1. What are the biggest factors in terms of Washington's improvement between this year and last?
The addition of the up-tempo. I feel that when ran well, the style takes a team up a notch and so far it looks to have taken the Huskies from above average to good.
2. Would you say the offense or the defense looks like the better unit? Who's the best player on the Huskies?
I would give the defense the slightest of edges. Other than a long bomb that barely got off and a sack, they really haven't given up much of anything all year and the offense still needs to find a way to put up more points with how many yards they are gaining. Bishop Sankey is far and away the best player right now.
3. What things still need improvement for Washington to win a Pac-12 title?
The Huskies need to add a big play element on offense that makes them dangerous on every play like Oregon. On defense, they need more size and strength up front, they desperately need another guy like Danny Shelton, because they can get beat up by physical fronts. Special teams might be the biggest factor though, they need to improve their return game especially, as they have struggled with field position all year.
4. Look at the three toughest opponents on your schedule (Oregon, Stanford, UCLA) and rank them from most winnable to least winnable. Justify!
Most winnable = UCLA. While talented and improved, I still think there is a big talent/scheme gap between Oregon/Stanford and UCLA. Middle = Stanford. The Huskies showed that they could handle Stanford's scheme last year, but can they do it on the road and with a much better quarterback in Kevin Hogan? Least winnable = Oregon. The Huskies simply haven't competed closely with the Ducks in over a decade, and until they play a game and they prove that they can, I will have zero confidence that they can.
5. After getting bludgeoned last year by Rich Rod's offense, how do you think Washington will be able to stop Arizona? What are the key matchups to victory?
I think the fact that the Huskies have instilled the up-tempo to match Arizona will be the best way to stop Arizona, because I think the defense will be used to playing against it and the offense will actually be able to move the ball and keep the defense off the field a little bit. Throw in the fact that it will be at home and that Arizona replaced Matt Scott with B.J. Denker and Austin Hill and Dan Buckner with a lot of guys who are unproven. Also, I think it's going to be a lot easier for the Huskies to stop the Wildcats this time around. The key matchups will be whether or not the Huskies can slow the Arizona run game and force Denker to pass to Arizona's limited weapons at receiver, something he has yet to prove that he can do. I think the other matchup will be whether or not Arizona can pressure Price. They were able to last year and it threw him off his game early, but if they can't he will probably pick them apart.