This feels like deja vu - pretty much everything I wrote a couple weeks ago for the Cal game can be applied to this one. First year coach? Check. Poor results so far this year? Check. Terrible defense? Check. True frosh QB? Check. The style is different - whereas Cal is all-in with the Air-Raid offense, Colorado runs a more balanced offense, but the results are roughly similar.
When you look at Colorado on defense, there's really no reason not to expect the Husky offense to post another 600+ yard day, and to do so with a lot of big plays. If you can believe it, they surrender even more explosive play drives than Cal does, and there's not much meaningful difference between their ability to stop the run vs. the pass. They rank 114th in sacks/game, so Keith Price should get enough time in the pocket to find receivers downfield - expect more big passing plays, with the only question being who will be the beneficiary. And Bishop Sankey is a threat for another 200+ day (assuming he doesn't get pulled before he gets there).
The Buffs are breaking in new QB Sefo Liufau, and while he's shown promise as a true frosh, he's no Jameis Winston. However the Colorado offense is showing signs of progressing, and they're coming off a reasonably good showing vs. UCLA last week. The main threat will be WR Paul Richardson, and it'll be interesting to see if the Huskies counter by having Marcus Peters shadow him the whole game or if they stick with designating sides for Peters and Greg Ducre. The Buffalo run game has some spark with true frosh Michael Adkins, but had to sit out the UCLA game with a concussion. He appears probable to play, and the Huskies will need to stay on their toes to not allow the Colorado run game to get into a rhythm.
Overall, there's no good reason to expect this to be a close game. Yes, Colorado gave UCLA a scare for the first half last week, but the Bruins then pulled away for an easy win. Outside of a comically ridiculous spate of Husky turnovers, Washington should roll in this one: Washington 45, Colorado 17
Obviously, everybody is going to pick the Huskies against a team led by a true freshman QB who is traveling into Husky Stadium after a UW BYE. I will be no different in that regard. There shouldn't be that much mystery surrounding the eventual outcome (at least I hope not!) However, I am going to be very interested in how the Huskies win.
Defensively, the Huskies have demonstrated a sound pass rush but a bit of an up or down run when it comes to rushing D. The Buffaloes feature a pretty good duo of backs that will mix up power with speed behind an offensive line that makes up for its limitations with excessive spunk. In addition, the Husky pass D will be seeing Paul Richardson for the first time - keep in mind that Richardson has missed both of the last two matchups between the schools. Like they did against UCLA, I expect the Buffs to make a few more first downs than many Husky fans would prefer to see (I imagine that the expectations in this regard will be a little bit off the charts), but I do expect the Huskies to generally keep Colorado out of the end zone and record more than their fair share of sacks in the process - let's call it six. Also look for the Huskies to generate at least three turnovers as the regression to the forced turnover means kicks in this week.
Offensively, I'm quite interested in seeing how the team adapts to the loss of Kasen Williams. Ironically, I believe that Kasen's absence will compel us to be a bit more aggressive in passing the ball given that the lack of Kasen's ferocious blocking on the perimeter will likely hamper our running game to some extent. In fact, I'm guessing Husky fans will come out of the match-up this weekend wondering why Bishop Sankey didn't blow up a la Ka'Deem Carey vs Colorado a year ago. Look for Keith to really lean on ASJ in the short passing game and for Sark to aggressively attack with deep routes ... perhaps with Ross, Hall and Mickens all on the field at the same time.
The end result of this should be a steady win that most Husky fans will yawn at but will show well when measured against the efficiency metrics. Call it UW 48, Colorado 24
Washington 45 CU 14
I expect the Huskies to win, but for some reason, I can't shake the feeling that this is a trap-ish game for the UW - coming off a bye week, with a less-than-inspiring opponent, and a short week before a big road trip that the coaches have already started talking about. Add to that a confident young QB making what will likely be his only start in his home town, and I can see Colorado looking a lot hungrier on Saturday than the Dawgs will. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Buff defense with a little extra pep in their collective step, as their leader is none other than Kent Baer, who was only slightly more popular than Tyrone Willingham amongst Husky fans prior to Willingham scape goating him to preserve his fourth and most glorious season. I'm not going to suggest that Colorado is "good," but they seem to be improving, and they're playing hard.
Ultimately, though, the Huskies are enough better to win, almost regardless of how well Colorado plays. Bishop Sankey will get his yards, the offense will be able to move the ball well enough in the air, and defense should do enough to keep the Buffs from doing more than putting up a good fight. The matchup between Marcus Peters and Shaq Richardson is worth the price of admission alone.
Call it Dawgs 38, Colorado 24