The last thing anyone around the Washington Huskies football program expected was the need for a new quarterback.
Well, it happened.
Last year's starter Cyler Miles abruptly retired, citing a hip issue that plagued him all of last season. That opens the door for three highly-prized recruits: local product and redshirt junior Jeff Lindquist, redshirt freshman KJ Carta-Samuels, who Washington snagged after James Franklin bailed on Vanderbilt for Penn State, and true freshman Jake Browning.
Browning is who I think will start. Not because he went 44-2 as a high schooler. Not because he's the national leader in career touchdowns and yards passing. It's because he began to separate himself in camp from his competition. Sure, maybe redshirting him would be better longterm. But coaches don't think that way, usually. They want to win football games. And if they think Browning gives them the best chance to win, they'll throw those dice.
Also in the mix, though, is Carta-Samuels. He's a bit behind developmentally because his high schools system was a predominately running Wing-T setup and Browning came from an advanced spread system more closely related to the system Washington employs.
According to Adam Jude of the Seattle Times, Chris Petersen and the coaching staff has decided upon a quarterback for today's debut at Boise State, but nobody but them will know until the starting lineups are announced.
But that's only one part of Washington's first trip to Boise in school history. The other is aforementioned Pedersen, who famously from 2006-2013. If you Google search "Chris Petersen," the first image that comes up has Petersen in blue and orange, and his Wikipedia page is the same.
But, honestly, that stuff is just noise and has almost no bearing on the football game. Washington's new and untested offensive line is going to be a bigger issue than Petersen's homecoming.
The Dawgs have 23 underclassmen in the offensive and defensive two-deeps, and that could move to 24 if Browning starts and isn't the third-stringer as seniority would indicate.
The strength of Washington this year is going to be the secondary. Of all the units from last year's team, the secondary is the most untouched. In a certain sense, it was a good thing that Marcus Peters was dismissed last year because it gave some younger guys an opportunity to get their feet wet.
But Washington is still 12-point underdogs in a game Boise is billing as one of the biggest games in its program history. It will come down to the line of scrimmage, as most games do. If Washington can run the ball and control Boise's run game, they'll win. If they don't, they'll lose. Boise is more experienced than Washington, and had a better record last year.
Petersen's tenure at Washington hasn't quite been the fairy tale he had at Boise. At least not yet. But a win at Boise would put Washington on the right track to claiming its first Pac-12 North title.