The good, the bad and the unknown: 2013 regular season

Kevin Casey

It was an up-and-down season for the Huskies, but it was ultimately satisfying.

The Good

Bishop Sankey - Sankey outdid himself and topped his 2012 performance and then some with what could be the best season ever put together by a Washington running back. Sankey was once again the Huskies' rock and shouldered a heavy, heavy load while doing nothing but breaking big runs and turning what could have been short or negative gains into the healthy gains that kept drives going. This very well may have been Sankey's final season at Washington and I think entire Husky nation couldn't be more appreciative or impressed by his season and career.

8 wins - I know that this was the season that everyone thought the 10-win barrier would be broken by the Huskies, and though that can't happen, fans should rejoice in that the team won more than eight games for the first time since 2001. It was far from a dream season, but it was satisfying, and with a bowl win, the Huskies will be just one win away from a 10-win season and likely ranked in the Top 25.

Home sweet home - Outside of a loss to Oregon where the Ducks and Marcus Mariota may have played their best game of the entire season, the Huskies were dominant at home. Almost like the Seahakws, the Huskies are becoming a very, very difficult team to beat in Seattle and that bodes extremely well with nearly every one of their showdown games in 2014 taking place in Husky Stadium.

Travis Coons - You could make an argument that Coons was the Huskies' best player this season outside of Sankey. Coons missed only one field goal all season, handled punting duties well and even converted two really impressive fake punts late in crucial games.

Sacks - After years of pass-rushing futility on both sides of the ball, the Huskies finally were able to take down opposing quarterbacks and protect theirs. Led by the big return of Hau'oli Kikaha, the Huskies finished near the top of the conference in sacks and near the bottom in sacks given up and it looks great going into 2014 with all of their pass-rushers and offensive linemen returning.

Marcus Peters -Peters filled right in for Desmond Trufant and became one of the conference's best cornerbacks as just a sophomore. He was all over the field, regularly locked down opposing receivers and had one of the best games a Husky defensive back has ever had against Oregon State with three turnovers.

Finish - The Huskies actually lived up to their 2014 motto by winning their final two games, particularly highlighted by the absolute thrashing they gave Oregon State in Corvallis. Also, don't undervalue the Huskies' win in the Apple Cup, as they beat a red hot Cougar team that always plays over its head in the Apple Cup. Now, if they can win their bowl game, they will truly finish.

Danny Shelton - One of the more underrated players in the Pac-12, Shelton was an absolute warrior up front again and at times looked like he was holding down opponents' running games all on his own. Shelton is one of the best run-stuffers in the conference, and even was active in the pass-rush at times in 2013.

The Bad

Penalties - God damn the penalties were frustrating this season as the Huskies led the Pac-12, and nearly the entire country in flags. Penalties seemed to be one of the negative calling cards of Steve Sarkisian's (So hopefully they will leave with him) time at Washington and they probably cost the Huskies at least one game in 2013.

Three-game losing streak - Once again, the Huskies suffered a three-game skid where it seemed like the wheels were completely coming off of the wagon. As always, a very tough schedule was used as an excuse. Let's hope these nightmare schedules and losing streaks are on their way out.

Arizona State game - It seems like it was ages ago, but this was the yearly nightmare game where it all exploded for the Huskies, and for the second year in-a-row, it took place in Arizona. The Sun Devils were a tough opponent, on the road after two hellacious games, but there was no excuse for the Huskies getting destroyed the way they did.

Losing to Oregon... again - The Ducks played really well in Seattle and were once again a Top 10-level team, but losing to them for the tenth-straight season was miserable, especially considering that the Huskies ended up losing by more than 20 points again.

Road woes - The Huskies were once again plagued with a near complete inability to win games on the road, especially if they were against solid opponents. They ended up giving some hope for the future of ending this by rolling Oregon State in Corvallis and by nearly beating Stanford in Palo Alto, but overall, it was safe to assume that if the Huskies were playing on the road, that they would perform poorly.

Bad bowl - Despite winning more games than they have the past three seasons, the Huskies are going to the worst bowl game they have in the past four years. The chance to win nine games is still a great one and BYU is a really good opponent for the Pac-12's sixth-slotted bowl, but I think everyone envisioned a better bowl than the Fight Hunger Bowl going into the season.

The Unknown

Chris Petersen - There has been a ton of excitement about hiring Petersen and the mindset that he is actually an upgrade is a very reasonable one, but change is still change and incredibly uncertain. I have the utmost confidence in Petersen being able to win with the foundation that Sarkisian laid, but until we see it happen, it's going to be an unknown in regards to if he can.

Steve Sarkisian - I think most Husky fans are fine with Sarkisian leaving and understand that getting offered the job at USC was a dream situation that he couldn't turn down, so now it's just unknown what his legacy will end up being and what his future against Washington will be. Will Sarkisian be remembered as the foundation builder for Washington's rebirth, or will he be seen as a guy who couldn't get the Huskies to the next level? How will he perform when the Huskies and Trojans start playing again? Will there be a rivalry?

Underclassmen - Shelton has already announced his return, but now we are waiting on the two big fish in Sankey and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. We won't truly be able to gauge how the Huskies shape up until next season until we know the decision of both, but right now, I think they are both gone.

Starting quarterback - The Fight Hunger Bowl will be Keith Price's finale as starting quarterback, and now for the first time in quite a while, the identity of the Huskies' starting quarterback will be seriously in question - especially with the coaching change. Obviously Cyler Miles is a big favorite at the moment, but I believe that Petersen will take a long, hard look at each candidate this spring.

Up-tempo - Much was made of the Huskies' trendy and cliché move to the up-tempo offense and how it could take them to the next level, but after the regular season, one has to wonder how much of a difference it truly made in 2013 and if Petersen and his staff will keep it. Personally, I don't know how much of a difference it made, but it will be really interesting to see if it sticks around.

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