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25. Houston Cougars
Coming off a 2008 season where the Huskies went 0-12, the Washington fan base didn’t know what was in store for the 2009 season.
After a hard-fought effort against traveling LSU, the Huskies went on to beat Idaho and shocked the college football world in week three, beating No. 3 USC 16-13.
However, Washington hit a dry spell toward the middle of the season, losing four straight games.
Moving forward, Coach Steve Sarkisian brings back the consensus No. 1 QB in the nation in Jake Locker along with stud-RB Chris Polk. Locker hopes to build on a solid 2009 season, where he threw for 21 touchdowns and posted a career high 321 passing yards against LSU.
The 6’3”, 226 pound QB looks to help Washington make ground in the Pac-10 as he enters his second season under Sarkisian.
In the past, Sarkisian has worked with top-10 draft choices Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez at the University of Southern California. Now, Sarkisian protege’ is Locker.
With the ability to stretch the defense with his arm, and legs, Locker also benefits from having one of the countries finest young prospects.
After a wasted for season, for lack of better words, during his true freshman campaign Polk busted on the seen in 2009. The 4-star recruit from Redlands, Calif., thrived under coach Sarkisian.
Polk rushed for 1,113 yards, while having his best games against Notre Dame, Oregon State and UCLA last season. With Locker, Polk, and top WR Jermaine Kearse all coming back in 2010, Washington should have no trouble offensively.
With four BIG conference games on the road (at USC, Arizona, Oregon, California) it will be an uphill battle for Sarkisian’s club to conclude the season at the No. 1 position in the Pac-10, but Locker is the wildcard.
If Locker continues to progress and play at a high level, Washington may surprise people again in 2010.