College Football Preview: The 2014 Washington Huskies
2014 College Football Preview
Odds to Win National Championship:150-1 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Washington Huskies had one of their most successful seasons in program history with a 9-4 record and a bowl victory for the first time since 2010. The nine victories were the most for Washington since Rick Neuheisel was head coach in 2000. Washington won its first four games of the season, took Stanford down to the wire and won in a hostile environment in Oregon State. The season was so impressive for the Huskies that it helped Steve Sarkisian leave for the USC coaching job. Chris Petersen is now the new coach for Washington and has the tall task of helping this program take that next step and becoming one of the top programs in the Pac-12.
Offense: With Keith Price no longer on the team, Washington must find a starting quarterback in a conference filled with great signal-callers. Cyler Miles is the favorite to land the starting job considering he was last year’s backup, but Troy Williams and Jeff Lindquist saw valuable playing time in the spring due to Miles getting in an off-the-field issue. Washington will also have to replace starting running back Bishop Sankey, but that answer is a little clearer with Dwayne Washington now being the go-to guy in the backfield. The good news for this unit is that the offensive line is in great shape and the wide receiver position is quite deep with Jaydon Mickens and Kasen Williams leading the way. Still, Washington must find the answer at quarterback for this unit to reach its potential.
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Defense: Washington will once again have one of the best pass rushes in the Pac-12 with Hau'oli Kikaha returning after racking up 13 sacks last season. Kikaha will also have help from guys such as Cory Littleton, Evan Hudson and Marcus Farria, players who helped the Huskies generate 41 sacks last season. Shaq Thompson is one of the more versatile defenders in the country and will lead a young secondary with him already entering his third season. It also helps to have an experienced linebacker such as John Timu, who is now entering his fourth season as a starter for Washington. This unit has the potential to be the best in the Pac-12 and gives the Huskies a fighting chance in every game this season.
Special Teams: Washington must find a replacement for kicker Travis Coons, who handled both the punting and field goal duties last season. Cameron Van Winkle and Korey Durkee are the two guys who will likely take over both positions this year.
Outlook: I love Washington as an underdog team this season and it’s a squad that’s going to make you a ton of money. The Huskies have a great defense and an offense with potential. Washington also has a favorable schedule with UCLA, Stanford and Arizona State all at home. Washington isn’t going to win a championship or anything, but there’s going to be a lot of potential to make money on them game-to-game this season. A bowl bid shouldn’t be a problem this season for the Huskies.