Analyzing Bill Connelly's Washington Football Preview

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Bill did a great job of previewing the Huskies in his countdown series -- we point out where he nailed it, a couple things he may have missed, and recap some high points.

You can't complain about the job Bill does. It's no small feat previewing every FBS team, and to be so consistently knowledgeable about them all is incredible. Here are some of our takeaways from reading his preview of the Huskies.

What happens with recruiting?

Early signs are encouraging. Petersen and his staff secured three four-star commitments late in the 2014 recruiting cycle and has one four-star commitment thus far in the 2015 class. Petersen doesn't need too many of those guys, but he'll probably need a few.

Here I think Bill underestimates the University of Washington as a recruiter. People who have looked into it have found that for the most part where programs recruit is pretty static on an annual basis, so if Petersen is even average as a recruiter UW should still be landing top-25 classes.The "one four-star" stat Bill cites is pretty fungible, as both Scout (Browning, Gaskin, Renfro) and 247 (Adams, Browning, Renfro) have the Huskies with three of them. Going by either of these two services Petersen has gotten commitments from seven four-stars in the past eight months. If he can continue at that clip for an entire calendar year, well, that's better than Steve Sarkisian recruited. It would push the Huskies close to having 50% blue chips per class -- the rate that you basically need to hit or be really close to to be in contention for a national championship. Yeah, he'll need a few of those guys to win in the Pac-12, and early returns look like he's going to get more than his share them.

What's the baseline here?

Record: 9-4 | Adj. Record: 12-1 | Final F/+ Rk: 18
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L 5-gm Adj. Avg.
31-Aug Boise State 45 38-6 W 44.9 - 16.9 W
14-Sep vs. Illinois 71 34-24 W 30.1 - 23.2 W
21-Sep Idaho State N/A 56-0 W 35.0 - 13.9 W
28-Sep Arizona 25 31-13 W 24.0 - 13.4 W
5-Oct at Stanford 3 28-31 L 35.9 - 17.3 W 17.0
12-Oct Oregon 5 24-45 L 32.0 - 30.1 W 11.8
19-Oct at Arizona State 13 24-53 L 16.4 - 32.8 L 7.1
26-Oct California 103 41-17 W 29.0 - 26.1 W 3.5
9-Nov Colorado 95 59-7 W 41.1 - 19.3 W 5.8
15-Nov at UCLA 15 31-41 L 32.9 - 26.7 W 3.3
23-Nov at Oregon State 42 69-27 W 45.5 - 21.9 W 7.6
29-Nov Washington State 53 27-17 W 25.7 - 20.1 W 12.0
27-Dec vs. BYU 30 31-16 W 29.3 - 22.7 W 12.8

It's interesting to see that the Huskies were 12-1 in Adjusted Record a year ago. What this means is that in spite of the complaints about Steve Sarkisian's ability to get the team ready, or play well on the road, the Huskies were actually a pretty consistent team a year ago. They were an above average team in every game save for the clunker at Arizona State. This is what our eyes told us, as the Huskies had a chance to win 12 out of their 13 games in 2013, and it's nice to see the advanced stats bear that out.

Bringing the Boise Way (whatever the means) to Seattle

When Kellen Moore was passing for millions of yards at Boise State, we always used the Broncos as an example of Moneyballing, of underdog tactics, in college football. But unlike the air raid or the flexbone option, Boise's underdog tactics weren't specific to a given style of football. There were no obvious, identifying characteristics.

This is, honestly, something that I feel Boise State got away from when Ron Prince became their offensive coordinator, and something I hope Chris Petersen goes back to in the coming seasons. Jeff Choate told Chris B. Brown of Smartfootball.com that they didn't have an offense at Boise, they ran plays. Instead of being married to an identity or a specific style, they ran plays that gave them a matchup advantage and would work. It's brilliant in its simplicity, but you'd be amazed at how rare it is in football.

Pass protection was a bit of an issue last season, but some of that was on quarterback Keith Price, who sometimes held onto the ball too long in attempt to make a play. [Cyler] Miles had a quicker delivery (in a small sample) and a lower sack rate.

It's encouraging to see that Miles was making decisions quickly and not taking sacks when he was the quarterback. However, it's entirely possible that that was partly a schematic result, and due to gameplanning and a shortened playbook. Or not. It's certainly not something that you can skew as a negative going forward though.

2014 Schedule & Projection Factors

2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
30-Aug at Hawaii 97
6-Sep Eastern Washington NR
13-Sep Illinois 63
20-Sep Georgia State 128
27-Sep Stanford 6
11-Oct at California 82
18-Oct at Oregon 3
25-Oct Arizona State 21
1-Nov at Colorado 99
8-Nov UCLA 20
15-Nov at Arizona 36
22-Nov Oregon State 43
29-Nov at Washington State 68

This is the best schedule the Huskies have had in terms of setting them up for success since... well... maybe ever. Depending on how high you are on Stanford heading into this year, it's really easy to see how the Huskies could or should be favorites for every game on their schedule save their trip to Oregon. Yes, there are tough stretches, but that's going to happen every year in this conference and it's nothing like we've seen in recent years. As for UW's 4 toughest opponents (Stanford, Oregon, ASU and UCLA), Bill hits the nail on the head:

Three of those four opponents come to Seattle, and it only takes a couple of ifs to make Washington one hell of a team in 2014.

The Huskies certainly have a high ceiling this year -- something that has been echoed by our writers, commenters and elsewhere -- which Bill sees as well:

It's not hard to see the Huskies achieving above projection, though. And with a good first year or two, it's not hard to see recruiting working out just fine and Petersen enjoying one hell of a tenure at UW. Washington's a big reason why the Pac-12 is so damn strong now, and the Huskies aren't likely to fade too much in the coming years.

The future hasn't looked this bright for the Husky football program in quite some time. Can we start the season already?

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