Expectations for 2012: The Washington game

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 05: Quarterback Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Oregon Ducks on November 5, 2011 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Huskies 34-17. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

I think most fans want to forget last year's game against Washington. I don't need to get into what happened because we all remember the specifics - from the humiliating defeat to Jordan Wynn's injury. It was a humbling, and extraordinarily tough game all around.

So, will Utah get a bit of revenge this year up in Seattle? I'm not so sure.

Washington has historically been a tough place to play for most Pac-12 teams and that goes double for the Utes - who sit at 0-6 all-time against the Huskies on the road. Their last two visits there, in 1959 and then again in 1979, resulted in blowout losses - 51-6 and 41-7 respectively. If there is a City of Horrors for Utah, it's Seattle.

As you can tell, I'm not painting a very pretty picture here. The fact Washington is the only Pac-12 team Utah has never won a game against only adds to the concern. Granted, these two teams have only met seven times and there was quite the drought between their last two contests - but 0-7 is 0-7 and it's hard to shake that statistic.

Fortunately, this is a winnable game. The Huskies, even though they've recruited very well as of late, are still the program that hasn't won more than seven games in the last decade and while their talent level has certainly improved, they're still in transition. They've got an entirely new defensive coordinator, will have to replace Chris Polk, who torched Utah for 189 yards last year, and the defense loses some key contributors, including Quinton Richardson and Alameda Ta'amu.

There is hope in Seattle that Justin Wilcox will improve the defense and, all things considered, he should. Last year's defense, which Utah only managed fourteen-points against, was down right abysmal for most of the season. So, any improvement, even marginal, will prove to be a huge step in the right direction for this program.

I'm high on Washington. I think they've got a great foundation and it's only a matter of time before they take off and return to the juggernaut we saw in the 1990s. Of course, I don't think they're there yet. If there is a year to play the Huskies on the road, it's this one. They're not going to be playing their games at Husky Stadium, as it's being renovated, and the team, from my perspective, is still a year or two away from being scary good.

Still, this is going to be a tough game and probably a game Utah enters as the underdog. They can win, definitely, but I'm not convinced they will win.

I think Washington will win seven or eight regular season games, but I'm not so sure they win more than that. If it's seven, Utah might prove to be their fifth loss - if it's eight, well, you do the math.

Either way, I anticipate a good, exciting game ... definitely more entertaining than last year's showdown. Hopefully it ends with a Utah victory too.

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