Check out the advanced-stats glossary here. Below, a unique review of last year's team, a unit-by-unit breakdown of this year's roster, the full 2016 schedule with win projections for each game, and more.
1. The case for Washington
I enjoy it when my numbers get a little bit weird. For the most part, putting together 2016 S&P+ projections was a predictable exercise. It was obvious that Alabama and Clemson would be near the top. (Slight surprise: a massively experienced LSU slipping between them at No. 2.) Oklahoma and Florida State were close. USC's experience and recruiting bumped the Trojans into the top 10.
But sitting at No. 10 was a particularly anti-social pick: Chris Petersen's Washington Huskies. They haven't lost fewer than four games since 2000, and they don't recruit at an elite level, and they're in the top 10? What?
I found a unique narrative I could explore, and I was excited. This Washington preview was one of the ones I most looked forward to writing.
Then a funny thing happened. The Bandwagon Effect took over. I'm not going to claim to have started this -- ESPN's FPI, which uses a few of the same factors that I do, projected the Huskies 13th -- but however it started, Washington became very popular. Athlon ranked the Huskies 11th in its preseason top 25, Phil Steele eighth. One set of SB Nation picks has UW in the Rose Bowl.
However we got here, we're here. Washington is the bandwagon team of 2016.
How does this happen? What are prognosticators seeing?
When the Huskies were good last year, they were incredible.
They were the Arkansas of 2015.
In 2014, Arkansas ranked fifth in S&P+ while going just 7-6 because they were astoundingly good in almost every win. In terms of single-game performances, they hit the 95th percentile or higher more times than Alabama did. Meanwhile, four of their six losses came by a touchdown or less, and five losses came against top-20 teams.
The Razorbacks lost a few too many difference-makers on defense, then lost their leading rusher to injury. That led to a slip in 2015, but only so much; they were still 15th.
Washington is similar. The Huskies hit the 91st percentile or better in six of 13 games last year, and while there were some pretty significant ups and downs, they only fell below the 50th percentile three times. When the Huskies found an advantage, they exploited it with ruthless efficiency. They eked by USC, 17-12; average score of their other six wins: Washington 45, Opponent 11. They lost to Boise State by three, California by six, and Oregon by six. They won seven, but they were closer to 10 wins than five.
They return so much.
Washington is a year ahead of schedule. In last year's preview, I said the Huskies would be pretty good in 2016 but would just be too young to do much in 2015. They were one of the country's youngest teams -- freshman quarterback, freshman running back, freshmen and sophomores on the offensive and defensive lines, sophomores at linebacker and in the secondary -- but they broke through anyway. And now they reach the year in which they were supposed to break through.
That's the entire recipe, and it's an extraordinarily effective one. The defense was outstanding (ninth in Def. S&P+), and the offense was better than it should have been (37th in Off. S&P+) considering the all-freshman backfield.
When you are that young, improvement the next year is virtually guaranteed. And if the Huskies were already up to 13th in overall S&P+, then ... well ... the top 10 isn't far away.
2. The case against Washington
This doesn't come without risk. Here are a couple of the factors still working against the Huskies.
The previous Washington-esque team got worse.
Yes, there were extenuating circumstances, and the 2014 Hogs weren't nearly as young as the 2015 Huskies. But S&P+ projected them really high last fall, and they came up short.
Part of Arkansas' problem in 2014 was executing well in close games -- the Razorbacks were 0-4 in one-possession finishes -- and that isn't something that automatically improves. While luck is one huge factor in close games, so are quarterback play, special teams, coaching, etc. The Hogs did improve to 3-3 in such games last year, but that wasn't a 180-degree flip.
Washington was 1-3 in one-possession games last year. It's not like that means the Huskies will automatically go 3-1 in 2016.
Washington only beat one good team last year.
Arkansas finished higher in 2014 than the Huskies did in 2015, in part because the Razorbacks thumped two good teams: Ole Miss and LSU.
Washington did win at USC, but that was it. Against the six other top-50 teams on the docket, they went 0-6. They were competitive in every game, but they aren't guaranteed to suddenly start closing the deal.
Improvement isn't always linear.
I expected Washington to stagnate in 2015 and surge in 2016, but we've seen a team peak earlier than expected before. That's often followed by some regression to the mean. Sophomore slumps exist, whether opponents adjust to you, you start reading your own press clippings, etc.
As optimistic as my numbers are, I would say that if Washington finishes in the S&P+ top 20, that's a success.
Petersen is one of football's most proven coaches. At Boise State, he engineered success greater than a No. 12 S&P+ rating (ninth in 2008, first in 2010, fourth in 2011) with far less-touted recruits.
After what the Huskies did last year, it wouldn't surprise me if they lived up to top-10 hype. Still, I'm setting the bar a little bit lower. This year should be as much about solidifying gains as winning the Pac-12.
|Record: 7-6 | Adj. Record: 10-3 | Final F/+ Rk: 13 | Final S&P+ Rk: 12|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|4-Sep||at Boise State||37||13-16||L||54%||16%||+10.5||+9.0|
|14-Nov||at Arizona State||50||17-27||L||49%||29%||-18.6||-7.5|
|21-Nov||at Oregon State||107||52-7||W||97%||100%||+24.8||+30.0|
|26-Dec||vs. Southern Miss||56||44-31||W||95%||98%||+4.3||+4.5|
|Points Per Game||30.6||55||18.8||13|
3. Next step: beating good teams
The Huskies' performances were very much dictated by the quality of the opponent.
It was perhaps predictable that the freshman-led offense was the more volatile unit.
- Washington vs. F/+ top 50:
Record: 1-6 | Average percentile performance: 57% (~top 55) | Average score: Opp 25, UW 18 (-7) | Yards per play: Opp 5.3, UW 5.0 (-0.3)
- Washington vs. No. 51+:
Record: 6-0 | Average percentile performance: 95% (~top 6) | Average score: UW 45, Opp 11 (+34) | Yards per play: UW 7.0, Opp 4.4 (+2.6)
The defense allowed 0.9 more yards per play against top-50 teams, and the offense averaged 2 fewer yards per play. It probably goes without saying that a lot of this variability came from the quarterback position. Browning's passer rating against the top-50 teams he played was 104.7, but 188.2 against everyone else.
You're going to play better against bad teams than good ones on average, but you're almost never going to see splits more stark than that. And until Browning can prove he's ready to beat better defenses, Washington is pretty close to its ceiling.
But again, he was a true freshman. That he was able to torch anybody is a sign of a good things.
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||42.7%||54||Succ. Rt. +||106.8||44|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||29.3||56||Def. FP+||28.1||39|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.3||82||Redzone S&P+||95.7||96|
|Q1 Rk||80||1st Down Rk||42|
|Q2 Rk||61||2nd Down Rk||39|
|Q3 Rk||18||3rd Down Rk||61|
Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|Jake Browning||6'2, 205||So.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9619||233||369||2955||16||10||63.1%||31||7.8%||6.9|
|K.J. Carta-Samuels||6'2, 219||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9109||10||24||124||0||1||41.7%||3||11.1%||3.4|
|Jeff Lindquist||6'3, 244||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9051|
|Tony Rodriguez||6'3, 185||Jr.||NR||NR|
|Daniel Bridge-Gadd||6'2, 195||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8236|
4. No pressure, Jake
You've only got the weight of an entire team on your shoulders.
It's funny how success only builds pressure. If Browning would have struggled the entire season and maybe gotten benched a few times, he would have entered 2016 with pretty manageable expectations. Instead, he showed flashes of brilliance against lesser defenses. He was 16-for-24 for 263 yards and four scores against Arizona, 18-for-20 for 211 and four more against Oregon State.
Because of that, before actually torching a good defense (and before producing a Passing S&P+ ranking better than 86th), he's showing up on Heisman watch lists. That's unfair.
Still, with what Myles Gaskin was able to do, it's clear that the running game is less of a concern. Gaskin was in the middle of a typical up-and-down freshman year (6.8 yards per carry against USC, Oregon and Stanford, then 4.6 against Arizona and Utah) when he found a lovely feature-back rhythm down the stretch. In his last four games, he averaged 25 carries per game and 5.6 yards per carry.
Gaskin can dance too much, and his line was banged up and leaky (nine players started at least two games, and UW ranked 75th in stuff rate), but Washington still ended up a healthy 35th in Rushing S&P+ and returns virtually everybody involved in the run game. The only losses are center Siosifa Tufunga and boom-or-bust backup back Dwayne Washington.
Junior back Lavon Coleman showed some of the same all-or-nothing tendencies, and incoming four-star back Sean McGrew should provide extra competition. The run game should be excellent. At least a few Washington opponents will then stack the box and dare Browning and a retooled receiving corps to beat them. Will it work?
|Myles Gaskin||TB||5'10, 193||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8791||227||1302||14||5.7||6.8||38.8%||1||0|
|Jake Browning||QB||6'2, 205||So.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9619||34||230||1||6.8||4.4||55.9%||4||2|
|Lavon Coleman||TB||5'11, 220||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8769||33||176||0||5.3||5.7||36.4%||0||0|
|Chico McClatcher||WR||5'7, 176||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8758||19||153||3||8.1||11.1||42.1%||0||0|
|Jomon Dotson||TB||5'10, 175||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8513||18||42||0||2.3||1.5||27.8%||1||0|
|Jeff Lindquist||QB||6'3, 244||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9051||12||36||1||3.0||1.6||25.0%||1||1|
|Ralph Kinne||TB||5'10, 216||Jr.||NR||NR||7||18||0||2.6||2.7||28.6%||0||0|
|K.J. Carta-Samuels||QB||6'2, 219||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9109||6||30||1||5.0||1.8||50.0%||1||1|
|Sean McGrew||TB||5'7, 173||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9113|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Dante Pettis||WR||6'1, 187||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8453||58||30||414||51.7%||15.4%||7.1||48.3%||39.7%||1.64|
|Brayden Lenius||WR||6'5, 228||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8377||35||26||307||74.3%||9.3%||8.8||60.0%||65.7%||1.12|
|John Ross (2014)||WR||5'11, 196||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9056||30||17||371||56.7%||7.9%||12.4||53.3%||N/A||N/A|
|Darrell Daniels||TE||6'4, 237||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9329||22||19||250||86.4%||5.9%||11.4||59.1%||63.6%||1.67|
|Isaiah Renfro||WR||6'1, 206||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8898||17||13||178||76.5%||4.5%||10.5||70.6%||58.8%||1.40|
|Chico McClatcher||SLOT||5'7, 176||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8758||11||8||78||72.7%||2.9%||7.1||45.5%||27.3%||2.58|
|Myles Gaskin||TB||5'10, 193||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8791||10||6||19||60.0%||2.7%||1.9||60.0%||10.0%||1.54|
|Drew Sample||TE||6'5, 260||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8244||6||5||45||83.3%||1.6%||7.5||83.3%||66.7%||0.86|
|Lavon Coleman||TB||5'11, 220||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8769||5||4||31||80.0%||1.3%||6.2||80.0%||60.0%||0.95|
|Quinten Pounds||WR||5'11, 178||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8345||2||0||0||0.0%||0.5%||0.0||50.0%||0.0%||0.00|
|Connor Griffin||WR||6'3, 225||Jr.||NR||NR|
|Max Richmond||SLOT||5'9, 182||So.||NR||NR|
|Andre Baccellia||WR||5'10, 166||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8504|
5. Big Play John Ross
If you could have pinpointed one more thing Washington needed in 2015, it was probably a deep-threat speedster on the outside, preferably one who could also provide a threat in the return game. Tight end Joshua Perkins was pretty good at going up the seam here and there, but the top two wideouts, Jaydon Mickens and Dante Pettis, combined to average just 7.3 yards per target.
Basically, Washington could have used someone like John Ross III. Ross was one of college football's better deep threats in 2014, averaging 21.8 yards per catch and 24.7 yards per kick return while also providing stellar cornerback play when asked.
Ross suffered two meniscus tears in his knee last winter, then re-aggravated the injury in spring practice. He sat out 2015, but he appears totally healthy now.
Mickens and Perkins are gone, but with Ross, Pettis, possession man Brayden Lenius, and tight end Darrell Daniels (11.4 yards per target) all back, the ceiling for this receiving corps is quite a bit higher than last year's.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||2015 Starts||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Coleman Shelton||C||6'4, 292||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7000||13||20|
|Jake Eldrenkamp||LG||6'5, 284||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8404||11||11|
|Trey Adams||LT||6'8, 306||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8938||9||9|
|Andrew Kirkland||RT||6'4, 313||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8157||7||7|
|Kaleb McGary||RT||6'7, 300||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8969||6||6|
|Shane Brostek||RG||6'4, 285||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.0000||2||5|
|Jesse Sosebee||RG||6'5, 314||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7966||2||2|
|Matt James||C||6'5, 291||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8479||2||2|
|Michael Kneip||LG||6'5, 284||Sr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.0000||0||0|
|Henry Roberts||LG||6'6, 290||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9049|
|Jared Hilbers||LT||6'7, 282||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8438|
|Devin Burleson||RT||6'8, 301||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7593|
|Luke Wattenberg||OL||6'4, 275||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9005|
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||39.4%||50||Succ. Rt. +||114.9||20|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||32.2||26||Off. FP+||33.4||11|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||3.3||7||Redzone S&P+||120.0||13|
|Q1 Rk||25||1st Down Rk||7|
|Q2 Rk||16||2nd Down Rk||9|
|Q3 Rk||16||3rd Down Rk||10|
6. Tightening the grip
Pete Kwiatkowski has now been Petersen's defensive coordinator for six years, and he has produced elite defenses for four of those six years. There were blips in 2013 at Boise State and 2014 at Washington, but in the other four seasons, Kwiatkowski defenses have ranked second in Def. S&P+ (2010), ninth (2011), 11th (2012), and ninth (2015). You're not going to find many FBS coordinators who have pulled that off.
Washington's defense was devastating in its ability to adapt. The Huskies improved with each quarter -- 25th in Q1 S&P+, 16th in Q2 and Q3, third in Q4 -- and pulled off a devastating combination: limiting big plays on standard downs and limiting much of anything on passing downs. You had to remain patient and take whatever the Huskies gave you, and by the fourth quarter, they knew what you were going to try to take.
And again, this was with a young unit, one that was pretty banged up at linebacker and in the secondary. Washington ranked ninth in Def. S&P+ last year and now returns five of six linemen, eight of 11 linebackers, and seven of eight defensive backs. Just think of how adaptable this defense could be when it isn't staffed by sophomores.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Elijah Qualls||NT||6'1, 321||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9452||10||21.0||2.8%||4.5||4.5||0||0||0||0|
|Greg Gaines||DT||6'2, 318||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8550||13||20.0||2.7%||1.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Vita Vea||NT||6'5, 329||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8750||13||15.0||2.0%||3.0||1.0||0||0||1||0|
|Will Dissly||DE||6'4, 273||Jr.||NR||0.7826||13||7.0||0.9%||3.0||1.0||0||0||1||0|
|Jaylen Johnson||DE||6'3, 285||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8525||13||6.0||0.8%||2.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Damion Turpin||DE||6'3, 284||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8658||7||2.0||0.3%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Shane Bowman||DE||6'4, 290||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8210|
|Benning Potoa'e||DE||6'3, 271||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9099|
|Jason Scrempos||DE||6'6, 279||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8578|
|Ricky McCoy||DT||6'2, 302||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8413|
|Levi Onwuzurike||DE||6'4, 262||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8997|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Azeem Victor||MIKE||6'3, 227||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8400||13||77.0||10.3%||9.0||1.5||1||6||2||0|
|Keishawn Bierria||WILL||6'1, 226||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8600||13||64.0||8.5%||7.5||3.5||0||0||1||0|
|Ben Burr-Kirven||LB||6'0, 215||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8569||12||26.5||3.5%||1.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Joe Mathis||BUCK||6'2, 256||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9193||11||21.5||2.9%||6.0||2.0||0||0||1||0|
|Psalm Wooching||SAM||6'4, 230||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8378||13||16.5||2.2%||4.5||2.0||0||1||0||1|
|Tevis Bartlett||SAM||6'2, 229||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8482||13||9.0||1.2%||0.0||0.0||0||1||0||0|
|Sean Constantine||MIKE||6'2, 232||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8777||13||8.0||1.1%||1.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Connor O'Brien||BUCK||6'3, 240||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8650||7||7.0||0.9%||3.0||2.0||0||0||0||0|
|Matt Preston||WILL||6'2, 219||So.||NR||NR||2||2.0||0.3%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Wambaugh||MIKE||6'1, 230||So.||NR||NR|
|DJ Beavers||WILL||6'0, 224||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8696|
|Jusstis Warren||LB||6'2, 250||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8482|
|Kyler Manu||SAM||6'1, 237||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8389|
|Camilo Eifler||OLB||6'2, 214||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9320|
|Brandon Wellington||OLB||6'0, 215||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9129|
|Amandre Williams||SAM||6'3, 223||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8529|
|Myles Rice||BUCK||6'4, 246||Fr.||2 stars (5.3)||NR|
7. Three playmakers gone
That said, it's not like the Huskies lost nothing. Tackle Taniela Tupou and linebackers Cory Littleton and Travis Feeney combined for 33.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks last year. Granted, backup tackles Greg Gaines and Vita Vea (both freshmen in 2015) and linebackers Joe Mathis and Psalm Wooching all showed playmaking potential in their own right. But the bar is pretty high.
While the pass-rushing potential is massive, UW didn't make quite enough run stuffs last year, and Taniela, Littleton, and Feeney were responsible for most of the stuffs the Huskies made. Middle linebacker Azeem Victor, however, still gives them one proven defender in this regard.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Budda Baker||FS||5'10, 184||Jr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9721||12||40.5||5.4%||1.5||0||2||7||0||0|
|Sidney Jones||CB||6'0, 180||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7985||13||38.5||5.1%||3.5||0||4||10||4||2|
|Darren Gardenhire||NB||5'11, 187||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8568||13||35.0||4.7%||0||0||2||6||0||1|
|Kevin King||CB||6'3, 190||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8628||11||31.5||4.2%||4.5||0||3||5||1||0|
|JoJo McIntosh||SS||6'1, 208||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8457||13||29.0||3.9%||0||0||1||3||0||0|
|Ezekiel Turner||SS||6'2, 210||Jr.||NR||0.8549||12||17.5||2.3%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Trevor Walker (2014)||S||5'11, 190||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8528||8||12.0||1.4%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brandon Beaver||FS||6'0, 188||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8995||6||11.0||1.5%||0||0||1||1||0||0|
|Jordan Miller||CB||6'1, 176||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8467||13||4.5||0.6%||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Brandon Lewis||NB||5'11, 187||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8398||11||3.0||0.4%||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Hayden Schuh||DB||6'0, 205||Sr.||NR||NR||11||3.0||0.4%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ian Biddle||CB||6'0, 180||So.||NR||NR|
|Austin Joyner||CB||5'10, 190||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9074|
|Taylor Rapp||FS||6'0, 206||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8722|
|Byron Murphy||CB||5'11, 172||Fr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9518|
|Isaiah Gilchrist||CB||5'10, 188||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9065|
|Kentrell Love||DB||6'1, 165||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8802|
8. All the depth in the world
Washington's run defense was a major strength in 2015, but the pass defense was merely good. That balance could flip. The run defense does have some questions, but the pass rush should still be strong, and the secondary returns virtually everybody.
Corners Sidney Jones and Kevin King combined for eight TFLs, seven interceptions, and 15 breakups last year, and while starting safety Brian Clay is gone, Budda Baker, Darren Gardenhire, and JoJo McIntosh were all major contributors last year. And blue-chip corner Byron Murphy joins the party this fall as well.
Washington's pass defense was a lot like its pass offense: good against bad teams, decent against good ones -- against top-50 teams, the Huskies allowed a 125.2 passer rating, and against lesser teams, 107.0. That's not as stark a difference as what we saw from Browning, but it's a difference. And experience should shore that up a bit.
|Jake Browning||6'2, 205||So.||6||30.0||0||0||4||66.7%|
|Tristan Vizcaino||6'2, 201||Jr.||76||61.8||27||0||35.5%|
|Cameron Van Winkle||5'10, 189||Sr.||3||65.0||1||0||33.3%|
|Cameron Van Winkle||5'10, 189||Sr.||49-49||10-12||83.3%||6-8||75.0%|
|Tristan Vizcaino||6'2, 201||Jr.||1-1||0-1||0.0%||0-0||N/A|
|Chico McClatcher||KR||5'7, 176||So.||25||23.3||0|
|Dante Pettis||PR||6'1, 187||Jr.||16||16.9||2|
|Chico McClatcher||PR||5'7, 176||So.||6||12.0||0|
|Special Teams S&P+||63|
|Field Goal Efficiency||52|
|Punt Return Success Rate||52|
|Kick Return Success Rate||23|
|Punt Success Rate||110|
|Kickoff Success Rate||54|
9. Ross + Pettis = wow
John Ross scored twice on kick returns in 2014, and Dante Pettis scored twice on punt returns last year. Kicks and coverage are question marks, and Cameron Van Winkle seems like a rock solid place-kicker, but this return game, while slightly all-or-nothing, is terrifying.
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Probability|
|25-Nov||at Washington State||48||8.5||69%|
|Projected wins: 9.0|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||15.0% (39)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||30 / 29|
|2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||5 / 2.5|
|2015 TO Luck/Game||+0.9|
|Returning Production (Off. / Def.)||76% (72%, 79%)|
|2015 Second-order wins (difference)||7.7 (-0.7)|
10. Friday night in Seattle
I don't know, do you think the Friday night home game at Stanford might be a pretty big deal? Washington has three likely wins and a trip to Arizona before that, while Stanford will have already played both USC and UCLA. This will be the game that defines the Pac-12 North race. (It bears mentioning, though, that both of these teams will still have to play at Oregon.) If Washington wins, then an 11-1 record (or better) is absolutely on the table.
The Washington hype has grown quickly and dramatically, and it's not even because of some unreasonable bowl bump. The Huskies were both young as hell and really good last year. If Petersen is able to keep egos in check and keep everyone's development moving forward as planned, then the sky is the limit for this program over the next couple of years.
I understand the hype, and I think there's a solid chance the Huskies live up to it. But instead of "top 10 and 10-11 wins," I'm trying to set the bar closer to "top 20 and nine wins."
Petersen has a track record, a hell of a coaching staff, and a far more experienced two-deep. I would be shocked if the Huskies don't solidify last year's gains, even if they fall short in the Pac-12 North race.