The 12 hosts of 710 ESPN Seattle have voted on the top Seattle sports stories of 2017. Each day we will count down to the top story of the year with an article by a different host. Today, Brock Huard of Brock and Salk covers the sixth biggest story, the Washington Huskies earning a Fiesta Bowl bid after salvaging their season with a decisive Apple Cup victory.
The Seattle Mariners’ pitching staff. The Seahawks’ Pro Bowl defenders. The Washington Huskies’ cornerbacks, tight ends, slot receiver and left tackle.
What do they all have in common? That nasty little injury bug that at a minimum infuriates and at a maximum devastates seasons. The latter was the case for the Mariners, the Seahawks’ season is still in limbo, but with a strong Apple Cup beatdown of the then-13th ranked Cougs, the Husky football team staved off devastation and settled for motivation.
In full transparency, one Washington’s left tackle and one of its cornerbacks were in place when the Huskies’ season fell short of expectations in the debacle in the desert vs. Arizona State. But through the 10 ups and two downs, Chris Petersen was able to salvage a season and get the Huskies to a New Year’s Six bowl on the heels of their playoff run in 2016.
The final grade of UW’s season will be passed out after a terrific Fiesta Bowl matchup against a Penn State team that rose and fell in very similar fashion to the Huskies in 2017. A 10-2 Nittany Lions team has plenty of future pros, including a once-in-a-generation running back, and it is the perfect final exam for Petersen, Jake Browning and a host of young Huskies that should be hungry and healthy in 2018 to compete for another Pac-12 title.
Avoiding devastation and fighting through adversity, Washington is poised to make one last impression on Dec. 30. That is exactly what this Husky season was all about.
A closer look at the Huskies’ run to a Fiesta Bowl bid