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Washington Still the Class of the Pac-12

The road to the Pac-12 Title still goes through the Huskies

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Huskies won the Pac-12 Championship Game in 2016. The path to the 2017 Pac-12 Championship Game still goes through Seattle. Washington to me, is still the class of the Pac-12. They have what it takes to win the conference title again.

With apologies to USC, who receives all the love nationally from the media, the team that continues to impress is Washington.

I’ve seen them in person twice this season and numerous times on the television. The size, speed, and strength of the Huskies impresses me every time I see them play. Despite the slip up in Tempe a few weeks ago, the Dawgs have run over just about every opponent they have encountered.

The exception to this would be that late night at Sun Devil Stadium.

I think the loss in Tempe focused the team for the stretch run to the Pac-12 Championship game. The Husky players saw that they could not just show up and win, the focus and drive had to be there. The Devils may have poked the dog (pun intended) in a way that the rest of the conference did not want to see.

If the Sun Devils and Huskies played each other again, the Huskies would win that game by a few scores. I believe that game was the exception, not the rule with the Huskies.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s 38-3 drubbing of the Oregon Ducks continued to show the dominance of this Husky team. Each one of the Dawgs wins has been by at least 16 points. The offensive show has been on full display all season. When you have Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, Dante Pettis, and a defense that can play lights out you have the recipe for success.

What do people want out of a quarterback?

Consistency right?

Jake Browning completes nearly 68% of his passes, has thrown for 1,907 yards, has 16 touchdown passes, and has a QB Rating of 154. The other aspect of Browning that makes him valuable is that he can extend plays with his legs. He’s mobile. When protection breaks down he can turn a lemon into lemonade. Most people would be very happy with those type of stats. I think most Husky fans are, but Browning doesn’t get the love a Sam Darnold gets. Browning has won a Pac-12 Conference Title, got to the College Football Playoff, and been on just about every quarterback watch list or award list they have.

Browning knows how to win, he’s done it, and is continuing to do it.

Dante Pettis.

What can you say about this guy?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Pettis keeps defensive coordinators up late at night. The hands this guy possesses are arguably some of the best in the country. He catches just about every thing that is thrown his way.

Being the son of a former major league baseball player and current coach for the Houston Astros probably has something to do with it. His dad knows a thing or two about catching a ball and has obviously passed that skill onto his son.

Dante is the guy that is double teamed all game. Coaches bring the safety over the top or some other type of defensive scheme, so Pettis doesn’t get loose on a deep ball. Not sure how well that has worked. Pettis has over 500 yards receiving, 7 touchdowns, and averages almost 12 yards a catch. He can take the lid off the defense.

Myles Gaskin, to me, is one of the least talked about running backs in the country. Gaskin just goes about his business with little fanfare from outside of the greater Seattle area.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Gaskin can take the ball the length of the field at any moment. He’s not the biggest guy either, so when that massive Husky offensive line stands up he gets lost by the defense. Myles can beat you around the corner or going north and south on the field.

At this point, Gaskin has 918 yards, averages six yards a carry, has 10 touchdowns, and has that ability to make fans stand up every time he touches the ball. There are few running backs in this country that’ll make you do that. Gaskin is one of them though.

Defense wins games right? Right.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Dawgs have that defense that makes life easier for the offense. Head coach Chris Petersen knows that when his team needs a stop, his defense will provide a stop. The Husky defense is a hard hitting defense and has speed all over the field. The close out speed with Husky linebackers and defensive backs is really something to marvel at.

Washington defensive players have the ability to read a play so quickly that the offense looks inept against them. The three and out stat with the Huskies has to be extremely high in my opinion.

Defenses are taught to “come with bad intentions” when they are on the field. Washington comes with that bad attitude in spades. When you are an opposing running back or receiver you know you will be spending a little extra time in the hot tub after spending a game getting hit by the Husky defense.

With the next three games against Stanford, Utah, and Washington State coming up the Huskies are in the most difficult part of their schedule. Two out of the three games are at home, so that’ll help their cause.

In the end, I trust the Huskies and their ability to win big games in the Pac-12. They’ve done it before and by all accounts will continue to do it all the way to the Pac-12 Championship Game.