2018 Washington Huskies Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 10-3
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 10.0
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
A stunning upset loss at Arizona State last year, losing 13-7 as an 18-point favorite, kept Washington out of the Pac-12 title game and may have cost the Huskies a shot at a second straight trip to the College Football Playoff. But Chris Petersen has proven himself as one of the best college coaches in the country (129-29 career record), and he has the Huskies on the short list of national title contenders entering the 2017 season.
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Jake Browning is a four-year starter at quarterback and a potential All-American. His numbers regressed last season after a breakout sophomore campaign in 2016 that saw him throw for 3,430 yards and 44 touchdowns. Last year those numbers dipped significantly to 2,719 and 19, respectively. Browning lost his top receiving option, Dante Pettis, but needs to elevate his level of play if Washington is going to make a run at the playoffs.
An outstanding, senior-laden offensive line helps. As does explosive running back Myles Gaskin. But if anything happens to Gaskin then the Huskies offense could stagnate. Washington finished last year ranked No. 17 in the country in scoring. But they were outside the Top 40 in rushing, passing and total yards.
Petersen's teams always make headlines for their gaudy offensive numbers. But this guy is a hell of a defensive coach as well. Washington finished the year No. 5 in points allowed, No. 4 in rushing defense, and No. 8 in total defense. They do lose dominating lineman Vita Vea. But Washington has 10 of its top 14 tacklers back and a spectacular secondary.
Washington benefitted from a plus-13 turnover differential and several special teams touchdowns courtesy of Pettis. They will not have those benefits this year and will need to raise their level of play on both sides of the ball to stay among the nation's elite.
The Huskies play one of the biggest games of the season in their opener when they travel to SEC country to take on Auburn in Atlanta. A win there would buy Washington a little bit of leeway in the College Football Playoff rankings similar to how Georgia's win at Notre Dame helped them brush off a blowout loss to Auburn late in the season.
Washington also hosts rival Stanford this year in the biggest game in the Pac-12 North. They also avoid both USC and Arizona in their crossover games. That means that after the Auburn opener Washington's toughest test could be a trip to Autzen Stadium on Oct. 13 to take on Oregon.
The Auburn game is the only one on the schedule where the Huskies will be an underdog this year. And I absolutely think that they are good enough to knock off the Tigers. Beyond that, I really only see three potentially "losable" games: at Utah, at Oregon and versus Stanford. Even if the Huskies lost to Auburn in the opener they would still have to drop two of these three tough contests to come up short of their season win total. I don't see that happening, so I will play the 'over'.
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