Though the game started at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, the Washington Huskies showed that they are not ready for prime time, losing easily to the eighth ranked Oregon Ducks, 34-17 in Seattle.
With a 6-3 record, the Huskies still have their bowl-eligible status. But given that all their losses have been to opponents ranked in the top 15 in the nation, Washington has proved that they are not quite an elite team.
True, losses on the road to the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Stanford Cardinal, along with their defeat at the hands of the Ducks, is nothing to be ashamed of.
To be sure, that trio would be difficult for any school in the nation. But the way that the Dawgs have been manhandled in each of their three losses is a sign that they are still young pups trying to play with the big boys.
In their third season under head coach Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies have grown by leaps and bounds, eligible for the postseason for the second consecutive year.
The team has made great strides in reemerging as a powerhouse in the Pac-12 conference, with hopes of eventually becoming a national contender again.
In the end, however, all that the Huskies have shown is that they can beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The Colorados, Hawaiis and Eastern Washingtons are schools that the Huskies should beat.
To get to that next level, the best of the best, the Dawgs need to be able to beat a ranked team. Saturday showed that they have a long ways to go to do that.
In their three losses, the Huskies have been outscored 150-79. Though last Saturday’s showing against the Ducks was competitive for a while, Washington could not pull themselves together to complete the comeback upset.
In their three losses, the Huskies have committed nine turnovers, demonstrating their novice demeanor when it comes to big games against tough opponents. Mistakes are difficult to overcome in general, but against a ranked opponent it’s a death wish.
Though UW did sniff the outskirts of the top 25 polls three weeks ago, their performances against the Pac-12’s best—Stanford and Oregon—show that the Huskies have a long ways to go to being legitimate contenders for a conference title.
For now, they have three remaining games to determine the quality of a bowl game in which they will play.