Have Huskies closed Pac-12 gap?

Examining whether Washington is finally ready for its breakthrough season

Updated: October 4, 2013, 8:36 AM ET
By Dean Oliver | ESPN Stats & Info

Steve SarkisianAP Photo/Tom HauckSteve Sarkisian and No. 15 Washington face a big test this weekend against No. 5 Stanford.

It has been 10 years since Washington Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel was fired and 13 years since the Huskies won at least 10 games in a season. But it hasn't even been a year since the Huskies' fans were cautiously optimistic.

In late October of 2012, the "revived Huskies" stunned then-No. 7 Oregon State, just four weeks removed from an upset over No. 8 Stanford. There was talk of "magic" and "pride" and "responding to a challenge" among players and coaches. But at the end of the season, they finished 7-6.

Two years before then, fans of the Huskies were talking revival even more enthusiastically, when the team made its first bowl game since the Neuheisel era. The Huskies had gone from 0-12 to a bowl game in two years, which only 12 of 74 winless teams had done. "All of college football is noticing," UW athletic director Scott Woodward said at the time. In that season, they finished 7-6.

In between 2010 and 2012, the Huskies finished 2011 with a record of 7-6.

For a team with such a consistently average record, there sure has been a lot of excitement.

Now it's 2013 and the No. 15 Huskies are 4-0 heading into a Saturday showdown with No. 5 Stanford. The excitement is ramping up again, but are these Huskies just another 7-6 team or are they really something better?