Tough List To Do!
The 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision season will be a pivotal one for the Washington Huskies, as the team is flush with stud recruits.
Keith Price‘s head is on the chopping block, and Bishop Sankey is coming off a monster season. All-American Austin Seferian-Jenkins is having trouble staying on the straight and level, and the offensive and defensive lines look healthier and deeper.
But if Steve Sarkisian doesn’t deliver better than another 7-6 season, the muttered criticisms will rise.
It’s time for the Huskies to produce a memorable year. With the 2013 season looming, let’s take a look back at how we got here.
*We’ve ranked Washington’s past five seasons, from worst to best.
Might as well get the obvious out of the way. The Huskies went 0-12 in 2008.
The roughest moment of a rough season was an overtime loss in the Apple Cup produced out of shoddy defense and missed field goals. Tyrone Willingham justifiably got the sack after Washington’s only winless season in 119 years.
The less said about this season, the better. In fact, I’m pretty sure it never even happened.
Steve Sarkisian’s first year as Washington’s new head coach wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t awful either. 2009 was a transition year for the Huskies as they adapted under a new coach, while fans wore “I Bark for Sark” shirts in droves and Sark set out to recruit the next generation of talent.
An early-season victory over Idaho gave the Huskies their first win since 2007, but this season will be forever remembered for the infamous 16-13 upset of then 3rd-ranked USC the subsequent week.
A much-needed victory for the morale of Husky Nation, the Sark era had begun, and even though the team finished with a 5-7 record, back-to-back solid wins at the end of the year left a good taste in everybody’s mouth.
Here’s where it starts to get murky, as Washington posted a 7-6 record in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Of those three squads, this year’s team was the weakest.
Even though Bishop Sankey, Kasen Williams, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins helped carry the team to notable upsets over Stanford and Oregon State, the vivid memories of watching Keith Price choke away the Apple Cup and MAACO Bowl to end the season are still fresh in my mind.
Beyond Price’s horrendous form, the 2012 Huskies were over-reliant on a few players offensively and couldn’t block or pressure the passer.
It’s a tough call, but this team was inferior to the 2010 squad.
There were a lot of positives to take away from 2011. Price came out of nowhere to post a monster season, Chris Polk was at the peak of his powers shredding defenses and true freshmen Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins lived up to their recruiting hype.
The Achilles’ heel of this team was the defense. The lasting memory of this season for many fans was the Holiday Bowl shootout against RG3’s Baylor team. Griffin would go on to win the Heisman that year, but was arguably outplayed by Price that day as the Huskies fell in a 67-56 loss that cost UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt his job.
This team also gave up 40 points to USC, 51 to Nebraska and got worked to the tune of 65 points by Stanford. The 2011 team won big, but they also lost big.
The year 2010 was the best University of Washington football season in the past five years. The Jake Locker-led Huskies followed their miraculous 16-13 2009 upset of USC with another upset of USC — this time in an even closer 32-31 battle.
This squad showed resiliency with a 35-34 double-overtime victory against Oregon State. While they got hammered in back-to-back games against Stanford and Oregon, they finished the year with four straight wins, including a decisive Apple Cup victory and a 19-7 upset of No. 19 Nebraska to win the Holiday Bowl.
To date, the 2010 team is the last to win a postseason matchup.
Washington has been a team on the rise the last few seasons, but it is having trouble breaking through the to next level.
A lot is riding on this team — maybe Sark’s job, too — to snap out of the plateau of the last few seasons.