Much has been made of Washington’s difficult schedule, but less about how front-loaded the thing was. Granted, when you have the 107th-ranked defense among major college teams few wins are going to come easy. But here’s a look at how the schedule breaks, and that also will be my main topic in the Tuesday paper.
THE UW SCHEDULE BEHIND
Opponent, current record (Pac-10 record)
No. 22 Boise State 6-1
No. 10 Ohio State 8-0
UCLA 5-2 (4-0)
No. 1 USC 6-1 (3-1)
No. 14 Arizona St. 7-0 (4-0)
No. 7 Oregon 6-1 (3-1)
THE UW SCHEDULE AHEAD
Arizona 2-6 (1-4)
Stanford 3-4 (2-3)
Oregon State 4-3 (2-2)
No. 18 California 5-2 (2-2)
WSU 2-5 (0-4)
No. 16 Hawai 7-0
(Past opponents show rankings on day of game, future opponents show current rankings.)
The first of those supposedly easier opponents shows up at Husky Stadium on Saturday: Arizona, actually the first UW opponent to take a losing record into the game.
Here’s a look at the Wildcats:
(2-6 OVERALL, 1-4 PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE)
Noon Saturday, Channel 11, Husky Stadium
Coach: Mike Stoops (14-28 in his fourth season at Arizona).
Last week: The Wildcats lost to Stanford, 21-20. Arizona had three drives of 80 yards or more, but those were wasted by a failed fourth-and-1 in Stanford territory in the final minutes. A missed 29-yard field goal in the third quarter also came back to haunt them. Freshman TB Nic Grigsby had his second 100-yard rushing game, and freshman receiver Delashaun Dean had a career-high eight catches.
Against the Huskies: Washington leads the series, 16-6-1, including wins in the last two meetings: 21-10 last season, and 38-14 in 2005. The schools hadn’t met in football until the Arizona schools joined the Pac-10 in 1978.
Washington connections: The Arizona roster includes just one player from Washington, sophomore tight end Adam Grant of Puyallup. UA defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo is a cousin of Manu Tuiasosopo, father of former Huskies Zach and Marques Tuiasosopo and uncle to current UW linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo.
Scouting report: Arizona runs a spread, however, unlike Oregon, the Wildcats use it more as a passing offense. The Wildcats have the lowest-rated rushing offense in the Pacific-10 Conference, and this week they will face the league’s lowest-rated run defense. Quarterback Willie Tuitama has been up and down, which evens out to a No. 5 conference ranking in pass efficiency. Grigsby ranks sixth in the conference in rushing. Mike Thomas leads the league with an average of 6.6 catches per game. Stoops arrived on campus with a defensive reputation, however the Wildcats rank fifth in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. In his fourth season, Arizona fans are growing impatient with Stoops’ rebuilding. The Wildcats haven’t been to a bowl game since 1998, and their next loss would eliminate them from bowl eligibility again this season.