Pac 12 Preview: Washington and Washington Stateby Davis Ender August 12, 2019 0 comments
2018 Record: 10-4
2019 O/U: 9.5
The Washington Huskies have been boasting playoff-caliber squads since the playoff era began, but they took a bit of a step back in 2018. That step back still resulted in a Pac 12 championship, but they definitely weren’t as complete a team as they probably should have been. Their Rose Bowl loss to Ohio State should motivate them for the 2019 campaign, but they still have plenty of questions to answer.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Huskies should take a major leap forward. They return what is arguably the best receiving corps in the Pac 12 (outside of USC). The already solid wide receiver room should get a major boost as well because Georgia transfer Jacob Eason will be taking over as the team’s starting quarterback. Jake Browning was regularly hyped up by fans, but he ultimately ended up as one of the more overrated players of the last several seasons. The passing attack should be much more potent in 2019. The offensive line now has plenty of experience and the running game should help take a lot of the pressure of Eason’s shoulders.
Washington is lucky enough to not require a high-flying offense, however, as their defense has been consistently dominant throughout the Chris Petersen era. They will be losing a third of their starters from last season, but they will also be welcoming eight four-star recruits on the defensive side of the ball.
I still think Oregon is the best team in the Pac 12, but the Huskies repeating as Pac 12 champions is certainly possible. They have a solid combination of championship experience to help out their raw young talent. Their schedule isn’t a cakewalk, but they should be able to reach double-digit wins and a New Year’s Six bowl game.
2019 Regular Season Record Prediction: 10-2
Team: Washington State
2018 Record: 11-2
2019 O/U: 8
Washington State was the Pac 12’s last best hope to get back to the playoff in 2018, but they fell short with a soul-crushing Apple Cup loss to Washington to end the regular season. 2018 certainly put the Cougars back on the map, but I’m not confident they’re in store for a repeat performance.
The success of their offense is going to come down to how well they replace Gardner Minshew. Preseason camp will see a three-way battle between Trey Tinsley, Anthony Gordon, and FCS All American transfer Gage Gubrud. Gabrud is the current favorite to lock down the job, but head coach Mike Leach has yet to name a starter. Whoever ends up being Mishew’s successor will have virtually the same exact offense to work with.
The defense should be as serviceable as it has been in recent years, but it still has its fair share of question marks. The Cougars will, however, lose the best player in their secondary, Jaylen Thompson, due to a failed PED test.
I like the roster Mike Leach has, but I don’t trust them enough against the rest of the Pac 12’s elite. To make things worse, they will have to play almost all of their big games in 2019 on the road. They will be away from Martin Stadium against Cal, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.
2019 Regular Season Record Prediction: 8-4