The Huskies may not have the nation's toughest schedule -- Bruce Feldman says it's the second toughest -- but they definitely have the toughest first-half schedule. In its first six games, Washington will play at No. 1 LSU, at No. 5 Oregon, while hosting No. 3 USC and No. 18 Stanford. As if that's not bad enough, four of Washington's final six games are on the road.
Must-see matchup: at LSU
Unless LSU loses to North Texas in Week 1 – they won't – then that means Washington will be taking on the No. 1 Tigers in Baton Rouge in week 2. This game will be huge for the Huskies, as a win, or even a close loss, will put them on the national radar.
Upset alert: at Washington State
New Cougar coach Mike Leach is always looking to make a statement and nothing would make a bigger statement in Leach's first season than knocking off the Huskies in the Apple Cup.
It's a breeze (easiest stretch): Sept. 15 through Sept. 22 – Portland State, Bye
If you look at Washington's schedule closely, you'll notice they really don't have an easy stretch. You could make a case that the two-game stretch of Arizona and Oregon State in mid-October is an easy one, but Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn't believe you. The Beavers beat Washington 38-21 last year, while the Wildcats beat the Huskies 44-14 in 2010.
Brutal stretch: Sept. 27 through Oct. 13 – Stanford, at Oregon, USC
As far as Pac-12 schedules go, it really doesn't get any more brutal than this three-week stretch for the Huskies. Washington begins conference play with No. 18 Stanford, then has to follow that up with a game at coaches preseason No. 5 Oregon, followed by a game against No. 3 USC. An 0-3 start in Pac-12 play is not out of the question for Washington. However, if the Huskies can manage to go 2-1 in this stretch, a Pac-12 North division title becomes a realistic goal.
Sept. 1: San Diego State
Sept. 8: at LSU
Sept. 15: Portland State
Sept. 27: Stanford
Oct. 6: at Oregon
Oct. 13: USC
Oct. 20: at Arizona
Oct. 27: Oregon State
Nov. 2: at Cal
Nov. 10: Utah
Nov. 17: at Colorado
Nov. 23: at Washington State