2013 Washington football's 10 things to know: Seven-win Steve and a healthy foundation

Otto Greule Jr

Washington surged defensively, slumped offensively, and finished 7-6 for the third straight year. The Huskies were so young last year that they are still young, but can this exciting squad break through their self-imposed glass ceiling? For more on the Huskies, visit UW Dawg Pound.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Perfectly average

In the Adj. Points measure I use below, the idea is to take a team's performance in a given week and gauge what would have happened if that team had played a perfectly average opponent that week instead of whoever it played. It is an attempt to adjust for schedule and look at a team's in-season trends. But really, it could also be titled "WashingtonScore." because Washington has spent most of the last eight seasons as an almost perfectly average team.

In terms of F/+ rankings, the Huskies ranked 78th in 2005, 60th in 2006, 50th in 2007, 63rd in 2009, 70th in 2010, 67th in 2011, and 56th in 2012. Average ranking in those seven seasons: 63.4. Granted, this ignores a year in which they were, in Matt Hinton's words, "really awful" (that would be the 2008 season that saw them go 0-12, rank 117th, and get Ty Willingham fired), but that one outlier aside, there has been almost no trend, just slightly different grades of average football.

Washington has spent most of the last eight seasons as an almost perfectly average team.

That Steve Sarkisian has gotten Washington back to average after the 2008 debacle is impressive. He's come across some nice wins in his four seasons in Seattle (16-13 over No. 3 USC and 42-10 over No. 19 California in 2009, 32-31 over No. 18 USC and 19-7 over No. 17 Nebraska in 2010, 17-13 over No. 8 Stanford and 20-17 over No. 7 Oregon State in 2012, and a 3-1 Apple Cup record versus Washington State).

But he has also come across a rather meager nickname: Seven-Win Steve. Washington has gone 7-6 for three straight years, with nice wins offset by dramatic breakdowns. A brutal schedule kept Washington's win total tamped down a bit, but so did a slipup to Washington State and a blowout loss at Arizona. The defense improved dramatically in its first year under new coordinator Justin Wilcox, but the gains were mostly offset by offensive regression.

2. Youth = ceiling

The main problem in 2012 was youth -- Washington simply had too much of it. The top two running backs were a sophomore and a freshman. The top six receiving targets were four sophomores and two freshmen. Of the eight offensive linemen with starting experience, six were sophomores and two were freshmen. The top three tacklers on the line were sophomores. The top three linebackers were a sophomore and two freshmen. A freshman cornerback was one of the key defensive cogs. Not only was the senior class of little help, but the junior class was almost nonexistent.

There is just no way you can build a consistent team with this much youth involved. And as we'll see below, Washington didn't reach the No. 56 F/+ ranking with perpetually average play -- the Huskies were a frequently good team done in by a handful of outright disasters.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 7-6 | Adj. Record: 9-4 | Final F/+ Rk: 56
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep San Diego State 21-12 W 27.7 - 22.2 W
8-Sep at LSU 3-41 L 12.5 - 37.2 L
15-Sep Portland State 52-13 W 27.4 - 24.8 W
27-Sep Stanford 17-13 W 25.1 - 12.5 W
6-Oct at Oregon 21-52 L 31.2 - 29.6 W
13-Oct USC 14-24 L 27.5 - 22.3 W
20-Oct at Arizona 17-52 L 20.1 - 35.0 L
27-Oct Oregon State 20-17 W 23.6 - 28.0 L
2-Nov at California 21-13 W 28.1 - 26.3 W
10-Nov Utah 34-15 W 32.9 - 17.0 W
17-Nov at Colorado 38-3 W 26.1 - 9.4 W
23-Nov at Washington State 28-31 L 17.2 - 30.6 L
22-Dec vs. Boise State 26-28 L 36.7 - 22.5 W
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 24.0 90 24.2 39
Adj. Points Per Game 25.9 84 24.4 32

3. Bad was really bad

Let's look at Washington's Adj. Points averages in two different ways.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 9 games): Opponent 26.4, Washington 24.8 (minus-1.6)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 4 games): Washington 28.3, Opponent 19.9 (plus-8.4)

Adj. Points Per Game (vs. LSU, Arizona, & Wazzu): Opponent 34.3, Washington 16.6 (minus-17.7)
Adj. Points Per Game (other 10 games): Washington 28.6, Opponent 21.5 (plus-7.1)

The first set of averages shows us that, in all, Washington showed late-season improvement that, with so many interesting returning pieces, could be sustainable in 2013. The second set of averages tells us that this was a pretty good team that saw its averages wrecked by three specific performances. (Consider this a nice case for use of median versus mean.) But experience tends to improve consistency, which means that both averages here point to potentially nice fortunes for the Huskies moving forward.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 99 58 65 53
RUSHING 86 33 37 30
PASSING 82 80 87 74
Standard Downs 48 49 51
Passing Downs 71 88 56
Redzone 101 102 94
Q1 Rk 79 1st Down Rk 84
Q2 Rk 40 2nd Down Rk 60
Q3 Rk 84 3rd Down Rk 68
Q4 Rk 84

4. Style emphasized weakness

Wilcox was the more high-profile of Washington's two new coordinators last season, but Eric Kiesau certainly made some interesting changes on the offensive side of the ball. (And no, "interesting" doesn't always suggest "good.") Kiesau was California's passing game coordinator in 2011, and he did his part in utilizing a pass-first attack in Seattle; long-term, this could be an interesting fit -- Cal certainly had a lovely passing game for most of the time he was there -- but while Washington seemed to have the receivers to fit what Kiesau wanted to do, his changes did not necessarily fit quarterback Keith Price's skill set.

Kiesau's and Sarkisian's system gives quarterbacks a lot of options and puts pressure on them to make precise, quick reads. When it worked, it was beautiful. When it didn't, it resulted in an indecisive Price either freezing up and getting sacked or throwing the ball away. The latter happened enough to stunt the offense's growth quite a bit.

In 2011, Washington ran the ball 56 percent of the time on standard downs and 33 percent on passing downs; in 2012, those numbers sank to 52 percent and 30 percent. In 2011, Price averaged 30 pass attempts per game, was sacked seven percent of the time, completed 67 percent of his passes, and averaged 7.5 yards per attempt (including sacks). In 2012, he averaged 36 attempts, was sacked eight percent of the time, completed 61 percent of his passes, and averaged a paltry 5.3 yards per attempt. Despite a lovely pair of receiving options in Kasen Williams and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Price was not quick to thrive in this system.

Meanwhile, the emphasis on quick reads and passing potentially took opportunities away from a running game that was much better than expected. Between a season-opening injury to starter Jesse Callier and a line that had to replace all-conference tackle Senio Kelemete (and would be forced to do a ton of shuffling in 2012), it was easy to assume that Washington might struggle to move the ball on the ground. And hell, with a running back corps that was basically sophomore Bishop Sankey and a bunch of freshmen, it's possible that Washington called more pass plays because it didn't have a choice. (And yes, it should also be mentioned that a lot of Washington's packaged option plays include both a run and pass option.)

Regardless, Washington was actually quite proficient on the ground. The Huskies improved from 52nd to 33rd in Rushing S&P+ and from 34th to sixth in Adj. Line Yards. Sankey was not a particularly explosive option, but with the blocking he received, he didn't need to be.

It will be interesting to see how this offense splits between run and pass in 2013. Price, in his second year with this coordinator, could improve just through familiarity and a higher comfort level. But with Sankey, Callier, and explosive (and little-used) sophomore Kendyl Taylor back, along with eight linemen with starting experience (81 career starts), Washington could have one hell of a ground game, too.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Steven Bisig, US Presswire.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Keith Price 6'1, 202 Sr. *** (5.5) 263 432 2,726 60.9% 19 13 37 7.9% 5.3
Derrick Brown 6'2, 245 So. *** (5.7) 2 5 23 40.0% 0 1 0 0.0% 4.6
Cyler Miles 6'4, 223 RSFr. **** (6.0)






Jeff Lindquist 6'3, 234 RSFr. **** (5.8)






5. Throw the ball, Keith

Keith Price will have options. Sankey and Callier are strong and competent, and in Williams and Seferian-Jenkins, he has one of the best one-two receiving combos in the conference. Seferian-Jenkins is basically everybody's preseason All-American (assuming he's on the field), and with ASJ receiving so much attention, Williams, an all-everything local recruit, has almost become underrated. Washington doesn't really have a field-stretcher in this quick passing game (not a single player could top ASJ's meager per-catch average of 12.3); if that changes with the addition of incoming four-star freshmen Damore'ea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels, however, this could quickly become one of the nation's best batches of receivers.

That said, the quality of the receiving corps only matters if the quarterback throwing them the ball is actually throwing them the ball. Price hesitated far too much in 2012 and took far too many sacks. He wasn't Braxton Miller-, Tino Sunseri-, or Jordan Webb-esque in this regard, but anything higher than a 5 percent sack rate is damaging to your offense, and Price's was well over 5 percent. Plus, it was nearly 10 percent on standard downs, the downs on which the offense has the advantage and the defense cannot pin its ears back. Hesitation kills.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Bishop Sankey RB 5'10, 200 Jr. **** (5.8) 291 1,445 5.0 4.1 16 +2.7
Jesse Callier (2011) RB 5'10, 211 Jr. *** (5.7) 47 260 5.5 N/A 1 N/A
Kendyl Taylor RB 5'10, 200 So. *** (5.7) 33 203 6.2 6.4 0 +3.6
Keith Price QB 6'1, 202 Sr. *** (5.5) 32 203 6.3 3.5 2 +3.7
Dezden Petty RB 29 99 3.4 3.2 0 -2.8
Erich Wilson II RB


25 140 5.6 3.9 1 +1.0
Ryan McDaniel RB 6'0, 227 RSFr. *** (5.7)





Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Kasen Williams WR 6'2, 216 Jr. **** (5.8) 109 77 878 70.6% 8.1 28.1% 57.8% 8.0 112.7
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE 6'6, 266 Jr. **** (6.0) 96 69 852 71.9% 8.9 24.7% 55.2% 8.8 109.4
Bishop Sankey RB 5'10, 200 Jr. **** (5.8) 42 33 249 78.6% 5.9 10.8% 50.0% 5.8 32.0
Jaydon Mickens WR 5'10, 170 So. **** (5.8) 34 20 190 58.8% 5.6 8.8% 55.9% 5.5 24.4
DiAndre Campbell WR 6'1, 198 Jr. ** (5.3) 31 16 167 51.6% 5.4 8.0% 51.6% 6.0 21.4
Kendyl Taylor RB 5'10, 200 So. *** (5.6) 20 14 110 70.0% 5.5 5.2% 45.0% 5.4 14.1
Cody Bruns WR 19 13 103 68.4% 5.4 4.9% 52.6% 5.5 13.2
Kevin Smith WR 5'11, 213 Sr. **** (5.8) 12 6 68 50.0% 5.7 3.1% 25.0% 4.2 8.7
Michael Hartvigson TE 6'6, 255 Jr. *** (5.7) 10 6 55 60.0% 5.5 2.6% 60.0% 5.5 7.1
Evan Hudson TE 6'5, 262 Jr. *** (5.5) 5 5 31 100.0% 6.2 1.3% 60.0% 6.2 4.0
Jonathan Amosa FB 4 2 19 50.0% 4.8 1.0% 75.0% 3.8 2.4
Marvin Hall WR 5'10, 181 So. *** (5.5) 3 2 21 66.7% 7.0 0.8% 0.0% 4.2 2.7
Jesse Callier RB 5'10, 211 Jr. *** (5.7) 2 2 8 100.0% 4.0 0.5% 100.0% 2.4 1.0
Joshua Perkins WR 6'3, 216 So. *** (5.6)








Damore'ea Stringfellow WR 6'2, 205 Fr. **** (6.0)








Darrell Daniels WR 6'4, 205 Fr. **** (5.8)








6. So many sophomores and juniors

Price cannot use youth as an excuse for his hesitation last year, but it very much bears mentioning that a) Washington played a ridiculous number of freshmen and sophomores in 2012, ans b) you tend to see your biggest improvement in your first two years on campus. Sankey was a sophomore, and his backups were freshmen. Williams and Seferian-Jenkins were both sophomores. And all of Washington's returning line starters were freshmen or sophomores last fall.

Inexperience becomes experience, and enough Washington youngsters showed promise last year that it's easy to envision a pretty high ceiling for the offense in 2013 ... as long as Price is ready to lead it.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 119.0 3.24 3.44 41.1% 70.6% 17.5% 75.8 9.5% 7.4%
Rank 6 18 43 39 50 40 97 119 77
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Drew Schaefer C 43 career starts
Erik Kohler RG 6'4, 299 Jr. **** (5.8) 19 career starts
Micah Hatchie LT 6'5, 293 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 career starts
Colin Tanigawa LG 6'3, 281 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 career starts
Dexter Charles LG 6'4, 292 So. *** (5.6) 11 career starts
Ben Riva RT 6'6, 302 Jr. *** (5.7) 8 career starts
Mike Criste RG 6'5, 295 Jr. *** (5.6) 7 career starts
James Atoe RT 6'6, 335 Jr. ** (5.2) 6 career starts
Shane Brostek RG 6'4, 280 So. ** (5.4) 3 career starts
Siosifa Tufunga LG 6'2, 307 So. *** (5.5)

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 31 35 24 45
RUSHING 62 42 46 39
PASSING 23 34 14 52
Standard Downs 28 27 31
Passing Downs 48 24 65
Redzone 55 55 64
Q1 Rk 55 1st Down Rk 28
Q2 Rk 30 2nd Down Rk 29
Q3 Rk 43 3rd Down Rk 78
Q4 Rk 27

7. A few too many big plays

Washington's defense wasn't as bad as Baylor made it look in 2011, but it wasn't good. The Huskies ranked 100th in Def. F/+, 107th in Rushing S&P+, and 86th in Adj. Sack Rate. Opponents could run without resistance, and a decent secondary was repeatedly put in impossible positions.

Under Justin Wilcox in 2012, the D came around dramatically. And like the offense, it leaned on an incredibly young core of players in the process. With just marginal improvement in the sack rates, Washington's pass defense became one of the nation's best, and the line held up against the run at least well enough for the linebackers to clean up and for the Huskies to improve to 42nd in Rushing S&P+.

The improvement was profound, especially considering the youth, but Washington did still struggle with big plays at times. The pass defense was aggressive and efficient (14th in Passing Success Rate+) but leaky (52nd in Passing PPP+), and the passing downs defense suffered because of it. (And like the team as a whole, when the defense struggled, it really struggled.)

If experience smooths out the breakdowns, Wilcox's 3-4 could continue to improve.

Josh Shirley. Kirby Lee, USA Today.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 97.5 3.08 3.49 39.9% 73.7% 14.2% 98.2 4.6% 8.1%
Rank 70 88 88 71 100 118 63 66 39
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Danny Shelton NT 6'1, 317 Jr. **** (5.8) 13 32.5 4.8% 4 0.5 0 0 0 1
Andrew Hudson DE 6'3, 249 Jr. *** (5.7) 13 31.5 4.7% 9 6.5 0 1 0 1
Josh Shirley RUSH 6'3, 230 Jr. **** (5.8) 13 27.0 4.0% 9 6.5 0 1 6 0
Talia Crichton DE 10 13.0 1.9% 1.5 1 0 0 0 2
Semisi Tokolahi NT 13 12.5 1.8% 1.5 0 0 0 0 0
Hau'oli Jamora (2011) DE 6'3, 260 Jr. *** (5.5) 4 11.5 1.6% 3 1 0 0 0 0
Sione Potoa'e DE 6'2, 271 Sr. **** (5.9) 13 6.5 1.0% 0.5 0 0 0 0 0
Pio Vatuvei DE 6'2, 281 So. **** (5.8) 9 6.0 0.9% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Josh Banks DE 6'2, 265 Sr. *** (5.6) 9 5.5 0.8% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Lawrence Lagafuaina DT 6'0, 317 Jr. *** (5.5) 3 4.5 0.7% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jarett Finau DE 6'2, 260 So. ** (5.4) 9 1.5 0.2% 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0
Connor Cree RUSH 6'4, 245 So. *** (5.6)

Elijah Qualls DT 6'1, 282 Fr. **** (5.8)

Joe Mathis DE 6'4, 254 Fr. **** (5.8)






Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
John Timu LB 6'1, 231 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 67.5 10.0% 3.5 2 2 4 1 0
Travis Feeney LB 6'4, 209 So. *** (5.5) 12 62.5 9.2% 6 4 2 0 1 0
Shaq Thompson LB 6'2, 225 So. ***** (6.1) 13 59.0 8.7% 8.5 2 3 3 0 1
Thomas Tutogi LB 6'0, 242 Sr. *** (5.7) 13 32.0 4.7% 3 1 0 0 0 1
Princeton Fuimaono LB 6'1, 210 Sr. *** (5.5) 10 24.5 3.6% 1 0 0 0 1 0
Cory Littleton LB 6'3, 230 So. *** (5.5) 9 10.0 1.5% 1.5 0 0 0 1 0
Nate Fellner LB 3 3.5 0.5% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jamaal Kearse LB 6'1, 226 Jr. *** (5.7) 5 0.5 0.1% 0 0 0 0 0 1
Sean Constantine LB 6'3, 218 Fr. **** (5.8)






8. The star recruits are adding up

Wilcox was the primary addition to Sarkisian's defensive staff in 2012, but Sarkisian also stole defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi from California, and that move could begin to reap as many rewards. Lupoi is a potentially solid line coach, but his calling card is his recruiting prowess. He steered stud sophomore Shaq Thompson from Cal to Washington, and while the Huskies' recruiting rankings have improved slightly since Tupoi joined the staff (23rd in 2011 according to Rivals.com, then 21st in 2012 and 18th in 2013), the effects on the defense have been particularly noticeable.

Washington will boast three four star freshmen and sophomores up front (along with two four-star upper-classmen), two four- or five-star freshmen or sophomores at linebacker, and two four-star freshmen in the secondary. Throw in a pair of three-star sophomore studs -- corner Marcus Peters, linebacker Travis Feeney -- and you've got yourself a defense that has is improved and could threaten to improve even more.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Sean Parker S 5'10, 190 Sr. **** (5.8) 13 65.5 9.7% 3.5 0 2 4 3 0
Justin Glenn S 13 61.5 9.1% 1 0 3 2 0 2
Marcus Peters CB 5'11, 194 So. *** (5.7) 13 35.0 5.2% 2 0 3 8 0 1
Desmond Trufant CB 12 31.5 4.7% 4.5 1 1 9 1 1
Tre Watson CB 5'9, 183 Sr. ** (5.3) 13 21.0 3.1% 0 0 1 4 0 0
Will Shamburger S 6'0, 185 Sr. *** (5.5) 13 16.0 2.4% 0 0 0 1 0 2
Gregory Ducre CB 5'10, 177 Sr. *** (5.6) 12 13.0 1.9% 1.5 0 0 3 0 0
Anthony Gobern S 13 9.5 1.4% 0 0 0 0 0 1
Taz Stevenson NB 6'1, 215 Sr. *** (5.6) 13 6.0 0.9% 0 0 0 0 1 0
Brandon Beaver S 6'0, 181 RSFr. **** (5.8)

Jermaine Kelly DB 6'2, 185 Fr. **** (5.8)

Trevor Walker S 5'11, 180 Fr. *** (5.6)







9. Three awesome sophomores

Washington benefited greatly from the presence of corner Desmond Trufant last year. Picked in the first round of the NFL Draft by Atlanta, Trufant was a true lockdown corner, a rare luxury in college football. He defensed 10 passes, and 4.5 of his 31.5 tackles were behind the line of scrimmage. (If you're defensing 10 passes and only making 31.5 tackles, that means the guy you're covering is almost never catching the ball. Well, that, or when he does, you miss the tackle. In Trufant's case, it was more former than latter.)

What benefited Washington even more, however, was the simple fact that opponents avoiding Trufant still had to throw toward Marcus Peters; just a three-star redshirt freshman, Peters did a remarkable job, defensing more passes than Trufant (11) while logging only 3.5 more tackles. Yes, there was some risk-reward going on here, and yes, Washington gave up a few too many big plays through the air. But Peters held his own for a newbie, and he could become a Trufant-esque star in the coming years.

That Peters wasn't the best freshman in the lineup is staggering. Shaq Thompson has moved from nickelback to linebacker, but with his size, speed, and coverage ability, that should work out just fine. Even with Trufant around, Thompson may have been the best player on the defense. He in no way looked the part of a freshman (even a blue-chip freshman), and he was capable of both making plays behind the line and covering the pass.

The move to linebacker will put him closer to another stud sophomore, Travis Feeney. Throw in linebacker John Timu, and an active trio of junior linemen (Danny Shelton, Andrew Hudson, Josh Shirley), and you've got a lineup that is full of both playmakers and players who could very well return in 2014.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Travis Coons 6'2, 205 Sr. 54 39.8 5 21 15 66.7%
Korey Durkee 6'4, 225 So. 15 36.9 2 5 4 60.0%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Travis Coons 6'2, 205 Sr. 63 59 11 17.5%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Travis Coons 6'2, 205 Sr. 39-39 5-7 71.4% 4-7 57.1%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Jaydon Mickens KR 5'10, 170 So. 19 21.5 0
Marvin Hall KR 5'10, 181 So. 16 22.3 0
Cody Bruns PR 10 8.2 0
Marvin Hall PR 5'10, 181 So. 6 5.5 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 98
Net Punting 104
Net Kickoffs 110
Touchback Pct 108
Field Goal Pct 91
Kick Returns Avg 71
Punt Returns Avg 85

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2013 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
31-Aug Boise State 12
14-Sep vs. Illinois 88
21-Sep Idaho State NR
28-Sep Arizona 30
5-Oct at Stanford 5
12-Oct Oregon 2
19-Oct at Arizona State 34
26-Oct California 68
9-Nov Colorado 115
15-Nov at UCLA 43
23-Nov at Oregon State 25
29-Nov Washington State 97
Five-Year F/+ Rk 83
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 18
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* +5 / +2.9
TO Luck/Game +0.8
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 18 (10, 8)
Yds/Pt Margin** +0.0

10. Beat Boise State, and everything changes

Even though Keith Price is a senior, and even though this could be the last year that Austin Seferian-Jenkins and/or Kasen Williams don the purple and gold, Washington could be really, really good in 2014. The improving defense is still young, the better-than-expected offensive line is still good, and the running back position is in pretty good hands. The future is looking pretty bright for UW, but I'm not completely sure about the present tense.

The 2013 schedule is both challenging and much easier than last year's. Instead of getting LSU on the road, the Huskies get Boise State at home, and while there are still three games versus projected top-12 teams, there are also six versus teams projected worst than 40th. There are wins to be found here, but my expectations today could change drastically on August 31.

The season opener versus Boise State is enormous. Lose that game (as they will be projected to do), and they're perhaps looking at yet another seven-win season or so. That's certainly not bad, especially with how experienced the Huskies will be in 2014, but if the natives aren't restless now, they definitely would be then. Beat Boise, however (and it bears mentioning that they almost did just that in the Las Vegas Bowl), and you can begin to see how a nine- or 10-win season could come together quickly.

This is a good team that will get better next season. How good the Huskies will be in 2013, however, depends on Keith Price, quick maturation, and August 31.

More from SB Nation:

The year’s biggest recruiting event is upon us

Oregon escapes bowl ban, Chip Kelly penalized by NCAA

Bill Connelly’s Big 12 preview countdown is complete

Preseason All-America team led by Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel

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