Washington & Washington State
Pac 12 North – The Northwest can be nasty late in the year, if play either team at home pray for no snow. Last season Washington lost 30-22 to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Tempe at the Cactus Bowl. Washington State fell few games short of being bowl eligible with a lot of youth stepping into starting rolls. Both programs are looking for that next All American to step up from among the ranks this season.
Head Coach Chris Peterson enters his second season with the big boys of Pac 12 with a record of 8-6 thus far. Most hope that the bumpy road is behind him for year two.
The Huskies return 12 starters from last year team 5 Offensive, 5 Defensive, kicker & punter. Players to watch WR Jaydon Mickens from Dorsey HS (Los Angeles) who finished last year with 145 career receptions, good for sixth in UW history to start the year. WR Donte Pettis will have opportunity to try outshine his freshman spectacular season. SS Budda Baker who started every game as true freshman is labeled a star in the making, he’s leading Huskies tackler with 80. They will miss the playmaker John Ross III who out for the season with a leg injury. New comer QB Jake Browning from Folsom in Calif. turned down Alabama to enroll earlier and become a Huskies. The Huskies ended up signing six of the top eight prospects from the state of Washington in 2015.
The Huskies will be young upfront on both sides of ball filling the voids left by seniors. If they can give little time for the QB to hit their playmakers they will play .500 ball. Prediction 5th in Pac 12 North, Maybe Poinsettia Bowl if Navy/Army not bowl eligible.
Head Coach Mike Leach now approaching his fourth season after straying from Lubbock Tx with record of 12-25 in three seasons. He will be handing the controls of his “Air Raid” offensive to new QB sophomore Luke Falk.
The Cougars return 14 starters from last year team 7 Offensive, 6 Defensive, & kicker. Players to watch RB Gerard Wicks from Long Beach Poly whose durability will allow for few more running plays called. WR River Cracraft had solid season with 66 receptions, 771 yards, 8 touchdowns & added to Biletnikoff Award Watch List. My sleeper pick to shine this year in that deep WR core is Zaire Andre of Inglewood HS. His raw natural ability and versatility will shine on gameday. LB Jeremiah Allison will add leadership to the you defensive with his 78 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, & 3.5 sacks at WIL LB spot. New comer SS Shalom Luani who was Cal JC Defensive player of the year, who comes down hard on the run that will make teams think twice.
The Washington State Cougars are youthful but have done some strategic JUCO recruiting along with top defensive signings that will allow for few more wins this year. If they can start the season off with non conference wins they could be bowling now. Prediction: 4th in Pac 12 North, Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
Tomorrow Outlook will be Pac 12 South, Colorado & Utah,