SEATTLE -- I was prepared to lead off this post -- a look at the teams facing the most challenging October schedules -- with the notion that the Washington Huskies, though headed in the right direction in terms of personnel, were ill-equipped to win any of the three games in its current stretch of No. 8 Stanford, at No. 2 Oregon and No. 13 USC.
(Here's the opening sentence I had crafted, in fact: "The reality is, Washington isn't equipped with the personnel to weather its current three-game stretch of No. 8 Stanford, at No. 2 Oregon and No. 13 USC. Not yet, anyway.")
Weather is the word to seize upon there. It's unlikely, even after a 17-13 upset Thursday night of the Cardinal, that the Huskies are going to be hanging around in the fourth quarter against either Oregon or USC. But the win was certainly something to build upon.
"This is a sleeping giant," one Washington administrator told me, just before thousands of students and fans rushed the field at an NFL stadium (Husky Stadium is in the midst of a $250 million renovation). "Everyone here, they're starving for something. ... Just imagine if we had an offensive line."
And that'll come in time. The Huskies have a freshman starting at right guard and a redshirt freshman starting at left guard. The first-team defense features six freshmen -- including future star Shaq Thompson, who lined up just about everywhere Thursday -- and sophomores. Like the stadium, there's a work-in-progress feel to the program. There's opportunity for this team not just to get better for future years, but to continue to improve during this season as well. Which is important, given the competition the Huskies are going to face.
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