It’s happening. After originally canceling the entire football season due to COVID-19, the Pac-12 has changed its course and is set to play in 2020. They were the final power five conference planning not to play in the fall after the Big Ten announced they would be beginning their season on Oct. 24. 

‘Better late than never’ will be the motto for this year’s season. The first week of games is slated for Nov. 7 and will conclude with the Pac-12 championship game on either Dec. 18 or 19. Each team in the conference will play a total of six games — or seven if they qualify for the championship game. 

The six-game season will be the shortest of the power five conferences. Since the Big Ten began two weeks earlier, they have the ability to play an eight-game season. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott mentioned how important it is that teams have at least five weeks to prepare for the season, making Nov. 7 the earliest teams could play. 

The worry now is that the short schedule may not be enough to convince the college football playoff selection committee that a Pac-12 team is worthy of a spot. It is almost a must that a team finishes 7-0 to even have a shot. Given their schedule, the Huskies have a legitimate chance. 

A new era will begin on Montlake, as former UW defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake takes over the reins of head coach after Chris Petersen surprisingly retired. 

There will also be a wide-open quarterback competition after Jacob Eason declared early for the NFL draft following the 2019 season. The team will have four solid candidates to take over the reins of starting quarterback. 

If I had to predict the week one starter, it would be redshirt sophomore, Jacob Sirmon. Sirmon is a local product out of Bothell High School and saw action in five games during 2019 serving primarily as the backup for Eason. Sirmon is your prototypical pocket passing quarterback who will be smart with the ball and make plays with his arm. 

A sleeper to win the starting job is a graduate transfer, Kevin Thomson. Thomson spent four seasons at Sacramento State where he was named the Big Sky offensive player of the year in 2019. Although he went to Sacramento for college ball, he played at local Auburn Riverside high school but was not recruited by UW. 

Thomson brings an added element to the position with his mobility, where he ran for 619 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. However, he is a graduate transfer and will only have one remaining year of eligibility so Lake may opt for a starter who has more years to give. 

The Huskies have lost two starters on defense who were slated to make a huge impact on the defensive line. Outside linebacker Joe Tryon and defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike both decided it was best for them to opt out of the 2020 season and prepare for the upcoming NFL draft. Both will most likely be top two round picks, leaving two big holes on the Husky defense. 

The biggest strength of this team will be the secondary lead by senior corner Elijah Molden. Molden totaled four interceptions and 49 tackles in 2019 and could have easily followed Tryon and Onwuzurike to declare early for the draft. Luckily for the Huskies, he has confirmed his stay and will play in 2020. 

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered on this team and we won’t have a complete feel of the season’s direction until they begin playing. I like the talent on this team and if the quarterback play is strong, then this will be a very successful season for the Dawgs.

2020 Schedule

Nov. 7 — UW at California

Nov. 14 — Oregon State at UW

Nov. 21 — Arizona at UW

Nov. 27 — UW at Washington State

Dec. 5 — Stanford at UW

Dec. 12 — UW at Oregon

Dec. 18-19 — Pac-12 Championship Game, games TBD

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