Team preview: Washington
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2005 college football season, exclusively on Insider.
It's still not entirely clear why Tyrone Willingham was fired from Notre Dame after three seasons, but Washington fans are glad he was.
This once proud and elite program suffered the indignity last season of going winless in Pac-10 play. If not for a 21-6 home win over San Jose State, the Huskies would have gone 0-for-11 in 2004. How in the name of Don James did this happen so fast? Just four years ago, in 2001, Washington challenged for the national championship under hotshot coach Rick Neuheisel.
How bad was it in Seattle last season? Consider that before 2004, the last losing season for the Huskies came in 1976. And even then James guided Washington to a 5-6 mark. In 115 years of Washington football, last season was the first with double-digit defeats. If nothing else, it can't get any worse.
The Huskies took a monumental step toward restoring the pride back to Washington by hiring Willingham last December.
Willingham brings immediate credibility to a program that suffered a devastating public relations nightmare when Neuheisel was fired for taking part in a college basketball pool. The former coach won a $4.5 million settlement from Washington and the NCAA on March 7, 2005 stemming from his wrongful termination suit.