2023 Season Preview – Washington Huskies

2022 Record – 11-2; 7-2 Pac-12

Bowl: VS. Texas in Alamo Bowl (W 27-20)

2023 Schedule

  • 9/2 – VS Boise State
  • 9/9 – VS Tulsa
  • 9/16 – at Michigan State
  • 9/23 – VS California
  • 9/30 – at Arizona
  • 10/14 – VS Oregon
  • 10/21 – VS Arizona State
  • 10/28 – at Stanford
  • 11/4 – at USC
  • 11/11 – VS Utah
  • 11/18 – at Oregon State
  • 11/24 – VS Washington State

2022 Recap

Washington started off the 2022 season with a perfect record in non-conference play. The competition was not the best though, with the strongest win against a Michigan State team that finished the season below .500. The Huskies then started conference play with a victory against Stanford to start at 4-0.

The next two games were both loses for the Huskies. It started off with a loss at UCLA, followed by one on the road at Arizona State.

These were the only two hiccups on the entire scheduled though. Washington would finish the regular season with six straight wins. It did have likely one of the easiest conference schedules in the Pac12 though as they did not have to play either of the teams that made it to the conference in championship game in USC and Utah. They did have two nice wins against Oregon State and Oregon though and a decisive win against their rivals Washington State in the Apple Cup.

Those two losses early in conference play were enough to keep the Huskies out of the conference championship game, however. They ended up in the Alamo Bowl to end the season with a 27-20 win over Texas. The Huskies finished the season at 11-2, 7-2 in Pac12 play.

2023 Preview

After humming along as the second best offense in the nation, averaging nearly 516 yards per game, a large number of players return for the Huskies in 2023. This starts with quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. He threw for over 4600 yards, second most in the country.

To help Penix out, the top two receiver are back as well in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan. This is a powerful one-two punch that will give Washington plenty of firepower to throw at. In the backfield, the key running back this year will be Mississippi State transfer Dillon Johnson.

The biggest replacement on offense will be the offensive line. If they can fill in those holes, and if Johnson can mesh in with the rest of the offense, look for this team to keep scoring in 2023.

On the defensive side, Bralen Trice returns after having 9 sacks in 2022. This will lead a strong defensive line and linebacker core that is returning. The biggest question mark will be in secondary, after finishing 100th in passing yards allowed. Turn to the transfer portal and Oklahoma State transfer Jabbar Muhammad at cornerback. If Washington can make some strides in their passing defense they will be a very hard team to beat in 2023.

2023 Projection

The Huskies start off the season at home against Boise State which is always a tough ask. Should they get past that game, they then have to travel to Michigan State in Week 3 in what could be a Big 10 conference preview game in the future. With that said, Washington should be strong enough to get through both of these challenges and end the non-conference slate at 3-0.

On top of that, Washington should be able to get through the first part of their conference slate with their only major challenge being at home against Oregon. The Ducks will probably be a little too much for the Huskies, but this should still get them to 7-1 to start the year.

The schedule is severely backloaded in November, though. It starts off on the road at USC. This is followed by a home game at Utah and then on the road at Oregon State. After going through that gauntlet, they still have to play the Apple Cup against Washington State. The Huskies are definitely the better team, but you never know what can happen in rivalry games.

At the end of the day, I don’t see a way Washington makes it through that tough November schedule unscathed. With three conference losses, they will miss out on the Pac12 championship game. They will finish the season at 9-3, but still make it to a pretty strong bowl game.

Prediction – 9-3

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