UW Football Pac-12 schedule begins with three weeks in hell

You will take your schedule and you will like it, damn it.

 

Thanks, Larry Scott.

Our ol’ buddy, the Commish, that orchestrated the moolas of cash that each of the twelve member institutions in the conference will enjoy via television money, released the Pac-12 football schedule today. And it’s not very favorable for Washington, depending on how you look at it.

Doozies in this schedule include a Thursday night conference opener at the Clink against a Stanford team that has absolutely tormented us during the Sark era. (Washington is 3-0 in Pac openers under Sark, however)

A Friday night contest against Cal later in the season and, of course, the Black Friday Pullman Apple Cup that none of us like – Cougs and Huskies alike.

The Thursday night opener against Stanford marks just the first week of hell for the Huskies, as they head to Autzen the very next week, only to come home after that with Matt Barkley and the Trojans waiting for them at Clink.

Those three teams thrased Washington last year by a combined score of 139-55 in a four game 1-3 stretch that derailed the high dreams Husky fans had for this season.

This, of course, is after the Huskies have a September 8th date in Baton Rouge against potentially the defending National Champions.

To put this into perspective, four of the first six games for Washington will be against teams that finished the season in the Associated Press top ten. Three made BCS Bowls. Had USC not been sanctioned, they likely would have taken Washington’s spot in the Alamo bowl, only because a conference can’t have three teams in the BCS.

The Huskies don’t exactly have a scrub to open up with in San Diego State either. Thank God for Portland State, right? (Thank God Todd Turner isn’t here scheduling three BCS conference teams, Notre Dame and BYU every year)

This is a tough break for Steve Sarkisian, whose team will be breaking in a new defense, and will still be uncomfortably young on the defensive front seven.

This could also be an amazing opportunity for a program looking for a definitive turning point towards its next step.

The Stanford Cardinal could be in a stage of transition losing not only Andrew Luck but it’s two best offensive linemen to the NFL draft. Washington will likely head in to that game at a 2-1 clip, having beaten Portland State.

A home win against Stanford to begin the Conference schedule, and go to Autzen at 3-1 is an absolute program statement. Not only because it’s a win over a team that Washington hasn’t beaten since 2007, but a team that Washington will have to eclipse in the Pac-12 North in order to achieve the heights in the program that Sarkisian has set out for us.

In fact, a win in ANY of their first three games will be that statement. These three teams are clearly the class of the Conference right now, and if the Conference nabs two BCS bids again, it’s probably going to be any two of these three.

If Washington drops these three in a row, they would have to win out their final six games in order for Sark to have his best season to date at Washington. It’s possible, only two of Washington’s final six opponents went to a bowl this season, Utah and Cal. Teams UW beat.

But wouldn’t 8-4 still feel empty if the program still lacks competitiveness against top notch teams?

In 2012 we’ll learn a lot about the Washington Huskies program, we’ll learn a lot about where they are going to stand in this conference and we’ll learn that early on.

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Here is the full schedule

Sept. 1 — San Diego State
Sept. 8 — at LSU
Sept. 15 — Portland State
Sept. 22 — Bye.
Sept. 27 — Stanford
Oct. 6 — at Oregon
Oct. 13 — USC
Oct. 20 — at Arizona
Oct. 27 — Oregon State
Nov. 2 — at Cal
Nov. 10 — Utah
Nov. 17 — at Colorado
Nov. 23 — at Washington State