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Washington Huskies 2017 Football Schedule and Analysis

A year after reaching the College Football Playoff, Chris Petersen and the Huskies return for more

Washington football reached several significant milestones in 2016. The Huskies' Pac-12 championship marked the program's first such title in 16 years; they rolled to 11 regular-season wins for the first time since the 1991 national championship campaign; and they reached the College Football Playoff.

 

Head coach Chris Petersen raised the bar for Washington football, reestablishing the traditional Pac-12 power as a viable contender on the national landscape. Plenty of players central to that success are now bound for the NFL: stars like Budda Baker, John Ross, Kevin King, Joe Mathis and more.

 

Related: Washington Huskies 2017 Spring Football Preview

 

But back in the mix are Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, Taylor Rapp and a host of other Huskies hungry to build off the success of 2016. Washington's potential road back to the Pac-12 championship and another College Football Playoff is manageable; UW plays a soft non-conference slate, and avoids the only team that beat it in the 2016 regular season, USC.

 

2017 Washington Huskies Schedule

 

Bye: Week 8

 

Wk Opp. Date Location
1. Sept. 1 Piscataway, NJ 

Washington contributed 35 points to the brutal 210-point margin of defeat Rutgers suffered against a quartet of 2016 opponents (Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State accounted for the rest). The Scarlet Knights ranked No. 126 nationally against the run a season ago, so expect Huskies backs Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman to get plenty of chances to get loose in Week 1.

2. Sept. 9 Seattle, WA

Perennial FCS contender Montana brings a wide-open offensive style to the Husky Stadium opener. Griz head coach Bob Stitt's regarded as one of the most innovative minds and a guru of the Air Raid attack. Montana's style will give a workout to a Washington secondary replacing 2016 standouts Kevin King, Sidney Jones and Budda Baker.

3. Sept. 16 Seattle, WA 

A familiar face returns to Husky Stadium when Fresno State visits in Week 3. The Bulldogs' new head coach is Jeff Tedford, the former longtime Cal leader, who accrued a 6-5 record against Washington in 11 seasons. Fresno State's in rebuild mode after three straight losing seasons. Chris Petersen should be able to give his reserves some live-game snaps, in preparation for the impending Pac-12 schedule. 

4. Sept. 23 Boulder, CO

The rematch of last December's Pac-12 Championship Game takes Washington to the Rocky Mountains. Washington overcame a sluggish offensive performance thanks to three interceptions, two of which came from Freshman All-American Taylor Rapp. The Huskies will see a much different looking Colorado defense in the rematch, so expect a much better game out of Jake Browning compared to his last against the Buffs (9-for-24, 118 yards). 

5. Sept. 30 Corvallis, OR

Oregon State made considerable strides in head coach Gary Andersen's second season, winning Pac-12 games over Arizona, Cal and Oregon. The next step for the Beavers is scoring a marquee win against one of the conference's heavyweights. None come heavier than the defending champs, but Oregon State needs to establish its offense much earlier than it did against the Huskies a season ago. Washington raced out to a 31-0 halftime lead.

6. Oct. 7 Seattle, WA

Washington faithful know new Cal head coach Justin Wilcox well. Wilcox introduced schematic changes as the Huskies' defensive coordinator in 2012 and '13, which dramatically transformed what was a struggling unit. Doing the same for Cal, which ranked No. 127 nationally in points allowed a season ago, won't happen overnight. The 66 points Washington put up on the Golden Bears a season ago may tough to match, though.

7. Oct. 14 Tempe, AZ

An overtime win at Arizona last September marked a reversal of fortune for Washington in its visits to the desert. The Huskies had lost 11 straight games at either Arizona or Arizona State since 2002, including in '15 when they coughed up a two-score advantage at Sun Devil Stadium. Washington's best hope for ending its losing skid in Tempe is to attack the nation's worst-ranked passing defense with Jake Browning airing it out early and often.

9. Oct. 28 Seattle, WA

Prodigal son Jim Mora returns to his alma mater as head coach of Pac-12 counterpart UCLA for just the second time in his tenure. Local product Myles Jack shined at running back for the Bruins when they last visited Washington in Chris Petersen's first year, but these are much different teams — both of them.

10. Nov. 4 Seattle, WA

Jake Browning's touchdown run in a Washington rout last season served as the preeminent highlight in the Huskies' most cathartic win. The 70-21 drubbing of its border rival Oregon snapped a 12-year losing streak for Washington. The Huskies now seek to start a new, more favorable kind of streak. First-year Oregon head coach Willie Taggart inherits plenty of talent, including Royce Freeman and Justin Herbert, but the Ducks' defense should have its hands full with Dante Pettis and the Washington passing attack.

11. Nov. 10 Stanford, CA

College football had to collectively take notice last September when Washington trounced Stanford on a Friday night, 44-6. The previous season's Pac-12 champions conceded the crown to a team built in much the same way. Washington never flexed its defensive muscles quite as impressively all season as against the Cardinal — and that's saying something for a squad that allowed just 17.7 points per game.

12. Nov. 18 Seattle, WA

It's back-to-back weekends of truly smash-mouth football for the Huskies. One week after visiting the Farm to face the tremendous Stanford defense, Washington welcomes the always-physical Utah Utes to Montlake. Utah held opponents to 23.9 points per game in 2016, No. 33 in the nation, and return defensive line stars Kylie Fitts and Lowell Lotulelei.

13. Nov. 25 Seattle, WA

After two consecutive weeks of old-school, physical football, the annual Apple Cup contest brings Mike Leach's Air Raid offense to Seattle. Last year's Apple Cup was for the Pac-12 North's bid into the championship game — stakes not seen for this rivalry in two decades. With Luke Falk quarterbacking the Cougars once more, and an underrated defense (No. 50 nationally in points allowed), the 2017 rivalry game could decide the North once more.

 

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 18:00

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