A very difficult schedule awaits a young and rebuilding Washington footall team, under the direction of second year head coach Chris Petersen. With a new starting quarterback and a virtually brand new offensive line this has the look of a season that will start slow and finish strong. If the Huskies can achieve bowl eligibility and solve the quarterback issue with Jake Browning then the season will be a success.
Here are Washington's 12 regular season games, ranked from easiest to most difficult.
12. Sept. 12 vs. Sacramento State
The Hornets will get their sizable paycheck and coach Petersen should be able to get a guys a lot of playing time in a comfortable win for the Huskies.
11. Sept. 19 vs. Utah State
This matchup with the Aggies will be a nice test for the Washington defense as Chuckie Keeton is a tremendous playmaker for Utah State. Washington is going to have to control the line of scrimmage and pound the football down the Aggies throats with Dwayne Washington and Myles Gaskin in order to get the win.
10. Nov. 27 vs. Washington State
This Apple Cup could very well be "a winner is bowl eligible" and "loser leave town" matchup as the Huskies should be able to use the home field advantage to get their sixth win of the season to become bowl eligible.
9. Sept. 26 vs. California
The Golden Bears are getting a ton of preseason hype with Jared Goff back at quarterback. But, until California proves they actually play something that resembles defense, they will be vulnerable in this swing game for the Huskies.
8. Nov. 21 at Oregon State
Corvallis is never an easy place no matter who is coaching the Beavers. This is a matchup that Washington should have a chance to win on the road if they stay healthy and take care of the football.
7. Nov. 7 vs. Utah
This will be another litmus test to see just how much better Washington has gotten at the line of scrimmage as the Utes will turn this matchup into an old-fashioned street fight.
6. Oct. 31 vs. Arizona
Washington let the Wildcats off the hook with the infamous chart debacle by head coach Chris Petersen. Arizona will be playing its tenth game in 10 straight weeks. So the opportunity could be wide open for the Huskies to knock off the Wildcats.
5. Oct. 8 at USC
A Thursday night trip to the Coliseum will provide a highly motivated Washington team with a chance to make a big-time statement against former head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Trojans have the superior team but the wild card in this will be the level of focus with USC as Sark’s teams tend to play down to their competition.
4. Oct. 24 at Stanford
Will the after effects of playing Oregon the week before rear its ugly head again down in Palo Alto? Washington has played Stanford tough the last couple of seasons. This would be a huge confidence-boosting win if the Huskies could somehow escape with a win.
3. Nov. 14 at Arizona State
The state of Arizona has been a house of horrors for Washington and this will be a critical game in November to see how far the young quarterbacks and young offensive line have progressed. Look for the Sun Devils to relentlessly attack the Huskies defensively all game long.
2. Oct. 17 vs. Oregon
To call this matchup with the Ducks a true rivalry is not justified as the Huskies have not been close to competitive against the Ducks since 2003. A good step forward for Washington would be to keep the game within 17 points or less as Oregon will dominate the line of scrimmage once again and wear down the Huskies.
1. Sept. 4 at Boise State
Washington will play more talented teams on their schedule in conference play. However, with Chris Petersen’s return to Boise and the inexperience at quarterback this is going to be the toughest game of the season for the Huskies.
— Written by Scott Whittum, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and also writes for College Sports Madness, covering college football, basketball, softball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @scottwhittum