SEATTLE (AP) — The truly scary portion of Washington's schedule has finally arrived — and it might be even tougher than first thought.
The brutal stretch begins on Thursday night when the Huskies host No. 8 Stanford in a national telecast that will serve as Washington's first chance to erase perceptions created by a 41-3 loss at LSU earlier this month.
After the Cardinal, the Huskies travel to No. 2 Oregon and then are home for No. 13 USC. That was thought to be the conclusion to the Huskies' (2-1) difficult stretch. But it won't get any easier with a trip to Arizona — which had moved into Top 25 until a loss against the Ducks — followed by a home game against No. 18 Oregon State.
That's four ranked teams in five weeks for the Huskies to navigate and they'll likely need at least one victory during that stretch to keep their hopes for a third straight bowl appearance alive.
And by getting Stanford first, the Huskies not only get a chance to rid themselves of the shadow of what happened in Baton Rouge, but also to get redemption for a 65-21 loss to the Cardinal a year ago.
"You never want to get embarrassed like that," wide receiver Kasen Williams said. "You still have that bad taste in your mouth from years past. You want to get back at them someway, somehow and we've had to wait a full year to do it."
Facing a trying schedule isn't completely unfamiliar to Washington, but the results haven't really been good in the past. Two years ago, the Huskies faced six ranked opponents in a seven-week span and went 2-5 during the stretch, with upsets of USC and Oregon State. Washington also played five ranked opponents in six weeks in both the 2007 and 2005 seasons, going 1-5 each time.
Washington's received a little extra time to prepare for the Cardinal, thanks to its lone bye week of the regular season. When the Huskies wrapped up their 52-13 win over Portland State on Sept. 15, it was expected that they would be facing another Top 25 foe when Stanford came to town.