‘Scariest team’ in country: What insiders say about No. 7 UW

Sep 28, 2023, 1:31 PM

UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr....

QB Michael Penix Jr. of the UW Huskies takes the field before a game against Cal on Sept. 23, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The hype around the No. 7 UW Huskies football team is picking up considerable momentum.

Huard: Why No. 7 UW Huskies, No. 16 WSU Cougars are for real

With the Dawgs sitting pretty at 4-0 this season, they’ve become the top-ranked Pac-12 squad in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Washington offense in particular has shined, with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and his bevy of weapons in the passing game leading the way to four straight wins with 41 points or more put on the board.

Don’t sleep on the defense, either, which has allowed more than 19 points just once, and that one time came after Cal scored a pair of touchdowns after in the fourth quarter, well after UW had pulled comfortably ahead in last Saturday’s 59-32 victory.

The question that is now being asked is whether any team left on Washington’s conference schedule can slow down the Huskies’ offense.

Let’s take a look at what some college football insiders have been saying on the Seattle Sports airwaves and elsewhere this week about head coach Kalen DeBoer’s undefeated Dawgs.

Michael Bumpus (Pac-12 Network, Seattle Sports’ Bump & Stacy)

You know the Huskies are in good shape when a WSU Cougars legend admits on the air how impressive they are.

Bumpus, who starred as a wide receiver on the Palouse from 2004-07, joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Thursday (listen here) and was put on the spot when Mike Salk asked if Washington or the No. 16 Cougs have the better offense.

“I don’t know how you measure that, but if you’re gonna take two offenses just personnel-wise, I think UW has the better personnel,” Bumpus said. “But I think (WSU is) doing more with less.”

WSU QB Cameron Ward proving he’s one of the best in the country

Brock Huard, himself a UW Huskies football legend, then took his turning grilling Bumpus.

“Have you ever seen a collegiate quarterback make the kind of throws that Penix makes over and over every single week?” Huard asked.

Responded Bumpus: “I don’t like you forcing me to show too much love to UW, but it’s real. I mean, the windows that he throws through, the way he goes through his progressions – he’s making this game look easier than it really is. It’s ridiculous.”

Brock Huard (FOX college football analyst, Seattle Sports’ Brock & Salk)

Now it’s Brock’s turn, and it’s obviously a bit easier for him to rave about the Huskies.

“Do you know what Kalen DeBoer’s record is?” Huard said to Salk on Thursday. “I was just kicking some numbers around, looking at what his (overall) head coaching record was – 94-11 as a head coach. If I were to have told you after the Jimmy Lake debacle (at UW) – after him pushing players, after a four-win season – that since Jimmy Lake got removed, a coach is going to come in here and go 15-2 and have the most underappreciated, undervalued team in America, sitting at No. 7 just 17 games late, would you ever believe that’s possible?”

Colin Cowherd (host of FS1’s The Herd) and Joel Klatt (FOX college football analyst)

If you’re wondering about the “undervalued” comment that Huard made, it was in reference to a discussion on Cowherd’s FS1 show earlier this week with Klatt.

“I don’t think (No. 8) USC can stop Washington. I think this offense is a pro offense,” Cowherd said. “Two NFL receivers, a first-round quarterback, two pro tackles, an edge rusher that’s a first- or second-rounder. This is the most undervalued team in the country. This coach and this quarterback. People – it looks like the Miami Dolphins – are wide open.”

During that Cowherd quote, Klatt said both “I agree with that” after the line about USC, and “no question” when Cowherd said the Huskies are undervalued.

What did Klatt have to say himself about the Dawgs?

“Washington is the scariest team in the country. Because here’s the thing: Who can actually accurately state, with confidence today, ‘Our offense can score with Washington?’ Maybe USC?”

Responded Cowherd: “And USC doesn’t have Washington’s receivers.”

Klatt: “No, they don’t. And I don’t know if they have (the) O-line.”

Adam Rittenberg (ESPN senior college football writer)

Bump and Stacy caught up with Rittenberg as part of this week’s Washington Wednesday segment (listen here), and the topic turned to whether any team on UW’s remaining schedule can stop them.

Here’s Rittenberg’s take:

“I think it would be a team that can handle their passing game, and I don’t know if there is one out there. That type of defense, I think Washington may not see until maybe (No. 9) Oregon (on Oct. 14) but probably (No. 10) Utah (on Nov. 11). That’s the team that, OK, can they win games with a 12-play drive? Can they win games by running the ball? Can they rely a little bit more on defense to win a signature victory? That’s probably the type of opponent that you really want to measure them up against, because if you can’t stop them – and I don’t think Arizona can (on Saturday), for example – it’s just not going to show you if they’re able to truly get into the College Football Playoff and make some noise.”

More on the UW Huskies

AP Top 25: UW now Pac-12’s top-ranked team; WSU rises again
Caple’s Takeaways: Three things to know from blowout of Cal
From Petersen to portal: How UW Huskies built elite offensive roster

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