule gets much more interesting for everyone this week.  This game will tell a lot about both the Huskies and Wildcats.  It’s also a bit of a do or die game for Arizona St. and USC, at least if either want to stay in contention in the south.  We also might learn whether any of the past cellar-dwellars off to good starts (WSU, Colorado, etc.) are for real.  Colorado will have a tough time stopping OSU’s passing attack, but they might be able to put up enough points of their own to squeak to a 3-0 start.  WSU takes on Stanford at Century Link in a fascinating game.  The Cougar defense has looked greatly improved, but they haven’t faced much of a challenge.  I doubt they pull out the upset, but there are still a few doubts about Stanford as well.  It should be a fun Saturday.

I didn’t put out my weekly rankings of who had the best week, mostly because most of the games were so pathetic.  That will return next week, along with actual power rankings of the whole conference, now that we’re about a third of the way through the season.  I’m also planning to write on the Mariners, but every time I start to do that, some new fiasco happens.  As good as the football teams in Seattle look, the Mariners are that clueless right now.  Anyway, if you want to check back next week, we should have that and more up, and hopefully 4-0 starts to celebrate for both the Huskies and Hawks for the first time in… forever?  On to the predictions.

Joe

Joe’s out hiking the countryside and didn’t have time to write up anything, but he did send a score.  Happy hiking, Joe!

UW 33 – UA 20

Matthew

If the Huskies hadn’t been demolished in Tucson last year, I would think this would be a reasonably easy win.  It helps that the Wildcats lost QB Matt Scott and replaced him with BJ Denker, who has shown no ability to be a dangerous passing threat.  If the Dawgs can slow down Denker and All-American Ka’deem Carey, I don’t think Arizona can do enough through the air to win.  The Cats defense has been better, but I don’t think they’re good enough to stop Washington consistently.  This one might stay close, but I’m betting the Huskies eventually pull away for a double-digit win.  It’s hard to know what Arizona can do, and Carey and Rich Rodriguez should not be underestimated.  Still, if the Huskies are as good as I think they might be, they should win this one handily.

UW41 – UA 17

Danny

The Huskies lost to Arizona by 35 points last year, and yet, I think most Husky fans would be surprised if the Dawgs didn’t knock off the Cats tomorrow. Count me as one of those fans. Arizona has played 3 cupcakes, all at home, so the 3-0 record is deceiving and the jury is still out on them. On the other side, the Huskies have been tested and look like a good, if not great, football team. When these teams clash tomorrow night, 3 things stick out to me as reasons why I do not see a repeat of last year. First, the Huskies are at home, which is the biggest factor of all. Second, the QB matchup is not Matt Scott vs. a struggling Keith Price, but rather “Vanilla Vick” Denker vs. a red hot Keith Price. Finally, the revenge factor is an aspect of this game that I think has weighed on coaches’ and players’ minds all week. Losing 52-17 last year was embarrassing, particularly for the defense. Look for Wilcox to have his D locked in, and in all phases, I just think UW has the edge. Windy weather might be a factor in the pass game but I still predict a lot of points.

UW 38 – UA 20

Andrew

Husky:  “WOOF WOOF WOOF!!! I’M A DAAAWWWWG! BARK!”
Wildcat:  “Meow…”
Husky:  “That’s all you can say? Meow? Roooof! Grooowwwwll.”
Wildcat:  “Meow…”
Husky:  “You’re an idiot.”
Wildcat:  “Meow”
Husky:  “Oh, that’s right.  You’re a Wildcat.”
Wildcat:  “Meow”
Husky:  “Now, I must kill you.”

I have been a little bit out of the loop as of late but it seems like people are downplaying this game a little bit.  I don’t really understand why.  Last year, the Wildcats handed the Huskies their worst loss of the season.  The defense seemed to never have a chance and the offense never could get rolling.  Arizona just seemed to have our number.

This season, the Huskies appear to be much improved but they have yet to face a team with the speed Arizona has.  Arizona hasn’t played anyone good in their non-conference portion of the schedule and somehow this has been a bit of an indictment of their talent level, even though they have handled their business with ease.  Their defense should be better than last season and they have one of the best players in the nation.  Needless to say, I’m a little bit concerned.

The amount of experts picking blowout for this game doesn’t seem quite right to me but I do think the Huskies will pull away.  They seem to be on a revenge kick this year and I imagine there is some motivation from last year’s disaster.  The Huskies have improved their speed on both sides of the ball and are now used to playing up-tempo.  Arizona’s QB may have some trouble in the rain and in his first intimidating road-start.  The Huskies should be able to run the ball at will and they need to limit Ka’Deem Carey’s yards.

It should be a fun game and the Huskies hope to get to 4-0.  There should be about 200 plays run total and the pace could be frantic.  With the rain and wind coming down, it will feel like a true Fall Saturday in Seattle.  All in all, I see the Huskies winning a game that is fairly close.

UW 42 – UA 31

Go Dawgs!

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Runnin’ With The Pac: Week 3

Once again, rankings of who had the best week in the Pac-12.  These are not overall power rankings, just who had the best game/week last week.  Teams on a bye are excluded unless something warrants it.

1. UCLA Bruins beat Nebraska 41-21

What a tough week for the Bruins.  Last Sunday they lost a player, Nick Pasquale, who was killed in a car wreck.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, teammates and coaches.  Dealing with a death like that is so far beyond anything happening on the football field, and it showed as UCLA struggled in the first half on Saturday.  They stormed back to blow-out Nebraska and earn the Pac-12’s best victory thus far.  No matter how you usually feel about UCLA, this was a win everyone can be excited for them to get.  It doesn’t replace losing a member of their family, but if it helps give them meaning and a chance to move on, it will be worth something.  Best wishes to everyone involved, and we hope you find overwhelming love and support through the next months.

2. ASU Sun Devils beat Wisconsin 32-30

ASU didn’t always look good, but they looked better most of the game than did the Badgers.  And come on, how great was that ending!  It was wrong in oh so many ways, and Wisconsin has every right to be furious.  It was also one of the craziest things I’ve seen on the field in a while.  I’d put them number two just because of how much enjoyment it brought me, but it was also a solid win against a ranked team.  ASU didn’t look perfect, but they’re a tough team when they get rolling.

3. USC Trojans beat Boston College 35-7

After their terrible showing against WSU, the Trojans finally did some things right.  Kiffin named Cody Kessler as quarterback, and he was solid.  Even more encouraging was a strong day in the running game and signs that Marquise Lee is getting untracked.  He only caught two balls, but they went for 90 yards.  BC isn’t good, but USC did exactly what they needed to get their season at least going in the direction of the right track.

4. Oregon Ducks beat Tennessee 59-14

Not much to say here, as Oregon pummeled yet another mediocre opponent.  I wish we could see them play someone, but they’re disposing quickly of anyone they see.

5. UW Huskies beat Illinois 34-24

Illinois is probably about as good as Tennessee, but the Huskies weren’t nearly as dominant as Oregon was.  Still, road wins are always good, and the Dawgs were a few mistakes from a blow-out.  They need to stop making mistakes.  Don’t do dumb stuff, Huskies!

6. Oregon State Beavers beat Utah 51-48

The Beavs are tied with WSU for the Pac-12 lead.  Have a good laugh.  Take your time.  The good news is that, in what was something of a must win, the Beavers did, and salvaged any hope their season had.  The bad news is they didn’t look too great doing it and the defense continues to struggle mightily.  OSU usually improves over the year, except for that year they really didn’t.  They’re going to score plenty of points, but the defense doesn’t have any answers right now.  Glad to see Storm Woods is okay, though.  That was a scary moment for a talented guy.

7. (Tie) Arizona Wildcats beat UTSA 38-13 WSU Cougars beat Southern Utah 48-10

Both teams beat weak opponents fairly handily, so I’m giving them the tie.  I saw some of the WSU game and none of Arizona’s so I can’t say a ton.  WSU looked shaky early, but they managed to take care of business.  Both teams are doing what they need to do, but stiffer challenges await.

9. Stanford Cardinal beat Army 34-20

Unimpressive win for a top five Stanford squad.  The passing game is looking better than expected, but the defense struggled a bit with Army.  That shouldn’t happen.  Stanford is probably fine, but they look a bit suspect, and that’s enough to drop them to 9th in a strong week for the conference.

10. California Golden Bears lost to Ohio St. 52-34

Cal got whupped by OSU, but they did manage to put up 34 points.  QB Jared Goff is a keeper (literally. I have him in fantasy.  I might keep him) and the offense is fairly loaded and in a system well-fitted to their strengths.  Unfortunately for the Bears, the defense is horrendous.  I mean, it’s really bad.  Really really bad.  Cal could be good soon, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this year.

11. Utah Utes lost to OSU 51-48

The Utes get the basement for losing a conference game at home they were in position to win.  The good news is they were in position to win, and the offense is dramatically improved from last year.  Alas, they still lost, and the Utes aren’t good enough yet to be losing conference games at which they have a shot.

Honorary Listing: Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado had their match with Fresno State postponed due to the incredible flooding taking place.  Again, prayers and well wishes to all those suffering loss in the tragedy.  Cancelling the game was the right move.  Still, it was probably unfortunate for Colorado, who have been playing reasonably well and were looking for some revenge against FSU for last year’s beating.  Last I heard, they haven’t decided for sure if the game will be rescheduled, although they hope to.  Hopefully Colorado dries out soon and the Buffs can resume their slow improvement on the field.

Here’s to a week with fewer tragedies and even more great games.  Stay safe everybody.

-Matthew

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Head of the Pac: Week Two

This is a new thing I’m trying this season.  Last week it was just called Ranking the Pac-12.  Prepare yourself for a slew of bad “Pac” related titles until I find one I like.  Anyway, this is not a power ranking.  It is a subjective ranking of who had the best week the week before.  Teams who didn’t play will be left off unless something significant enough to merit a ranking happened. This week there was one interesting game and lots of blowouts of cupcakes.  The schedule gets a lot better in week 3.  Let’s do this.

1. WSU Cougars beat USC 10-7

I have some misgivings putting the Cougs at the top, because they really didn’t look too great, USC looked horrific, and they’re the Cougars.  Still, WSU got a road win over USC and is leading the Pac-12 North.  I would never have guessed either of those things would have happened this year.  WSU’s defense looked good, but there’s no arguing it was helped significantly by terrible quarterbacking and worse play-calling for USC.  The offense didn’t manage a touchdown, and was maybe worse than USC’s before the big catch and run that put them in field goal position.  The Cougars are certainly better than they were, but I’m unconvinced of how much.  Strangely, it’s the defense that has made the greatest strides under Mike Leach.

2. Oregon Ducks beat Virginia 59-10

The Ducks weren’t perfect, but any complaints are extremely minor when you beat an FBS  team on the road by 49 points.  I doubt Tennessee will fare much better this week.  The Ducks might not be challenged much before coming to Husky Stadium in a few weeks.

3. Utah Utes beat Weber State 70-7

Everything gets a little murky through the vast middle of these rankings.  No one played anyone good and most teams won big.  Extra points and the number three ranking to Utah for doing something I wouldn’t have believed them capable of before the season: putting up 70 points.  That’s a lot, regardless of the opponent.

4. ASU Sun Devils beat Sacramento St. 55-0

I like blowout shutouts.  This is an appropriate score given the teams involved, but it’s always encouraging to see a team nearly perfect on opening night.  This Saturday gets much tougher with Wisconsin coming to town.

5. Stanford Cardinal beat San Jose St. 34-13

Stanford wasn’t incredible, but they handled one of the week’s better opponents easily.  Offense is going to be the question for the Tree.  They’re lacking in established skill players outside of QB Kevin Hogan.  The defense and O Line will have to carry them until they can get clicking.

6. Arizona Wildcats beat UNLV 58-13

Another big win over a weak opponent. The passing game is struggling for the Cats.  Luckily they have All-American Kadeem Carey back from suspension.  Carey is one of the few players to ever be suspended for being an All-American.  The guy’s amazing in so many ways.

7. Oregon State Beavers beat Hawaii 33-14

We have reached the section: “Unimpressive wins against terrible opponents”.  Hawaii is terrible.  Even USC beat them handily.  OSU did too, but it took a while.  The game was in question for the first half before the Beavs pulled away.  They also lost the defense’s captain and maybe best player, LB Mike Doctor. At least he should heal quickly (Doctor joke).  Actually, probably not: 6-8 weeks out. The O Line is beat up as well.  We’ll see if the Beavers can rally, but it’s looking like a potentially long season.  Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks are pretty great though.

8. (Tie) California Golden Bears beat Portland St. 37-30; Colorado Buffaloes beat Central Arkansas 38-24

Many similarities here.  Both teams struggled to beat bad opponents.  Both had some standout offensive performances: Jared Goff went over 450 yards for the second game in a row for Cal, with many of those yards going to WR Bryce Treggs; Buff WR Paul Richardson had his second straight 200 yard receiving game.  That’s never been done before in the Pac-12.  Good stuff.  Unfortunately, the rest of the team isn’t that great, for both squads.

10. USC Trojans lost to WSU 10-7

Oh, USC.  Where to even begin?  This was one of the worst offensive performances I have ever seen.  Both quarterbacks are bad and made worse by Lane Kiffin’s poor handling and ridiculously terrible play-calling.  Maybe my biggest question is why both quarterbacks are so bad.  Both guys were highly rated and possess obvious physical skills.  It’s no surprise if one of them doesn’t develop, but I find it quite strange that both are struggling so greatly.  One more strike against Kiffin.  Unfortunately for him, he’s already wearing a Golden Sombrero.  The defense is good enough to sustain them if they can show even the slightest threat on offense, but that’s looking like a lot to ask for at the moment. That sentence is really depressing if you simultaneously look at their roster.  They have so much talent it’s crazy.  This team is going to have to drastically improve if they want to save Kiffin’s job, let alone get to a bowl game.  I’d put Kiffin at about a 3% chance of returning next year.

-Matthew

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Pac-12 Rankings: Week 1

Hello there, and welcome to the first week of the Good Guys Pac-12 power rankings!  These aren’t really going to be true power rankings though, because everyone does those and they never really change from week to week.  Instead, I’m going to rank teams based on who had the best week.

As such, this will mostly be a ranking of who had the weekend’s best wins to worst losses.  It has no bearing on who is the best overall team.  I repeat, these are not rankings of which team is the best.  Looking ahead, UW is number one on the list, because they demolished a ranked team.  I don’t think they’re the best team in the conference, but they easily had the best win.  All clear?

Stanford and Arizona State didn’t play, so I’m leaving them off.  That will be the case for most teams with byes throughout the year, unless something terrible or great happens to them during practice.  Not likely, but players get hurt during practice or arrested in Eugene.  Things happen.  On to the rankings!

1. Washington Huskies

No team made more of a statement than the Huskies.  Whether or not Boise State is a bit down this year, they were maybe the best opponent of any Pac-12 team this weekend.  The Huskies disposed of them with little mercy.  It was a dominating win for a program that needed one.

2. UCLA Bruins

It gets a little harder to distinguish at this point.  Nevada’s a decent team and UCLA whupped them 58-20.  I’m giving them bonus blowout points to bump them ahead of a couple of other teams.

3. Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado beat Colorado State 41-27.  CSU isn’t very good, but if you remember 2012, the Buffs didn’t win too many games.  One, to be exact.  They also lost to CSU to start last year, so this is a big improvement.  By all accounts, Colorado looked greatly improved, and for a program in need of some hope, this is a big win. Continue reading

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Good Guys Pac-12 Preview

The season is two days away, so let’s fire up a conference preview!  More comprehensive previews abound, so if you want a rundown of UCLA’s secondary, you’ll have to check somewhere else.  For this preview, I’m telling you two things: which player from each team I would want on the Huskies, and how scared I would be if the Dawgs were playing given team tomorrow.  I’ll rate that 1-10, with one being an almost certain win for the Dawgs and 10 an almost certain loss.  I’ll also go through the teams in the divisional order I’d expect them to finish.  So I guess you get three things!  Enjoy.

South Division

1. Arizona State

Player I Want (PIW): This is the easiest choice in the conference, because  DT Will Sutton might be the best player in the conference.  He’s one of the best pass rushing tackles in recent memory, and has a chance to win conference defensive player of the year for the second time in a row.  That hasn’t happened since Mr. Steve Emtman.  Sutton would fit perfectly next to Danny Shelton, transforming the Husky D Line from a bit of a worry to a huge strength.

Scare-o-meter: 7.  ASU took a big step forward last year, and I think they’ll continue to move up.  They have some issues, but they also have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball.  Taylor Kelly was one of the best QBs in the conference last year, and DJ Foster and Marion Grice is the top running back duo in the Pac-12.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish as low as third in the south, but I’m betting they fight off a tough early schedule to make the Pac-12 Championship Game.

2. USC

PIW: Also an easy choice: Marquise Lee, the best receiver in all the land.  Lee brings me to an interesting point in deciding on these players.  The best player on a team isn’t always the guy who would help the Huskies the most.  Defensive lineman Morgan Breslin, for instance, plays at a position of greater need for UW.  In close calls, UW’s need wins out.  Sometimes the greatness of one player far outweighs the utility of another, though.  Anyone who would turn down a chance to see Marquise Lee on their side every Saturday is crazy.

Scare-o-meter: 6.  As usual, USC has as much talent as anyone in the conference.  They have three questions holding them back: 1. Who’s QB? Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are both expected to play on Thursday. 2. Running back is uncertain, with Silas Redd injured.  Lots of talent here though.  3. Lane Kiffin is still coach.  He’s a complete x-factor.  Still, aside from losing Matt Barkley and a few others, this is a roster that was expected to challenge for a national championship last year.  They could be a load if a QB emerges and Kiffin doesn’t sabotage them.

3. UCLA Continue reading

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UW vs. Arizona Predictions

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!

Andrew

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

Dan

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

Matthew

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

Joe

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

Go Dawgs!

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Pac-12 Power Rankings

The college football season is roughly a third of the way over, and nearly everyone has played a conference game or two (the Huskies are the only team without one, strangely).  There have already been quite a few surprises, so let’s take a second to step back and see where everyone stands.

I don’t claim these power rankings to be any better than anyone else’s.  I watch a good number of games and read a lot more, but there are plenty of teams I haven’t seen much of.  Still, everyone loves a power ranking, so I’ll throw one up here.  I’m ranking teams based almost entirely on what they’ve done so far, both in terms of record and how they’ve looked.  If two teams are close or if there are significant outside circumstances, I’ll look at who is most likely to be successful in the future.  That’s secondary though, and this will mainly be a ranking of how good teams have been thus far.  Here goes nothing:

1. Oregon

Oregon is the second ranked team in the country and has demolished everyone it’s faced.  That’s not saying a lot though, as Arizona is the only decent team they’ve played.  The Wildcats hung with them for a while last night, but eventually the Ducks pitched a shutout and won 49-0.  To me, they don’t look as good as they have in the last couple of years, but it’s hard to say for sure until they play someone who will test them offensively and defensively.

2. Stanford

The Cardinal has the best win in the conference, over USC, a pounding defense, and plenty of power in the running game with Stepfan Taylor and a big offensive line.  What they also have is a rookie quarterback and a couple of unimpressive wins before the USC game.  That’s just to say that we’re not positive where they’ll go from here, especially when they hit the road, but they certainly looked the part against USC.

3. USC

This is where the rankings get a little difficult, as 3-5 could all be argued as interchangeable.  We’ll go with USC because of pedigree, talent and the quality of their loss, but they have questions.  They need to dramatically improve on the offensive line and hope they don’t lose any more players to injury.  More interestingly, what will Lane Kiffin do the rest of the year?  He seems on the verge of melting down and is starting to show the attitude that got him in trouble in Oakland and Tennessee.

4. Oregon State

OSU has two impressive wins and a stifling defense.  I seriously considered them at #3.  In the end, they’re here because they’ve only played two games (through no fault of their own) and had an extra week to prepare for each of them, as Andrew pointed out to me last night. It’s too early to call them a definite contender, but they look the most legitimate of all the surprise teams thus far.

5. Arizona State

The Sun Devils have had plenty of talent recently.  Last year they were the popular pick to win the South before imploding completely.  This year they look like they’ve ironed out the attitude problems and are playing great football.  They have a bunch of playmakers, a decent defense, and a surprisingly efficient and effective quarterback in Taylor Kelly.  It may not last, but they look tough at the moment.

6. Arizona

Arizona might have been #4 before last night, but Oregon brought them back to reality quickly.  One could argue that UA held the Ducks down for a bit, but that’s often how Oregon wins games.  The Wildcats are definitely improved, but it’s hard to know how much or if it will last.

7. UCLA

This might be too low, but I’ll be a skeptic on UCLA until they do something for a full season or two.  The Nebraska win was good, but they’ve had big early wins before falling apart in the past.  They have a great young QB in Brett Hundley, but will he hit the freshman wall at some point?  Maybe the biggest question is whether Jim Mora’s toughness campaign has had any effect.

8. Washington

UW is the hardest team to call in the conference.  They have blowouts going both directions that were completely unsurprising.  The San Diego State win is decent, but they’ve looked fairly mediocre on both sides of the ball.  Really, the Huskies have done exactly what they were supposed to do, so the only thing to do is see if they can pull off an upset in the next month.

9. Utah

Utah has a decent win against BYU, but otherwise they look nothing like a team expected to be the biggest South challenger to USC.  The offense is a big question, with a hole at quarterback and their only real star, RB John White, hampered with injury so far.  I would bet that Utah pulls it together to win a few more, but I’d be surprised if they break .500.

10. California

I don’t have a clue what to make of the Golden Bears.  Talent-wise, they should be at least middle of the pack, and they looked that way against Ohio State.  Otherwise, it’s not happening on the field.  The only thing that seems clear is that QB Zach Maynard and the offensive line have to be consistently effective, and that isn’t happening right now.

11. Colorado

Congratulations to the Buffs, who stampeded their way out of the cellar yesterday.  Colorado showed good resolve and fight to pull out the win over WSU, but the talent doesn’t look to be there for many more wins.  I would imagine if they get to three or four, fans will feel moderately hopeful for the future after a dreadful start.

12. Washington State

And here are the Cougars, back in their familiar resting place.  Other than possibly USC, I don’t think any team has had a more disappointing start to the season than the Cougs.  With all of the hope from the Mike Leach hire, a 4-0 start and a bowl game seemed like a solid possibility.  Instead, they’re 2-2, with neither of the wins looking impressive and one of the losses to a team that was being talked of as potentially going 0-12.  The defense looks untalented and mistake-prone, a bad combination.  The offense has talent, but the Air Raid is taking longer to click than most expected.  At this point, the quarterbacks are a bit of a question.  Jeff Tuel is hurt and looked unsure of himself when he did play.  Connor Halliday has been better than Tuel, but he’s a gambler type prone to interceptions.  Even more concerning is the psyche/attitude of the team.  Leach didn’t seem to bring the reset they needed.  It’s hard not to wonder whether this group of players will ever understand what it takes to win football games.  I’d expect a little bit of improvement, but a shot at a bowl game seems out the window.

-Matthew

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