I cannot believe it. Single Digits.
Did you hear me? Single Digits. Just nine days until Washington kicks off against Hawaii.
On one hand, I'm nauseous with anticipation. I can't wait for football. No other sport has to suffer such a long an onerous offseason like college football does.
On the other hand, I'm nauseous with anxiety. Nine days? How the hell is Chris Petersen going to have this team ready in just 9 days? We don't have a QB. We are still talking about having to play up to 9 true freshman. It's too early. Coach Pete just got here. HE NEEDS MORE TIME!!!
Slap-slap. (This is the part where the blogger reminds himself that a) football really isn't that complicated and b) WTH? Coach Pete is our coach. Calm the eff down.)
Alright. I'm back. That was a cathartic experience. Now down to the brass tacks. With just 9 days to go until this season officially commences, we are starting to get a better read not just on how things are beginning to shape up with our football program, but also with those programs around the Pac 12. In fact, many of our scheduled opponents have officially "closed" fall camp and have moved to game week preparations. It's officially on.
The season has arrived.
You know the stakes and you know the situation. You've got the Internet, a browser and a whole lot of "information" on competition available to you. It's time to step up and put your credibility on the line. This is not an exercise for the feint of heart. It's a legitimate, gut-wrenching, test your mettle, sample your intellectual honesty kind of moment. I'm going to ask you this once and one time only: What is your prediction for UW's final record in 2014. Here are the three most likely (all exclude bowl game predictions):
Option #1 - 9 wins, 4 losses
If you are in the 9 wins camp, you are basically of the opinion that UW has solidified itself as the top team in the second tier of Pac 12 programs and that the steady hand of Chris Petersen will help this team avoid some of the disappointing losses that seemed to be an annual hallmark of the Steve Sarkisian regime. By projecting 9 wins, you are asserting that UW will win all the games it is favored to win, all the games that it is a toss up to win, but fail in all of its matchups against top teams including Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and ASU. Under this scenario, Husky fans will no doubt be happy about 9 wins and a bowl game, but will experience a sense of angst as a result of not having much success against the ranked teams on their schedule.
Reasons for: Safe bet; Petersen doesn't have a track record of getting upset by underdogs; Pretty strong output for a team with a new starting QB, a new starting RB and a still recovering top WR
Reasons against: 9 wins is an expectation that would have been put on Sark with this roster ... Pete can do better
Option #2 - 7 wins, 6 losses
If you are of the seven win camp, then you may not have moved on fully from the "Seven Win Steve" era. In this scenario, you are taking the point of view that many pundits have adopted with this UW team: that Petersen has inherited a talented but young team. You are arguing that it is going to take time for the QB situation to work itself out and for the playmakers at RB to emerge. You are also acknowledging that our young secondary may give up a game or two and that the lack of depth on the interior D-Line could hamstring us. You are not necessarily ceding the season as you still expect us to get to a bowl and make your alma mater proud, but you are acknowledging that UW may have a reloading year, one that Petersen bears no risk in implementing if he so chooses, in 2014.
Reasons for: A safe, realistic projection; Petersen may well be inclined to treat this as a reload year by emphasizing the playing of younger players; Troy Williams may well win the starting QB job and go through some growing pains.
Reasons against: Implies a 3-win P12 schedule which may be inconceivable to some fans
Option #3 - 10 wins, 3 losses
If you think the Huskies are heading towards 10 wins, then your confidence level is high. You are assuming that the Huskies are going to backfill Keith Price with an equally as capable signal caller and that this QB, playing behind a very experienced offensive line and supported by one of the strongest defenses in the Pac, is going to make some noise in this conference. To get to 10 wins, you presume that the Huskies will win all of the games that they are currently favored in and that they handle their business against at least one of "big boys" of the conference. Given Chris Petersen's track record against ranked FBS opponents, you feel like you are on solid footing in making such a projection and that the mantra of "Trust in Pete" makes all the sense in the world to you.
Reasons for: Experience on offensive and defensive lines is always highly correlated to wins/losses; the Petersen effect
Reasons against: With rookie QBs and Safeties, the Huskies may not be quite ready to knock off a big boy; the Pac 12 is one tough conference
The Verdict - UNDECIDED
I'll be sharing my full conference, game-by-game picks later on today in my latest Gekko File column. Until then, I leave the task to you, my fellow Husky fans. Make your opinion known and let your voice be heard. Where do you expect the Huskies regular season record to end up in 2014? Place your vote and then post your game-by-game picks in the comments below.