Looking over Washington’s 2013 schedule, the Huskies are fairly fortunate with the way things drew up. But the success or failure of the season will likely come down to a handful of matchups.
Let’s break them down.
UW vs. Boise State University, Husky Stadium, Saturday, Aug. 31
The Huskies kick off the season with a bang, as Boise State comes to town in a MAACO Bowl rematch. The dominant storyline is clear, as Washington looks to show that its stumble toward the end of 2012 was a one-time act. A good or bad game could set an early tone for the season.
The Broncos are no slouches this year coming off a solid 2012, and they’ll give the Huskies stiff competition as they attempt to shake out the early-season jitters.
UW vs. University of Oregon, Husky Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 12
The Ducks have handed the Huskies a royal beating every game in recent memory. Washington hasn’t beaten Oregon since 2003, and the Huskies will be coming off a tough away game against Stanford.
Oregon, as usual, is stacked at every position and poised for a national title run. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a resurgent Husky team will make maximum use of their home-field advantage and make this a competitive game.
One to watch for. And maybe pray for.
UW @ UCLA, Rose Bowl, Nov. 15
A late-season clash for the Huskies, Washington’s tenth game will be nationally televised on ESPN2, taking things to another level.
Coming into the season ranked 19th in the nation, UCLA is a team on the rise. Much like Washington, UCLA is hoping to improve upon a poor offensive line last season. The Bruins also need to replace running back Jonathan Franklin and patch up a questionable secondary.
On the big stage, Washington will have a fight on its hands in what could be a critical late-season game for both teams.
UW vs. University of Arizona, Husky Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 28
Coming off an easy matchup against Idaho State, Washington hosts Arizona for the beginning of a tough three-game stretch (Arizona, Stanford, and Oregon). It’s tough to tell how good this Wildcats team will be coming off some departures, but they memorably hammered Washington last year 52-17 in a truly unpleasant game to watch.
The odds should be a little different in Seattle, but with a difficult start to the season in games against Boise State and Illinois, it’s possible Washington could come into this game 1-2, with Stanford and Oregon looming in subsequent weeks. Getting a W here would stabilize the team before a rough stretch.
UW vs. Washington State University, Husky Stadium, Friday, Nov. 29
You know why this is a huge game. I don’t even want to talk about the 2012 Apple Cup, but a deeper Washington team should be back with a vengeance and will have home-field advantage in the newly renovated Husky Stadium.
The Huskies will be heavily favored, but then again, they were last year as well.
Nothing other than a win will be acceptable. ‘Nough said.