Look, you’re not going to get some huge in-depth breakdown or anything, because to be quite honest, I don’t have a great handle on the players I haven’t seen or am otherwise unfamiliar with. Here’s my broad, general assessment of the state of the Husky program in 2014: we’re strong across the board, but quarterback is a huge questionmark.
That’s really all you can say. Every article about the Huskies is essentially that main point, written hundreds of different ways. Sark may be a lying scumbag, but the coffers are full right now! The offensive line is one of the most experienced – if not THE most – in all of the Pac-12. We lost our stud running back in Sankey, but those behind him are flashy and exciting and the position overall is deep. The receivers took a big hit when Stringfellow decided to act the fool after the Super Bowl, but with Ross and Mickens, and a healthy Kasen Williams (among others), we should be rock solid there. You could say tight end is a little weak (with the loss of ASJ), but I’m not too concerned about that. And that’s not even taking into account how strong the defense is, with Shaq Thompson returning and Budda Baker playing as a true freshman.
This is a STOUT team, in a STOUT league. In any other year, with a more experienced quarterback, we’d be talking about the Huskies making a run at a conference championship and maybe even a playoff berth.
But, you can’t escape it. Cyler Miles fucked up on that night with Stringfellow. He missed all of spring ball and has been playing catch-up ever since. He’s also suspended for the first game against Hawaii tomorrow, so that sucks.
If things were going well, Miles would be the unquestioned starter on this team, and we could let ourselves dream a little bigger. As they stand right now, Miles is probably still the best QB on the team, but it’s iffy as to whether or not he’s going to have enough of a handle on the offense to re-take the starting job.
Right now, for at least the first game, it’s Jeff Lindquist (with Troy Williams backing him up). I don’t know much about either, except that they’re both probably pretty highly rated prospects out of whatever high schools they came from. We shouldn’t have much to worry about in the early going – the Huskies have kind of a pushover schedule for the first four weeks, with Hawaii, Eastern, Illinois, and Georgia State – but whatever happens, the Huskies absolutely NEED one of the three QBs to establish himself.
I don’t anticipate any upsets in those first four games, but it would be tragic if there are. I would think, though, with how strong we are on defense, we’d just pound the rock with the running game and feel our way through the passing game. If a guy steps up, this could be a really special season. But, realistically, we should probably expect some ups and downs.
Best Case Scenario will have the Huskies starting out 6-0, with the four wins mentioned above, followed by a hard-fought home game against Stanford, and another cake walk down in Cal. That would lead us to an October 18th road game against Oregon which we’ll most likely lose unless they’re suffering from massive injuries to all key positions.
To be frank, this is the easiest and best schedule the Huskies have had in YEARS. The road games – aside from that one in Eugene – are pretty choice: Cal, Colorado, Arizona, and WSU. We avoid USC and Utah this year. Meaning all of our non-Oregon tough games are at home, where we’re amazing: Stanford, ASU, UCLA, and Oregon State. It wouldn’t be a stretch – if the quarterback situation works itself out early – to see this team come together and go 8-1 in conference.
Even if I go with cautious optimism and play it safe, we’re talking about no worse than a 6-3 conference record (figuring we lose two of the Stanford/ASU/UCLA games), but I think we have a better than good chance of winning all three. Either way, if we go 6-3 in conference, that should still amount to a 10-win season, which is something we haven’t seen ’round these parts since the year 2000.
The worst case scenario involves a lot of injuries and headaches that I just don’t want to get into right now.
The fact of the matter is, the Huskies are a really good football team. They’re 25th ranked for a reason, which is remarkable considering the quarterback situation. We’ve got a great head coach, a great schedule and should be poised for an amazing ride.
I think we’ve got an 11-2 season in us; that’s my official prediction. Of those three home games I mentioned above, I’m worried about ASU first, Stanford second, and UCLA third. I really hope we kick UCLA’s shit in. It would be almost as satisfying as winning down in Oregon (especially after being forced to watch the Myles Jack dick-sucking-fest on ESPN last season).
But, regardless of what happens, football is back and that makes me happy. Husky tailgates are a huge highlight of my year. On September 6th, I plan on waking up at the crack of dawn to get there early for the first round of beer pong, no later than 7am.