This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Chris Petersen never created this much of a preseason stir as Boise State's football coach, even while winning 92 games in eight years.

The Washington Huskies have had the best offseason in Pac-12 history, judging by polls and predictions. A team that played in the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl is expected to do bigger things in 2016 after going 15-12 in Petersen's first two seasons in Seattle.

During the Pac-12 Media Days in July, Petersen said, "I'm really scared that you guys are dead wrong again, because you usually are."

Sports Illustrated was not deterred, ranking Washington No. 7 in this month's college football preview. AP Top 25 voters were more subdued, making the Huskies No. 14 in the preseason poll — second in the Pac-12 behind No. 8 Stanford.

The Huskies' have the talent to back up the favorable forecasts. If the line comes together, Washington should have a dynamic offense led by two sophomores, quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin. The Pac-12's top-ranked defense returns two stars, safety Budda Baker and linebacker Azeem Victor.

"Heck, I hope we can play like we played last year, before we talk abut being better," Petersen said.

Defeats such as a 34-23 loss to Utah, mainly resulting from five turnovers, show the Huskies need to play more solidly to move up in the Pac-12 North standings. Washington plays one of the easiest nonconference schedules among Pac-12 members, but season-opening opponent Rutgers is a Power 5 school.

By the end of September, things will get more interesting. Stanford vs. Oregon has become the most anticipated game in the North, if not the entire conference. But this year, consecutive matchups of Washington vs. Stanford (on a Friday night) and Washington at Oregon (as the Huskies try to break a 12-game losing streak) are circled.

Then there's the Oct. 29 visit to Rice-Eccles Stadium, where Utah quarterback Troy Williams will face his former teammates. The Huskies hoped Williams would become the Ute starter — because they like him.

"That's the day that everybody's looking forward to," cornerback Kevin King said last month. "We're all rooting for Troy to get the job, because we all want to play against him. That's one of our guys, so we want him to do well."

Twitter: @tribkurt —


Coach • Chris Petersen (third season, 15-12)

2015 record • 7-6 (4-5 Pac-12)

2016 media poll • Second in North


Sept. 3 • Rutgers

Sept. 10 • Idaho

Sept. 17 • Portland State

Sept. 24 • at Arizona

Sept. 30 • Stanford

Oct. 8 • at Oregon

Oct. 22 • Oregon State

Oct. 29 • at Utah

Nov. 5 • at California

Nov. 12 • USC

Nov. 19 • Arizona State

Nov. 25 • at Washington State