As an appetizer to the full slate of college football action on Saturday, we get a bunch of games to lead us into tomorrow. Washington is in action, a year after making the college football playoff they are looking to get back. They gave Alabama a fair shot, but in the end the Crimson Tide emerged as the victors by a score of 24-7.
The defense kept them in the game, but the Alabama defense was far too much to handle, even for a Huskies’ offense that made it look easy against other teams. Washington will be down some weapons this year, notably wide receiver John Ross who blew the roof off defenses quite often in his college career. He was a load to handle, and opposing defenses are certainly happy to see that he is in the NFL now.
Jake Browning is in the saddle, but down his favorite target. Browning really is what head coach Chris Petersen had at Boise State in Kellen Moore. We’re going to find out how good Browning is this season, though. I will tell you that he is going to miss Ross, without even watching him take a snap yet. There were countless occasions that I saw Browning deliver short or overthrown balls and Ross went and found the ball.
Browning put up whopping numbers in 2016, 43 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. He also had some difference makers on defense to set them up in prime field position. Some are gone, so it’s another interesting facet of Washington’s season. How well are they going to play without playmakers who helped out in a big way in 2016. Washington will nevertheless enter with a nice pre-season ranking of 7th. After they made the college football playoff, it’d be hard to dip them down any further, so I think it’s a perfect spot for them.
Washington dismantled Rutgers a year ago, and they’ll look for more of the same in the conclusion of the home-and-home series. The Huskies blasted Rutgers for a final score of 48-13 in the season opener in 2016. Washington will make the cross country trip this time. We’ll see if it has any impact on the score this time around. Get our free Washington vs. Rutgers pick by scrolling below.
Washington Huskies vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Washington vs. Rutgers Pick:
Rutgers got in the way of Washington last season, and they made them pay for it. It set up for the rest of the road for Washington, all the way to the playoff. The Huskies were 32nd in yards per game, yet 8th in points per game. In other words, the defense can be thanked in large part for their success. Dante Pettis will step in as the number 1 option in the Washington offense.
Pettis was such a great weapon opposite Ross, but now with no Ross, they need to find a replacement behind the number 1. With a veteran offensive line, and Myles Gaskin at running back, I expect it won’t be long for another receiver to fill the void. There will be room for plays down field. Lavon Coleman provides another strong punch at the running back position.
The defensive secondary for Washington was stacked a year ago, and the main reason why their team was so good overall, in my opinion. They lose three talented players, though. Notably, gone is Budda Baker and Sidney Jones. Both were walls back there in the secondary, and with them gone, it leaves a void where others must play quality football. Thankfully for Washington, Vita Vea will return at defensive tackle. He will prove to lead a strong defensive front for the Huskies, but I still have my qualms about the secondary.
Rutgers won two games in 2017, against Howard and New Mexico. Not exactly the best resume. Rutgers ranked near the back of college football offensively. Gio Rescigno started the final games of the year and showed some ability. He will open as the starter at quarterback for the Scarlet Knights.
They will also get talent back at running back with Robert Martin and most importantly, receiver Janarion Grant, a big-play threat is back and healthy. Grant missed the final eight games of 2016. On defense, all of the back seven of their defense are returning. Rutgers will be better this season, and may be good enough to find a bowl game next season.
Good enough to beat Washington? No, not at all. However, I think they can keep this within four touchdowns. The Huskies are travelling a long distance to play a team they recently wiped the floor with exactly a year ago. Something tells me they come out sleeping a bit and allow Rutgers to hang around and keep it around a 23-20 point game.
PICK: RUTGERS +27.5 (-110)