The Washington Huskies football team lost a dramatic and disappointing Apple Cup against the Washington State Cougars, but still managed to finish with a winning record of 7-5 in 2012.
It isn’t hard to argue that the Huskies snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and basically gift-wrapped the game for their rivals.
Such is the nature of football. That is why the games are played.
You could say that the Huskies have put together a fairly quiet 7-5 record with all the attention being paid to Oregon, Notre Dame and the SEC.
Given recent history, I will take 7-5.
If you look at the record during the Steve Sarkisian era, there has certainly been some progress:
The progress is not necessarily dynamic and Washington has yet to rejoin the ranks of the “elite” teams in college football. However, fans of the team still remember 2008.
Was 2012 a successful year for the Huskies?
Sorry to bring that back up, but it is a reminder that things could be far worse.
Prior to the 0-12 season, Washington was a combined 12-35 from 2004 to 2007.
For those of you that are good at math, that is a 12-47 record when you add on the horrible 2008 season.
When your team goes 0-12, you will take four years of positive momentum even if the Huskies have not gone straight back to being a top-ten team.
Based on their record, the Huskies should go to a bowl game in 2012, which means that they will have gone to a bowl in three straight seasons. That includes the dramatic Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska in 2010, and the shootout loss to Robert Griffin III and Baylor in 2011.
When you look at the 2012 season, there were certainly some successes. It would have been nice to have a better showing against LSU, and the three-game losing streak against Oregon, USC and Arizona was a rough stretch of the season.
However, the wins against Stanford and Oregon State were certainly big victories and it was nice to finish the season with four wins in five games.
Is Steve Sarkisian rebuilding a “winning” program? That is tough to gauge, simply because college football can change drastically from year to year. History reminds us that Washington has certainly built dominant programs in the past.
Washington has some key pieces that could return next season. Keith Price was not as successful in 2012, but he had another solid season and he should return for his senior year. In addition, impact players like Bishop Sankey, Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are all sophomores this year.
In other words, Steve Sarkisian will have some tools in 2013.
Admittedly, there are a lot of bowl games, so it isn’t an amazing accomplishment to receive a bowl invitation.
However, the Huskies are winning again and over the last four seasons the Dawgs have certainly improved.
It wasn’t necessarily an incredible year, but I would call 7-5 a successful season.