2019 Washington Huskies Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
Washington was the best team in the Pac-12 last year, winning 10 games and dispatching Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game in what had to be by far the most unwatchable of all title games. Of course, being the best team in the Pac-12 last year is about as impressive as being the best figure skater in Bermuda. Playing top football is just not what that conference is known for right now. The team goes through some big changes this year, but Chris Petersen runs a tight ship, and he has this team positioned to be at least as good as they were last year - in a conference that isn't going to suddenly be the best in the country.
2018 in a Nutshell
The Huskies had a chance to make a huge statement right out of the gate as they opened in Atlanta against Auburn, but they fell short, losing 21-16 in a solid effort. They rebounded to roll off five straight wins, with a 21-7 victory over Utah the most impressive. They lost in OT at Oregon in a game they would surely like to have back, beat Colorado, and then lost at Cal in a really regrettable outing. Three losses destroyed any real national ambitions they had - and they had many - but they still closed out strong, winning their final three conference games, and then beating Utah again to win the conference. The Pac-12 champion goes to the Rose Bowl. And though they fought tough against Ohio State, the Buckeyes came out on top in the end.
Key Additions and Departures
This team has gone through a whole lot of changes. Eight players were drafted, including four in the first two rounds. OT Kaleb McGary was a first-rounder, and two top members of the secondary - corner Byron Murphy and safety Taylor Rapp - were among the second-rounders.
Two guys who weren't among the top picks are maybe the most notable in many ways. It has felt like the two-headed monster of QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin had been at the core of this offense for seemingly a decade. But Gaskin was a second-round pick, and Browning joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent. Both did their school proud, though Browning was never quite at his best in the biggest games. To replace the four-year QB starter, the team has a potential upgrade. Jacob Eason hasn't played for two years after being hurt in 2017 at Georgia and sitting out after transferring last year. He's a massive talent who grew up just down the road from the home of the Huskies, so expectations are sky high - and reports from practice last year was that he was looking very solid against the Washington defense, and he had brought his strong arm with him from Georgia.
After a big overhaul of the coaching staff last year, the only change this year was that co-offensive coordinator Matt Lubick left coaching. Junior Adams joined the team to take over Lubick's wide receiver coaching duties, and Bush Hamdan is the sole OC now.
The recruiting class was solid if not spectacular, ranking 16th nationally, and second in the Pac-12 behind Oregon. Petersen is typically pretty patient with his youngsters, so we shouldn't expect too much from these new guys. Corner Trent McDuffie, the third-ranked recruit behind two DTs who likely both need a redshirt, is the most likely to see early playing time.
Biggest Area of Concern
The defense returns only two starters from last year, and one of them - Myles Bryant - moves from nickel last year to free safety this season. This is a team that is going to be starting almost from scratch on that side of the ball. Petersen develops players very well, so the team will find its way. But with Eason taking over, it would have been nice if the defense could have taken some pressure off of him early on. That just isn't going to happen.
Washington Huskies Schedule Analysis
The schedule is certainly an asset for this team. The nonconference slate of Eastern Washington, Hawaii and BYU is pretty pathetic. They get Oregon, Utah and USC at home, and have very easy road games against Oregon State and Colorado, likely the two worst teams in the conference, before their season-ending rivalry game against Washington State for the Apple Cup. Things couldn't get much easier. The problem, though, is that the weak schedule eliminates every margin for error they have. They could potentially run the table against a group like this and still miss the playoff if enough teams from better conferences put together strong seasons.
2019-20 Washington Huskies Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has the Huskies at +2500 to win it all, which puts them behind just eight other teams - none of which are on the team's schedule. It's quite possible that the Huskies will be favored in every game they play. Surprisingly, Jacob Eason is not among the 19 players listed as Heisman contenders. Bovada has them as the second choice to win the Pac-12 at +215, just behind Oregon at +210. I am honestly surprised by that, and like that price for the Huskies a fair bit.
2019-20 Washington Huskies Predictions and College Football Picks
I feel fairly confident that this is the best team in the Pac-12. And I am fairly confident that the Pac-12 will be a mess again this year. Too many teams are having down periods, and they are not recovering quickly. Winning the conference won't mean much, and I don't think Washington is good enough - especially on defense - to go unbeaten. The Rose Bowl is not a semifinal this year, so we should see the Huskies in that game again.
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