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Washington Huskies

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Not much else can be asked of Washington after falling to Alabama in the Playoff last season. The Huskies return enough talent and have a favorable schedule that should allow them to double-digit wins again at a minimum. The College Football Playoff is the ultimate goal and it’ll be there for the taking.

Returning for the Huskies will be third-year starters at QB and RB in Jake Browning (43 TDs, 9 INTs) and Myles Gaskin. This group went for close to 42 points per game a year ago and could be around that total again with seven starters returning. John Ross is gone, but receiver Dante Pettis (822 yards, 15 TDs) can’t be overlooked to go with Chico McClatcher (574 yards, 5 TDs) and Quinten Pounds. Gaskin (1,373 yards, 10 TDs) should have just as good of season behind a stout offensive line led by tackle Trey Adams, an expected first-round pick in the NFL Draft next year. Ross is gone, but with three starters back on the line, this group will be just fine with Browning leading the way.

Defense is a bit different with the secondary getting torn apart by the draft. There are still playmakers from a group that allowed 17.7 points per game, but the back end could be a problem against better quarterbacks. Vita Vea and Greg Gaines are two of the best in the conference on the line, while seniors Azeem Victor (back from injury) and Keishawn Bierria provide experience at linebacker. Sophomore safety Taylor Rapp will be a major piece in the secondary, while the other spots are more in question with freshman Byron Murphy expected to come in and start at one of the corner spots. This group will still be good, but maybe not at the same level as a year ago.

Once again, Washington has an extremely favorable non-conference slate and that rolls over into Pac-12 play as the Huskies skip USC and get to host UCLA and Utah out of the South. An early road trip to Colorado won’t be easy, but with Browning and Gaskin, it’s hard to see them falling to the Buffs after rolling over them in the Pac-12 title game last season. After that, the next biggest task will be a trip to Stanford and even that doesn’t look too difficult after what happened last year.

Washington is projected to win the North division and has +280 odds to win the Pac-12 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), placing them below USC. If that matchup happens in the title game, it’ll be what everyone projects as the teams don’t play each other in the regular season. The early Vegas odds had the Huskies around 9.5 wins, which seems a tad low given the schedule. Even with losses at Colorado and Stanford, it’s hard finding another game Washington will lose given the returning talent on the offensive side.


2017 Washington Huskies Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at Rutgers
Sept. 9 vs. Montana
Sept. 16 vs. Fresno State
Sept. 23 at Colorado

Sept. 30 at Oregon State
Oct. 7 vs. California
Oct. 14 at Arizona State

Oct. 28 vs. UCLA
Nov. 4 vs. Oregon
Nov. 10 at Stanford
Nov. 18 vs. Utah
Nov. 25 vs. Washington State

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