While Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies managed to crack the top four in order to reach the 2016 College Football Playoff, many were skeptical of the reigning Pac-12 champions. Much of that skepticism stemmed from the fact that, well, the Huskies didn’t play anyone out of conference a season ago. With that in mind, it appears that Washington is taking a similar tact in 2017, at least according to Chris Low of ESPN.
Low identified the ten teams with the breeziest path through non-conference play and Washington sits atop the list. After a 2016 campaign in which the Huskies faced Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State before embarking on a nine-game Pac-12 slate, the 2017 schedule includes Rutgers (on the road this time!), Montana and Fresno State.
While Fresno State has a solid reputation, the Bulldogs were just 1-11 in 2016 and Rutgers, despite being in the Big Ten, is one of the worst power-five teams in the land. Teams like Colorado (who Washington slid past in the Pac-12 title game), Baylor and Penn State also made the top-10 list, but this is becoming a trend for Washington.
It remain to be seen if the Huskies can replicate the level of performance that saw them claim conference glory a year ago but, even if they do, detractors will point to yet another comically easy non-conference schedule.