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The Hotline has already addressed the competitive disadvantage Washington faces with its mid-October showdown at Oregon, but that’s not the only logistical challenge facing the conference’s top playoff contender.
Washington’s first and only bye doesn’t come until Week 11, the second Saturday in November, after all its key games have been played.
While not as difficult as the task USC faced last season (12 in a row), it’s nonetheless a big ask of the Huskies.
Care to guess how many other teams in the AP preseason top-25 must wait until Week 11 for their bye?
We’ve got ‘Chris from Seattle’ on line 2.
Go ahead, Chris. What’s your guess?
“Well, I’ve been thinking about how the Pac-12 takes a different approach to scheduling than the other conferences. I’m guessing nobody else waits that long.”
Ding-ding-ding. You’re right, Chris. No other teams in the AP preseason poll must wait until Week 11 for their break.
A few play straight through into late October, but the Huskies have the longest stretch without a break by two weeks.
Oh, and the teams that go deep into October without a bye (Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan, to name three) all play some of their toughest games after the break.
Washington, by contrast, plays its toughest games before the bye, in rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat … (pause for oxygen) … tat-tat-tat-tat-tat fashion.
Nor is UW the only team in the Pac-12 facing that predicament: Arizona plays straight until Week 11, as well.
The conference knows waiting until November for a bye is suboptimal, because it attempted to balance the schedules by clustering bye weeks in early/mid-October (and deserves credit for doing so).
Not every team was that fortunate, however, including the top playoff contender.
Arizona State preview
Oregon State preview
* Pac-12 bowl predictions coming separately.
Coach: Chris Petersen
Win totals (at UW): 8-7-12-10
Contract status: Signed through … eternity (seriously, that’s what it says in his contract)
Job security: Please.
Notable: The Huskies have won 10+ games in back-to-back seasons on four occasions in their history. Never have they done it three years in a row.
Sept. 1: vs. Auburn (in Atlanta)
Comment: Close, relatively low scoring and well played (for a season opener). But the Tigers are too tough up front in the fourth quarter.
Sept. 8: vs. North Dakota
Comment: Combined score of the Huskies’ past three games in Week Two (against Sacramento State, Idaho and Montana): UW 171, mincemeat 21.
Sept. 15: at Utah
Comment: The second gigantic game for UW in the opening three weeks. This one unfolds much like the Auburn affair (taut, punishing, low scoring), except Jake Browning makes the play in the final 15.
Sept. 22: vs. Arizona State
Comment: Give the points. Whatever the line: Give. The. Points.
Sept. 29: vs. Brigham Young
Comment: Helluva game … in 1984.
Oct. 6: at UCLA
Comment: Thought about looking up Chip Kelly’s record against UW while at Oregon, and then I realized 1) the Ducks dominated (duh!), and 2) it’s completely meaningless.
Oct. 13: at Oregon
Comment: If Washington loses, and misses the playoff because of it … well, let’s be kind and just say that would be sooooo Pac-12.
Oct. 20: vs. Colorado
Comment: Not that it really matters, because UW should cruise regardless, but CU will be coming off a roadie in the Coliseum — making this arguably the toughest back-to-back any team will face this season.
Oct. 27: at Cal
Comment: I don’t have a funny feeling about this one, at least not yet. By the time kickoff arrives, I might.
Nov. 3: vs. Stanford
Comment: Division title and playoff positioning could be on the line. At least it’s not on a Friday, so no issues with truck races.
Nov. 10: Bye
Result: The break would have better served the Huskies in late September … or early October … or mid-October … anywhere else, really.
Nov. 17: vs. Oregon State
Comment: I’ll refrain from a sarcastic comment about how UW is ending the season with three consecutive byes.
Nov. 23 (Friday): at Washington State
Comment: My idea for injecting drama into the Apple Cup: Spot the Cougars 24 points, then watch it play out.
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