For those of you who aren’t familiar, every year we run the 30-day countdown series which usually has a poll available for fans to log their preseason predictions. This is our final look back at the results so you can see where the wisdom of the crowd was right or wrong.
Day 11- Husky Prop Bets
This one is a little different since I put forth multiple fake Husky prop bets to determine where fans would put their money given the odds I listed. Let’s find out if the Vrooman casino would’ve gone belly up.
Will all of the true freshmen redshirt in 2022?
-No (+700)- 62%
-Yes (-900)- 38%
Whoops. Well not a great start for me and a great start for the public cashing in. Injuries made it so that both Jaivion Green and Javon Parker (plus redshirt specialists Grady Gross and Jack McAllister) played in more than 4 games. That seemed improbably back in August hence the odds I gave.
Who will score the longest Husky TD from scrimmage this season?
-Giles Jackson (+600)- 38%
-Jalen McMillan (+275)- 25%
-Rome Odunze (+250)- 24%
-The Field (+400)- 8%
-Will Nixon (+400)- 3%
-Wayne Taulapapa (+800)- 3%
There was a lot of support for Giles Jackson which may have been because people didn’t realize I said from scrimmage which meant a potential kickoff return wouldn’t have counted. Jalen McMillan went 84 yards to the house against FCS Portland State in the second game of the season and that held up. Second place went to Ja’Lynn Polk at 76 yards who would’ve resulted in a good cash for those that picked The Field if I had excluded FCS.
Which group will have more receptions in 2022?
-Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Ja’Lynn Polk (+130)- 87%
-Everyone Else (-110)- 13%
Vrooman Vegas was hoping to take advantage of people to underestimate the chance of injury and overlook the role of the running back in the passing game in the new offense. All 3 of the primary receivers stayed mostly healthy and even so it ended up being quite close. The WR trio had 195 receptions which resulted in 52% of the total despite being the 3 leaders in targets and catches. Another cash for the public.
Which unit will see the greatest (absolute value) change in yards per game from last year?
-Passing Offense (+150)- 55%
-Rushing Offense (+400)- 21%
-Passing Defense (+200)- 3%
-Passing Offense (+500)- 21%
I probably should’ve set the odds on passing offense to -150 as the most likely choice ended up cashing by a greater margin than even the public expected. The Huskies improved their passing game by 145 yards per game which had to have been the top mark in the country even though I’m not willing to go through and do the work to confirm that. Passing defense saw by far the lowest voting but shouldn’t have been doubted so heavily. The Huskies saw a drop of 75 yards per game without McDuffie/Gordon at corner and finished second. The rush offense increased by 48 yards per game while the the rush defense per game improved by 19 yards.
How many games will Washington win by 14+ points?
-4 games (+400)- 36%
-3 games (+200)- 34%
-5+ games (+450)- 19%
-2 games (+250)- 10%
-0-1 games (+400)- 1%
The Huskies entered the regular season finale on 4 games but cashed for 4+ with a huge 2nd half against Wazzu in the Apple Cup. It’s not surprising that when UW greatly exceeded expectations that they would also end up in the highest bracket here. They hit 5 with wins over Kent State (+25), Portland State (+46), Stanford (+18), Colorado (+47), and WSU (+18).
When setting the odds I tended to be a little more conservative but the readership is always a little more optimistic and that paid off in a big way in 2022.
Day 8- Who will win Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year?
-Caleb Williams- 28%
-Cam Rising- 22%
-Jordan Addison- 7%
-Tavion Thomas- 6%
-Chance Nolan- 2%
2 years ago I included both USC’s starting QB and their top WR on the poll and thought it was more likely the quarterback would win. It ended up going to WR Drake London rather than Kedon Slovis. This year I once again included both and went with the QB and it proved to be correct. Caleb Williams was predictably sensational playing with an all-star team of an offense and the same head coach/offensive system he had the year before. That ended up being enough to win him the Heisman as some of the other candidates faltered down the stretch.
“Other” ended up getting the plurality of votes but people in the comments weren’t rushing to declare than Michael Penix Jr. would be the winner. I included Penix in the honorable mentions along with fellow transfers Bo Nix, Cam Ward, and Emory Jones. It turns out there was a 50/50 split there as Nix and Penix were legitimate Heisman candidates at times during the year while Ward was mediocre and Jones lost his job for a bad ASU team and transferred to Cincinnati after the season.
Including Nolan on the candidate list certainly didn’t work out either as he lost his job due to injury and then didn’t get it back once healthy despite his replacement not exactly lighting it up. Nolan opted to transfer and hasn’t found a home yet.
Day 7- Who will win Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year?
-Zion Tupuola-Fetui- 51%
-Noah Sewell- 25%
-Clark Phillips III- 13%
-Tuli Tuipulotu- 3%
-Ron Stone- 1%
I wanted to put a Husky on the list of options and ended up picking UW’s 3rd pass rusher only a week before the start of the regular season. Whoops. It turns out that either Bralen Trice or Jeremiah Martin would’ve been a better selection for both myself and the majority of you who voted for ZTF in the poll.
I’m still happy to have gotten the eventual winner on the list. Tuli Tuipulotu had a dominant season for a resurgent USC team even if the overall defense he played for was below average. He finished last season with 46 total tackles and a conference leading 13.5 sacks.
Day 5- Who will lead the Huskies in interceptions?
-Jordan Perryman- 30%
-Asa Turner- 26%
-Mishael Powell- 10%
-Davon Banks- 10%
-Dom Hampton- 9%
-Alex Cook- 9%
-Tuli Letuligasenoa- 3%
-Cam Williams- 2%
This one kind of feels like it should be N/A, right? Technically the winner ended up being a 2-way tie between safeties Asa Turner and Makell Esteen at 2. Only 5 players ended up with at least 1 interception this season though which means that only 7 total players picked off a ball. That is way below the recent standard the Huskies have seen from their defensive backs.
It makes a little more sense when you realize that the top-4 names in the voting above all missed multiple games due to injury. Alex Cook is essentially the only one who stayed healthy all year-long. Even taking that into account though you would’ve hoped that the position group performed better than that. Jordan Perryman battled injuries all season but never came close to performing like the player that was hyped up throughout preseason camp.
Outside of Turner, the only other person to end up with even 1 interception who was listed by name in the poll was Davon Banks who had one against Arizona State. The others to secure a pick were Cam Bright and Julius Irvin.
Day 4- Who will lead the Huskies in touchdowns?
-Wayne Taulapapa- 55%
-Rome Odunze- 25%
-Jalen McMillan- 10%
-Cameron Davis- 3%
-Ja’Lynn Polk- 2%
-Sam Adams III- 2%
Honestly given the way the season went I think that Taulapapa was justified for being the most common selection. He had the most carries at running back after all but in the end he came just short of Davis by a 13 to 12 margin. Next on the list was Jalen McMillan who had 9 despite finishing 4th in the voting and then Rome Odunze with 7 underperforming his 2nd place poll result.
Props to the few of you who went with Davis. He ended up getting the bulk of the goal-line carries this season despite not really being that kind of back under the previous administration.
The 5 names that finished atop the poll ended up finishing 1-5 albeit in a different order in the end. That’s partly a sign of UW staying mostly healthy on offense and partly a good job by all of you. Good job all of you!
Day 3- Pac-12 Bowl Projections
There was no poll but I wanted to give Andrew a shout out for how well he did with his pre-season guesses. He correctly got Utah in the Rose, Fresno State versus a Pac-12 team from WA in the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl, Oregon versus a team from NC in the Holiday Bowl, Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl, and UCLA in the Sun Bowl. Applause.
Day 1- How many regular season (pre-bowl) games will Washington win this year?
-Nine or more- 34%
-Six or fewer: 4%
Well congratulations to you optimists out there. I’m curious to know how many would’ve said 10+ if that had been a separate option from nine. Still, one-third of you expected the Huskies to improve by 5+ wins from the previous season and that was the winning answer even though the plurality went with 8 wins. Put it together and that means only about one in every four people filling out the poll on a Husky website thought that Washington was going to sputter in the first season under Kalen DeBoer and win 7 or fewer games. I can’t wait for next year’s version when I feel like at least 34% of you will predict an undefeated season once the goalposts have been moved accordingly. And you may be right.