Did Baylor Play Oklahoma In The Regular Season In Football #76 Washington Huskies Preview

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#76 Washington Huskies Preview

Spring practices are in the books and camps will be here before you know it, meaning an early jump into the 2006 NCAA football season. Knowing the teams now will save you time in August, and Matt Fargo is here to help you understand what to expect this upcoming year. We go from worst to first in this 2006 college football preview.

#76 – Washington Huskies 2-9 SU; 4-7 ATS

Fargo’s Take the Huskies left a once-proud football program in ruins. After going 10-1 in 2000, Washington lowered its win total the following four years and topped the 2004 mark with two wins last season. Head coach Ty Willingham will be in his second season with the Huskies but skeptics wonder if he’s really the right man for the job. He has the skills to be successful on offense but it comes down to working together as a team, which was not the case last season on an inconsistent offense. On the other hand, there was no improvement in the defense allowing 30.6 ppg, a slight increase from 2004. If there’s any good coming from last season, it’s the fact that the Huskies were much more competitive than they were the year before. Four of their losses were by eight points or less. Those close games must be won or Washington could be in for another long and frustrating season.

To start the offense – 6 offense increased its scoring production by more than a touchdown last season but still ranked 90th in the nation in passing offense. Washington scored more than 24 points just twice all season, and those were their only two wins on the year. Quarterback Isaiah Stanback is one of the biggest underachievers in the entire country. He is highly skilled and very athletic yet unable to move the offense and his big play ability remains the same. He looked great moving the offense in the spring but the jury is still out on whether he can get the job done when it counts. Tailback Kenny James is back after spending most of last season injured, and the receivers look strong once again. The problem is the offensive line where all but one starter must be replaced. If the line can come together in a hurry, the Huskies should be able to improve the offense once again but that really comes down to Stanback who needs to prove he’s the right pick.

Returning starters on defense – 8 This is where the real problem came last season. The Huskies were 94th in total defense and 89th in pass defense but the end of the season gave the Washington faithful some hope. It allowed just 19.3 ppg over the final three games, and with eight starters returning could see some major development in 2006. The pass defense couldn’t stop anyone as he allowed a whopping 275.7 ypg, 106th in the nation. Four secondary starters return which could be good or bad depending on their progress. If the spring game is any indication, it appears the latter is the case as the unit was repeatedly burned for big plays. The run defense posted its best numbers in three seasons, and the front four looks to be the strength of the defense once again. Washington lost two of its best linebackers and will be hard to replace, but all indications are that the return of Trenton Tuasosopo will have the biggest impact.

The Pac Ten schedule, with the exception of USC and Cal, looks very weak this season but Washington is not the beneficiary of an easy conference schedule. The Huskies hit the road to face four of the top five teams, including both the Trojans and Golden Bears, and five of their nine Pac Ten games are away from home. This includes the season finale against Washington St. in the Apple Cup. Along with nine conference games, Washington has just three non-conference contests. After hosting San Jose St. in the opener, the Huskies travel to Oklahoma before returning home to face the Fresno St. team. The first game against the Spartans is the only sure win on an entire schedule filled with plenty of swing games. Washington couldn’t win those swing games last year, but with another year of experience, it can turn around.

You can bet … after going 22-4 at home from 2000-2003, the Huskies have gone 2-11 over the last two seasons and will need to regain that home edge. The only home win last season came against Idaho as they were outscored by 19.5 ppg in their four home conference games. Over the last two years, Washington has been outscored by 15.5 ppg overall in Pac Ten action. Adding to their futility in covering Pac Ten games is that they are now 15-31-2 ATS over the past six seasons. They host UCLA in their conference opener, and while the Bruins aren’t as strong as they were last season, Washington isn’t in a position to win just yet. The Huskies are just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 conference openers, and that includes a home loss to UCLA in 2004. A win over the Bruins could be a huge boost to a program that desperately needs good things to happen.

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