NCAAF: Washington Huskies +2000, Odds to Win the Championship
It was another good year for the Huskies in 2017, but one that ultimately ended in disappointment for Washington. Hitting the 10-win mark again is a sign that this team is doing a lot of things right, but fans and coaching staff will know that it really means nothing if there is not a Conference Championship or playoff appearance attached to a double-digit win season. The Huskies look set to be one of the best teams in the PAC-12 again this season, as this is a well-coached team that has talent on both sides of the football, as well as a host of returning starters coming back this season. Could this be the year when the Huskies get back to the Conference Championship Game? Let’s take a closer look at the 2018 version of the Washington Huskies.
We’re back to the grind today.#PurpleReign
— Washington Football (@UW_Football) August 17, 2018
The Huskies will have seven starters coming back on offense this season, but perhaps more importantly, they will all be healthy. QB Jake Browning became the conference offensive player of the year in 2016 but saw his numbers tail off in a big way last season. Not all of the blame can be heaped on his shoulders, though, as the Huskies had all but one of their top receivers spend time on the injury table. If the receivers can stay healthy this season, and the Huskies develop one who can become a deep threat, Browning could top his numbers from 2 seasons ago, when he had 43 TD passes.
Where this offense really shines is up front, as they are a big powerful line that does a great job of protecting the passer while also creating some nice running lanes. The biggest benefactor of that has been RB Myles Gaskin who is entering his senior year with a shot at breaking the all-time rushing record for the Huskies. He is currently sitting at over 4,000 yards in his college career, and if this line can stay healthy and upright, there is a good chance that he will add to that tally in a big way.
The Huskies have 6 legitimate starters back in the line-up on the defensive side of the football in 2018. They have a real shot at being one of the best in college football, and while they lost playmaker Vita Vea to the pros, they still have Greg Gaines in place to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Where this defense is perhaps at its strongest is in the secondary, where they are absolutely loaded with talent. Free safety Taylor Rapp is the man that makes things happen there, but this entire group is quite possibly the most feared in the PAC-12.
If this team can stay healthy from start to finish, the sky truly is the limit. Even with so many players lost to injury last season, they still managed 10 wins. There are a lot of starters coming back into the fold, so they know the system and should get right back to winning ways from Week 1. I think this team is the one to beat in the PAC-12 North, as well as in the conference as a whole. If a team from this conference does make the playoffs this season, count on it being the Huskies.