Instant Analysis: UW's 2014 Football Schedule

Today, the Pac 12 announced the conference football schedule and there were some interesting tidbits worth noting. First off, the Huskies will not play a game on a Thursday or Friday night. Second, the 2014 schedule appears to be very favorable with only one set of back-to-back road games. Here's an early look at the schedule and what, at least at this early stage, fans can anticipate...

August 30th - at Hawaii

This game will be interesting as the Warriors always tend to give teams fits early in the season. However, new head coach Chris Petersen and most of his staff are very familiar with what Hawaii does and this should wind up being a nice beginning to the season. Lots of Washington fans are already talking about making the trip to the Islands to finish off their summer so there should be a good contingent of purple in the stands.

September 6th - vs. Eastern Washington

The last time the Eagles came to Husky Stadium, they pushed the Huskies to the limit. EWU head coach Beau Baldwin has been interviewing for jobs, but looks like he will be walking the sidelines for at least one more year. His wide-open attack could give UW's defense fits, but the Huskies have more speed and size and should come away with a relatively easy win.

September 13th - vs. Illinois

Illinois, while they finished 4-8 on the season, were a much tougher opponent for their competition in 2013 than they were in 2012. They lose their quarterback, but they have plenty of good athletes on their roster. UW won going away at Soldier Field in Chicago back in September and they are definitely a couple of steps above the Illini in the talent department.

September 20th - vs. Georgia State

Former Husky assistant coach Trent Miles brings the Panthers into Husky Stadium in their second season at the FBS level (they were an FCS team from '10-'12). GSU has some talent on their roster but they went 0-12 last season, so this should be another nice warm-up for the conference season for the Dawgs.

September 27th - vs. Stanford The fourth-straight home game for the Dawgs should be a good one as the Huskies will have had four games to get work out whatever growing pains they have while working in Petersen's offensive scheme. This game will be huge for the Huskies, not only because it kicks off the conference schedule, but also because they were oh-so-close to beating the Cardinal on the road last year and Stanford loses a ton of talent on both sides of the ball.

October 4th - Bye

The bye week couldn't come at a better time. The players will have played one conference game and will be able to heal up any bumps and bruises they've suffered in the first five games.

October 11th - at California

The Golden Bears were the worst team in the conference by a long way last season, but they have more talent than their record showed. Head coach Sonny Dykes showed his displeasure with the defensive staff by demoting defensive coordinator Andy Buh and firing two other defensive assistants, so it will be interesting to see who he winds up with as his new defensive coordinator. QB Jared Goff had a very good freshman season and he's got some talented receivers at his disposal, but their offensive line wasn't very good and their defense was epically bad and probably won't be much better with the losses of several key players to graduation.

October 18th - at Oregon

Is this the year the streak ends? 10 years is too long for the Huskies to be looking up as Oregon runs away from them. Petersen has beaten the Ducks twice and one of those wins was in Eugene. What you have to hope is that the Huskies don't overlook Cal while anticipating this matchup. The return of Marcus Mariota and a ton of talent and speed on both sides of the ball, including an NFL-caliber corner is Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, so if the Huskies do win this game, it will not be because the Ducks are having a down year athletically.

October 25th - vs. Arizona State

The Sun Devils trounced the Dawgs in the desert last year and I'm sure most of the returning players want revenge for that humiliation. Helping matters is that ASU loses a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but Todd Graham has recruited well, so it isn't like they will fall off the map. Also returning is QB Taylor Kelly and he's a dangerous player when given time to throw the ball. Making matters more difficult is the fact that the Huskies will likely be coming down off of their emotional game from Oregon the week before.

November 1st - at Colorado

The Buffaloes finally got out of the Pac 12 cellar, but they still are near the bottom of the conference as far as talent is concerned. They also lost their best player, WR Paul Richardson, to the NFL, so, it will be interesting to see what head coach Mike MacIntyre comes up with in his second year at the helm.

November 8th - vs. UCLA

This one's another huge game for the Dawgs. They played with the Bruins for much of their game in the Rose Bowl last year, but two early fumbles and a couple of key injuries -- Keith Price and Micah Hatchie -- were too much to overcome in a 10-point loss. This one will be an all-out war and should be an electric atmosphere.

November 15th - at Arizona

The Huskies never seem to play well down in Arizona, whether they are playing the Wildcats or the Sun Devils, and Rich Rodriguez appears to have his team poised for a breakthrough season with the talent he is assembling down in Tucson. After their huge game vs. UCLA the week before, this one could be a trap game so it will behoove Petersen and his staff to keep his players motivated and focused on the task at hand.

November 22nd - vs. Oregon State

Sean Mannion returns for his senior season after putting up record-setting numbers as a junior. The good news is that the Beavers lost Brandin Cooks and Scott Crichton to the NFL, two of their best players, so OSU might not be as dangerous as they were last year when the Dawgs manhandled them to the tune of 69-27 on the road in Cyler Miles' first start.

November 29th - at Washington State

As usual, you can expect to throw the records out the door on this one. WSU has started to get things rolling under Mike Leach, their bowl meltdown vs. Colorado State notwithstanding, and they have a senior quarterback (Connor Halliday) and some talented receivers returning. They lose a lot of starters along the offensive line, a unit that was average at best, and they lose their best defensive player (Deone Bucannon) and must replace some important players in the front seven as well.


Some Thoughts: This schedule sets up nicely for the Dawgs as they play Stanford right out of the gate at home after a very soft out of conference schedule; the bye week right before their one tough run of games -- at Cal and Oregon and then home vs. ASU -- should be helpful; the game against UCLA could be epic with the budding rivalry between the two programs and the history with Mora and Myles Jack's antics; Arizona, if they can find a quarterback, could be the surprise team in the south next year; WSU's confidence should be pretty high heading into next year; Colorado and Cal are still likely headed for "cellar dweller" status in 2014; Stanford has a roster full of talent, but losing the amount of experience they do should bring them back to the pack a little bit; lastly, it is nice not to have one Thursday or Friday game to watch or attend this season. College football belongs on Saturdays.

-- Worth noting is that there are no times set for the conference schedule yet. Several games will likely be added to the national broadcast schedule in the spring and summer and whichever games are not picked up by the start of the season will then fall into the 12-day window before we know the times and what network the game will be televised on.


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