Washington Huskies Preseason Prediction

The season is upon us and I’ve definitely got that football fever. I’ve read through most of the preseason preview magazines, stayed up to date on Twitter with information regarding the Pac-12 and I now think I’m ready to predict the Washington Huskies’ season.

Of course, injuries do come about and tend to throw a wrench in teams’ plans, so it’s important to note that this is just a preseason prediction on the Huskies’ 2014 schedule.

Here are my thoughts on what 2014 has in store for the Huskies, game by game.
8/30: UW 38, Hawaii 13: I already sent in my prediction for this game so make sure to look there for more of my thoughts. But overall, the Huskies are way more talented than the Rainbow Warriors. The islanders will continue their downfall to possible non existence next year with a beating from the Huskies.
9/6: UW 31, Eastern Washington 24: I think this could be a lot closer game than what I’m predicting, but I really think the defense will be able to contain Vernon Adams and company. Adams looked mighty good in their opener, but look at their opponent. Sam Houston State’s defense does not even compare to the Huskies’ defense. Kikaha, both Hudsons and Shaq Thompson should be able to contain Adams on the ground and the Huskies’ secondary will cause a couple of coverage sacks. Cyler Miles should be slotted right into the offense in this one and although I think he struggles at first, he’ll get into the groove of things by half time. The Huskies pass an early test as Shaq Thompson anchors the defense with an interception and a sack late in the game.
9/13: UW 35, Illinois 17: I really have no clue why the writer for the Illinois Fansided website would ever think the Fightin’ Illini could come into Husky Stadium and knock off a top-25 team. Must have gotten a little too hyper that day while writing, maybe like I am tonight about the Dawgs. The Huskies had no problem with Illinois last year in Chicago and I think things will be easier at home in the teams’ second face-off in as many years. Add in the fact the the Illini are losing their starting QB in Nathan Scheelhaase, who started all four of his years at Illinois, and you just have an ugly game. Miles and the offense find their groove early and don’t let up. Peters adds a pick six.
9/20: UW 48, Georgia State 9: There really isn’t much to say about this one. Congrats to Georgia State on winning their first FBS game in school history the first week of the season, but you don’t get a gold star for losing to the Huskies by 39. Lindquist finds his way into the game in the second half and throws a TD.
9/27: UW 27, Stanford 23: This was by far the hardest game for me to predict. I don’t really doubt that the Huskies will win this matchup in Seattle, but it was just by how much. Last year I saw an awesome game in person between these two teams and I just can’t forget ASJ’s dropped pass, which would have been a first down, late in the game. If he would have held on, I think the Dawgs might have pulled off an upset on the farm. And for those who still think Kevin Smith caught that ball, no he didn’t. But it won’t even come down to that this year. What it will come down to is the Huskies defense getting a late stop.

Stanford loses the majority of their offensive line from 2013 and even though they still have a top-15 draft pick at LT in Andrus Peat, a solid LG in Josh Garnett and another formidable lineman at RT in Kyle Murphy, the Huskies d-line should be able to create plenty of penetration. Stanford returns just 26 career starts on the offensive line and the Huskies should be able to take advantage of that. Stanford’s only real test before UW is USC (I think the Trojans win that game by the way) and though the Trojans’ defensive line is very good with Leonard Williams and Antwaun Woods, I think overall, UW’s is better. The young lineman won’t be prepared for Kikaha mixing up looks on the edge, Hudson and Shelton pounding through up the middle, and an athletic linebacker in Shaq Thompson coming with blitzes from an array of angles.

Believe it or not, I think UW controls the line in this game, maybe even on both sides of the ball. Now that’s definitely a bold statement, but UW will be fired up after their close loss last year and the game is in Husky Stadium, one of the loudest stadiums (when it gets going) in the nation. Cyler Miles will have to remain poised on offense to back up the defense’s efforts though. Stanford will miss Shane Skov, but replace him with A.J. Tarpley, another senior leader at the inside linebacker position. Add in Henry Anderson, and James Vaughters on the defensive line, Jordan Richards in the secondary, and it’s another impressive Stanford defense, just not as impressive as last year’s. John Timu comes up with a big stop on fourth down late in the game to preserve the Huskies’ victory, which moves them to 5-0 heading into a bye week before they face Cal.
10/11: UW 42, Cal 20: Again, another game I don’t really think will be an issue for UW, especially coming off a bye week. Things aren’t looking to bright for the Golden Bears coming off a one win season and heading into this game, they could possibly only have one win once again. Though Jared Goff is one year older and he has a formidable number one receiver in Bryce Treggs, it still won’t be enough to overcome this confident Huskies team. The starters should get some time on the bench in preparation for a big showdown in Eugene. Dwayne Washington has a big day going for 150+ yard and two touchdowns.
10/18: Oregon 41, UW 34: The entire West Coast will be watching this showdown in the middle of nowhere on Saturday night. I would say this game probably would be College Gameday’s pick of the week, but they covered the matchup last year in Seattle and they seem like they go to Eguene every year so I don’t think they would go again, but crazier things have happened. The game will be picked up for prime time though and it should be a very fun one to watch. Husky nation should represent themselves well in Eugene and I really think that could play a factor.

The biggest factor that is making me pick this game in favor of Oregon though is Marcus Mariota. Yeah, yeah he could get banged up before the Huskies make their way to Eugene, but when the man is on his A-game, he is unstoppable. Oregon loses some key wideouts on offense, but have Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner and 5-star Royce Freeman in a loaded backfield. In the end, I think that will be too much to overcome. Add in the fact that Bralon Addison could be back by this point in the season and I think it’ll be a tough offense for the Huskies to stop.

But the one thing that is making me predict a close game, is one weakness on Oregon’s offensive line. We all know Mariota’s blindside tackle is out for the season, that being Tyler Johnstone, a potential All-Pac-12 first teamer, and I think Coach Kwiatkowski will look to line up Kikaha on that right side every play. With Hau’oli coming off the edge and Shaq keeping a close eye on Mariota, I think they’ll be able to contain the Heisman candidate. But there’s only so much you can do to contain a player like that. It should be a fun one to watch though. I think the offense finds a groove early, but struggles late. Jermaine Kelly gets a pick in the second half, his second of the season. It’s not enough though as the Huskies fall to 6-1.
10/25: UW 34, ASU 27: I think this one might turn into an epic shootout. But what I really think happens is that UW’s defense will prove to be just too good. ASU returns 8 starters combined on offense and defense, which is not good news for the Devils from Tempe. Although they add in a lot of JUCO players and return Taylor Kelly, Jaelen Strong (might be a top three WR in the nation) and D.J. Foster from last year, this Huskies defense should be too stout for them. I’m really looking forward to seeing Marcus Peters cover Strong. Strong is one of the most underrated receivers in the country and Peters is one of the most underrated corners in the country. It’ll be a battle of guys who are under the radar nationally, but I think they might make a blip or too on the screen after this game. I expect Strong to get a couple of big catches over Peters, but only that: a couple. Nobody really stands out to me on this ASU defense that returns just two starters and loses 10 out of its 12 top tacklers, but the names Marcus Hardison and Kweishi Brown might seem familiar, both guys UW recruited. ASU can’t stop Miles and the Huskies offense in the end. Miles goes for his biggest game of the season, throwing for 350-plus yards and three touchdowns. The Huskies move to 7-1 on the year.
11/1: UW 35, Colorado 17: I’m starting to realize that I don’t have the Huskies scoring less than 27 points in a game up to this point in the season, but I really don’t think any of the defenses the Huskies face are that special. Maybe I’m just underrating them because of how good I think this Huskies defense can be. Anyways, this shouldn’t be too much of a tough task for the Huskies. The Buffaloes return 16 starters, but the talent level is just not there. The biggest name on the team might be Addison Gilliam, and most people probably don’t know who that is. Just goes to show how underwhelming this team has been since entering the Pac-12. Colorado won or shared the Big 12 title 4 out of 5 years from 2001-2005, but since then, they are just 16-51 in league play in the Big 12 and Pac-12 combined (credit to Phil Steele for that stat). Add another tally to that loss column. Jaydon Mickens has another big day against Colorado, catching 8 passes for 125+ yard with two touchdowns.
11/8: UCLA 20, UW 17: Oh baby. This should be a complete battle to the finish. At this point in the season I have UW at 8-1 and although that may be overrating them a bit, I’m taking a step out on the ledge and saying this will be UW’s best season in years. The defense is exceptional and the offensive line brings stability to an otherwise raw, but talented offense. However, the offense will be just too shaky in this one. UCLA returns eight starters on defense, with the headliner being every Husky fan’s favorite player in Myles Jack. Jack, Jack, Jack. That’s probably all you’ll hear during the broadcast of this one. The on air talent is just infatuated with this guy, but there is definitely reason to be. The Husky defense should be able to contain Brett Hundley on the ground in front of a sold out crowd, but through the air might be a different story. However, the Huskies’ offense just won’t be able to start their engine. Kenny Clark, Eddie Vanderdoes, Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks are tough, hard-nosed football players and those will be four guys to watch in this one. The secondary now has some experience under their belt and I think they intercept Cyler Miles twice in this one. The Bruins will go on to finish second in the Pac-12 South, only behind USC. UW drops to 8-2 on the season.
11/15: Arizona 31, UW 23: You know how I said earlier how the Stanford game was the hardest for me predict? Well that award now goes to this game. I’m expecting the Huskies to play exceptionally their first 10 games of the season and coming out of that stretch with a record of 8-2 is very doable, but tough at the same time. I think those first ten contests will be tasking on the players. Coming off a hard fought game against UCLA, the Dawgs have to travel down to Tuscon and face a team coming off a game against a weak Colorado team. The Huskies pounded the Wildcats last year in Seattle so Rich Rod and company will eagerly be waiting for revenge. Arizone endured an infusion of talent this past offseason with the additions of Cayleb Jones and DaVonte Neal, and the return of Austin Hill from an ACL injury, so they’re stocked and ready to go. I also can’t get the game from two years ago out of my head as I predict this one. Matt Scott torched the UW secondary and Keith Price and the rest of the offense had no response. I don’t think this one will be quite as bad, but the Huskies will suffer their worst loss of the season. This one could easily go the other way, but the same could be said for the Stanford and ASU games… You can’t get all of your predictions right! Dawgs drop to 8-3 on the season after this one.
11/22: UW 30, Oregon State 17: Chris Petersen will get into his guys after their tough back-to-back losses, but will also let the team have a slightly easier week of practice to let their bodies rest. UW had no problem last year with the Beavers down in Corvallis and I don’t think they’ll have much of a problem with them up in Seattle. OSU loses Brandin Cooks, so Marcus Peters has to cover Victor Bolden now, who compared to Cooks is an easy cover task. Add in Shaq Thompson covering Connor Hamlett and Travis Feeney on Caleb Smith, and the Beaver passing attack now becomes next to irrelevant. The defensive line shouldn’t have a huge problem stopping Storm Woods and the Beavers rushing attack either. The Dawgs get a win that gets them back on track heading into the Apple Cup. Dwayne Washington rushes for 100-plus yards and Brandon Beaver picks off a pass, along with his counterpart Budda Baker, the Bellevue alum’s third pick on the year.
11/29: UW 37, WSU 24: Along with the Oregon, UCLA, and Stanford games, this one should be a blast to watch as well. Connor Halliday is in his final year as a Cougar and you know he wants to go out badly with a win against Washington. WSU had higher hopes for the year than where their record stands at this point in the season, but this is the Apple Cup. Throw the records and stats out the windows, it’s rivalry time. I expect Halliday to be his usual self. Throw for three touchdowns and the same number of interceptions. UW should be able to run all over this defense, just like Rutgers did last night. Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman will both top 100 yards on the ground and Cyler Miles will have a nice regular season finale. The same can’t be said for Connor Halliday though. The Huskies finish off the year 10-3, recording the most wins in a season since their campaign in 2000.
As for the Huskies’ postseason aspirations, I think they end up in either of three bowls with a 10-3 record. The Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, or the Alamo Bowl. Obviously, all of those options are pretty dang nice if you ask me. Predicting a season is hard, but it’s fun at the same time. I gave my best shot at it and I really do think the Huskies can reach a 10-3 record under the direction of Chris Petersen. The future is so bright for this program and even though all of you have your doubts about recruiting and all of that, Pete will get his guys in the end. Just trust people when they say that.

I can't wait for the season to begin. Lets have a fun one!

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