Schedule and Odds
Chris Petersen is in his second year as Washington’s head coach and things aren’t going to be any easier for him after a subpar 8-6 season. The Huskies were competitive, but ultimately fans want better than a 4-5 Pac-12 record. The problem for 2015 is the lack of returning players, with only 10 starters set to be back.
Quarterback is one of the positions that’s still undecided, especially after last year’s starter Cyler Miles took a leave of absence. The battle is down to Jeff Lindquist (who had the best spring Game), freshman Jake Browning and redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels. One of the few good spots in the Huskies offense is at running back with Dwayne Washington (9 TDs) and LAvon Coleman (138 carries) returning to go with speedy freshman Jomon Dotson.
The rest of the offense has plenty of questions. The receiving core took a blow in the spring when playmaker John Ross injured his leg and was declared out for the entire 2015 season. Jaydon Mickens (60 receptions) and Dante Pettis return, but help will be needed outside of them, especially with the big question at quarterback. It doesn’t get any better on the offensive line as they have to replace three starters from last year’s squad.
That said, the defense probably takes the biggest hit of guys moving onto the NFL with most of their front seven going in the early rounds of the NFL draft. The defense dominated much of the spring, but that could be in part due to a questionable offense. It will definitely be difficult to replicate last season’s 24.8 points allowed per Game.
The difference for the 2015 squad is that the secondary will be much improved, or at least more experienced. The group is full of ball hawks as seen when Sidney Jones and Darren Gardenhire both returned pick-6’s in the spring Game. While the front seven works out the kinks with new players, the secondary has a big role to play in keeping the group afloat.
Washington’s opener at Boise State will be a good test for a rebuilt defense and a new quarterback. A win there would give the Huskies plenty of confidence, but the Broncos are coming off a 12-win season. Things were never going to be easy for UW this season and their crossover Games don’t make things any easier against Arizona (home) and Arizona State (road). Throw in road Games at USC and Stanford that is sandwiched by a date with Oregon in the first half of the year, and the Huskies could be looking at a 1-3 Conference record heading into their final five Games.
Due to the turnover, it’ll be hard to see Washington finishing with more than eight wins. In fact, we could be seeing six or seven wins from this bunch if they don’t win the opener. The defense will be stout, but with an offense that probably won’t be improved, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the ninth-best odds to win the Pac-12 (+3200 at 5Dimes).
2015 Washington Football Schedule
Sept. 4 at Boise State
Sept. 12 vs. Sacramento State
Sept. 19 vs. Utah State
Sept. 26 vs. California
Oct. 8 at USC
Oct. 17 vs. Oregon
Oct. 24 at Stanford
Oct. 31 vs. Arizona
Nov. 7 vs. Utah
Nov. 14 at Arizona State
Nov. 21 at Oregon State
Nov. 27 vs. Washington State