Washington deserves a spot in the Top 25
The Huskies are halfway through another season of impressive development. The schedule is about to get significantly tougher beginning this week, but the Huskies are also a better team this season.
Seattle Times staff columnist
They were expected to drub, and they drubbed, delivering a thrashing so thorough that you couldn't explain it away with the obligatory, "Oh, but that was against Colorado."
The Washington Huskies tore apart the overmatched Buffaloes without any yips beyond their customary groan-causing, hair-pulling defensive mistakes to start the game. But they even cleaned that up on Saturday afternoon, and with an offense addicted to scoring, the Huskies pulled away and refused to be caught. By the end, the scoreboard read 52-24, and it might as well have included the following statement beneath it.
The Huskies are in a new place now.
"Foreign territory," coach Steve Sarkisian calls it.
The rebuilding Huskies are 5-1 for the first time under Sark. They're 3-0 in the Pac-12. Their offense alternates between unstoppable and unsolvable. Their greatest challenge against Colorado was trying to maintain focus after building a 38-10 halftime lead.
Foreign territory, for sure.
Oh, but they look so comfortable in their new digs.
Home is sustained success, and the Huskies are halfway through another season of impressive development. The schedule is about to get significantly tougher beginning this week, when they visit No. 7 Stanford. But the Huskies are also a better team this season, a squad much more dangerous than the one that made an 11th-hour bowl dash last year.
How much better? Well, you can make this declaration without stammering.
Put 'em in the Top 25 now.
Put 'em there and don't fear they'll turn into a pumpkin after next week.
The Huskies deserve to be nationally ranked. That doesn't mean they're elite; in truth, there should be a line of demarcation between the top 15, where the BCS bowl contenders reside, and the last 10 teams in the poll. There's not a great difference between Nos. 16-40 in college football, and the Huskies are one of the better teams in that second tier right now, even with a shaky defense, even without an eye-popping signature victory.
Washington was second among teams receiving votes outside the Top 25 in The Associated Press poll last week, so you could call the Huskies the No. 27 team in the nation. After Saturday's performance, they should move into the Top 25.
It might only be for a week if Stanford beats them. But even if the Huskies lose and bounce out of the poll, this shouldn't be their only crack at the Top 25 this season.
They were ranked for a week during Sarkisian's first season, after they upset USC in Week 3, but that UW team lost six of its next seven games. This version is sturdier and more versatile.
The Huskies scored on their first six possessions against Colorado, the first five of which were touchdowns. Seven players scored touchdowns in this game. The running game produced 295 rushing yards, and quarterback Keith Price completed 21 of 28 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns.
How dominant were the Huskies? Their offense posted a season best for yards gained (562), and their defense posted a season best for yards allowed (269).
Yeah, the defense did its job. After allowing Colorado (1-6, 0-3 Pac-12) to go 70 yards on its first drive, the Huskies gave up just 199 yards the rest of the way.
They can get a lot better on D, and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will provide their strongest test. But the Huskies continue to grow at an encouraging pace. And they're handling success quite well considering the program hasn't been 5-1 since 2001.
"It's because we expect it," Price said. "We expect to be successful, and our coach expects it."
In a measured and subtle tone, Sarkisian has challenged the national media recently, hinting that the perception of the Huskies should be more positive. When asked Saturday if the Huskies deserve to be nationally ranked, Sarkisian continued to campaign for respect without sounding like he's campaigning.
"I don't know," he said. "I'd have to ask you that question, and you can tell me what you think of us."
Who's going to tell this man his team isn't legit? Right now, it feels like Sarkisian could make up offensive plays on the fly, and the Huskies would execute to perfection. The entire team is in a groove, actually.
"We might not always be right or be perfect," Sarkisian said. "We may not always look great. But we play hard."
The Huskies are one of the most entertaining teams in college football. One of the best 25? Yes. It's barely even a question.
Soon, they'll be able to unpack their bags in this foreign territory. It's becoming more familiar by the game.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or email@example.com, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer
|Keith Price is on pace to set a record for touchdown passes in a season by a Husky quarterback:|
|1. Cody Pickett||2002||28|
|2. Brock Huard||1997||25|
|3. Billy Joe Hobert||1991||24|
|4. Jake Locker||2009||21|
|4. Keith Price||2011||21|
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 206-464-2277
Trending on seattletimes.com
Most viewed photo galleries