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Washington vs. BYU

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Current Line - BYU -3 O/U 57

9/4/10

The Washington Huskies have come a long way since the arrival of head coach Steve Sarkisian. The former USC Trojans offensive coordinator guided his team to a 5-7 finish last year. He gets back 10 starters on offense and 8 on defense, including QB Jake Locker who is a projected top 5 pick next year. They will play BYU to start the 2010 season. The two schools met in 2008 when the Cougars won 28-27 after the Huskies missed an extra point. BYU finished 11-2 last year and has 7 starters back on offense and 5 on defense. They will be tough to beat at home, but Washington has a talented team. Let's take a look an in depth look at both teams!

The BYU Cougars will be without RB Harvey Unga who left the team after violating the schools exceptionally strict honor code. Unga is the schools all time leading rusher and losing him will leave a big void in the offense. There are several skilled runners competing for the starting job, but none will be as good as Unga. Starting QB is up for grabs, but it looks like hot shot freshman Jake Heaps will get the reins. He will be well protected behind a strong and experienced offensive line. He will have a nice WR to pass to in McKay Jacobson who had an 80 yard catch last year and ended up with 556 yards and 4 TDs. All in all, the offense looks shaky and it will probably take them a few games to get their bearings.

The defense loses 5 of its top 7 tacklers from last year, but gets back top tackler Andrew Rich who had 75 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 INTs last year at FS. The senior was 2nd Team All-MWC last year. The linebackers are very inexperienced, but most of the starters have the looks of future stars. The defensive line is solid and is anchored by DE Vic So'oto. The DBs will be solid thanks to a wealth of experience. At the end of the day this defense could be any kind. We will find out how good they are on game day.

The Washington Huskies are slowly climbing back to life. They had an incredibly bad season in 2008 and were lackluster at 5-7 in 2009. This could be their breakout year. The offense is manned by Jake Locker. The 6-3 226 passer has all the talent in the world and is arguably the best QB in the entire NCAA. He is protected by an offensive line that has 88 combined starts. The best part of all for Locker and Huskies is that they have one of the best stable of WRs in the Pacific-10. WR Jermaine Kearse caught 50 passes for 866 yards and 8 TDs in 2009. Devin Aguilar hauled in 42 passes for 583 yards and 5 TDs. The Huskies have their top 7, count 'em, 7 WRs back. Throw in RB Chris Polk who had 1,113 yards last year and this is a potent and explosive offense.

The defense for Washington brings back 4 of 5 from last year's top tacklers. Perhaps the best of the bunch is LB Mason Foster who had 85 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 INTs in 2009. 9 of the top 11 are back for the defensive line which means it will be very solid. The DBs are going to be the best that the Huskies have had in many years thanks to guys like Nate Williams, Quinton Richardson, and Desmond Trufant. It will be up to this defense to put pressure on BYUs inexperienced QB and running game. If they do so then the Huskies will win.

You can learn quite a bit about a team from their losses. Look at a college football team that was blown away every time they stepped up in competition, and you have a team with quite a bit of work ahead of them. However, look at a team that may have lost a bunch of games with a lousy 5-7 record, yet lost close games to elite competition, and you have a football team likely on the verge of success. Such is the case with Washington. They beat USC, Arizona and Cal last year. They played LSU within a touchdown and UCLA within a point. They'll be playing with some confidence as a result, and will also likely have added confidence knowing they only lost to BYU by a point in 2008, a year in which they didn't win a single game.

Washington is a now team. Everything is in place. No better way to start the future than with a win over a program like BYU that has won 10+ games 4 years in a row, winning 11 in 3 out of those 4 years. We'll take the field goal here in a game Washington can win straight up. Washington +3

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