All is well with the Husky Nation this week. Washington heads off into a well deserved bye week with a 4-1 record. That represents the programs best start since 2006 when the team also went 4-1 to start the season under departed coach Tyrone Willingham.
Disaster struck that team in week six in a loss to Oregon State when starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback suffered a season ending foot injury. The Huskies finished 5-7 on the season and even lost to a Stanford squad which was then described as the worst team in conference history.
Plenty of things have changed since those dark days. The program has developed a core of players that the coaches can build with. The 2011 team is young but each week they play the game with an increased level of proficiency.
The win over Utah is a prime example of that proficiency. The Utes are a good football team that are going to win the majority of the games they play this season. Beating a team like that on the road heading into this bye week is just huge for the program.
Heading into the season most of us felt that if the team could finish over .500 and go to a bowl game it would be a worthy accomplishment in what was considered a rebuilding year. Now most of us are thinking that an 8-4 or 9-3 season could possibly be withing reach.
Perhaps we are all selling ourselves short again. Maybe this is the year that we knock off a Stanford and Oregon, win the inaugural conference championship game, and return to the glory of playing in the Rose Bowl at Pasadena.
If you ask the coaches and players though they will tell you that their complete focus is on Colorado and that they are simply taking it one game at a time. Great teams do that and we saw the glimmer of a great team this past weekend in Salt Lake City.
Quote of the Week
Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham - "They ran the ball right down our throat."
Offensive Player of the Game
Chris Polk picked up 189 yards on 29 carries. The bulk of those yards came in the second half when Washington broke a close game open in the third quarter.
Defensive Player of the Game
Cort Dennison led the team with ten tackles and as usual he was all over the field the entire night. The entire defense actually gets major kudo's this week for holding the Utes to only 14 points.
Pac 12 Power Ratings
1. Stanford...The Cards had no problem with UCLA and Andrew Luck is still the favorite to win the Heisman. The cakewalk schedule continues with Colorado visiting the farm this weekend. Somebody is going to knock these guys off eventually. Could it be Washington in week seven?
2. Oregon...The Quackers had the week off. Up next is Cal on Thursday night in Eugene. The Ducks could have a little trouble with the stout Bear defense. Cal goes with four LB's and that might be part of the recipe for slowing the Duck offense down.
3. Washington...Impressive win on the road for the Huskies. Hard to believe they didn't crack the top 25 after a win like that. Up next is a well deserved bye week before facing Colorado at home.
4. Arizona State...The Devils had a tougher than expected time with Oregon State. Up next is Utah in Salt Lake City and I think the Devils are going to have problems with the Utes.
5. Southern California...Arizona lit the Trojan "D" up for 41points in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. The Trojans have the week off and I am assuming that they will spend most of their time working on pass defense.
6. California...The Bears had a bye this past week to get ready for the Ducks on Thursday night in Eugene. It will be interesting to see if their defense can slow the Oregon offense down a bit.
7. Utah...The Utes are going to win more games than they lose this season. One of those wins may be coming up this weekend when ASU pays them a visit in Salt Lake.
8. Washington State...Good win on the road for the Cougars. They need to follow it up with another must win against UCLA on the road this week.
9. UCLA...The Bruins were never really in the game against Stanford. Up next are the Cougars at home in a game that should be pretty close. I guess you can call this one the "Hot Seat Bowl" since whoever loses is probably going to end up getting fired at the end of the season.
10. Arizona...The Wildcat defense is terrible but their offense stung the Trojans for 41 points as Nick Foles passed for over 400 yards in a losing effort. Up next is Oregon State on the road and a probably win. On a side note...is anyone else tired of watching Mike Stoops make an ass out of himself on the sidelines each week?
11. Colorado...Tough loss to WSU for the Buff's who played well enough to win. Is Buffing it similar to Couging it? This week they travel to Stanford and the result aren't going to be pretty.
12. Oregon State...The Beavers gave ASU all they could handle and gave their fans some hope that the team will get better as the season progresses. They get Arizona at home this week and if they can play some "D" they just might be able to earn a win. Sean Mannion completed 40 passes in 66 attempts so it looks like he is starting to get comfortable which could be bad news for opponents in October and November.