SEATTLE (AP) — Washington's Pac-12 Conference opener against Stanford was already being considered the lynchpin in the Huskies' brutal early season schedule.
And that was before the Cardinal upset then-No. 2 USC last Saturday and vaulted themselves into the Top 10 of The Associated Press Top 25.
"Stanford looks like Stanford — big physical team, going to run the football, going to defend the run," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday.
The Huskies (2-1) will get a little extra time to prepare to host No. 9 Stanford on Sept. 27. Washington will enjoy its only bye week of the season this weekend before entering a Pac-12 gauntlet of the Cardinal, at No. 3 Oregon, home for No. 13 USC and at No. 22 Arizona to begin the conference season.
Washington is adjusting its scheduling, but not giving its players too much time off. The Huskies will practice normally for most of this week, take one day off, and then enter a typical game-week pattern starting Saturday in preparation for the rare Thursday night national telecast.
The Stanford game is of critical importance considering the stretch the Huskies face afterward.
"It's like we are heading into the second quarter. The first quarter is done, a long TV timeout here, and then we get to head into conference play and get the three teams that have had the best records in our conference the last four years combined," Sarkisian said.
Washington had the perfect remedy after being hammered by No. 3 LSU on the Bayou in a 41-3 loss two weekends ago. Against FCS Portland State on Saturday, the Huskies were able to find some offensive rhythm, scored in all three phases and got a chance to look at their depth with a number of backups getting extensive time in the second half.