SEATTLE – This feeling is all too familiar.
A promising start. A hopeful horizon. A belief this is the year the Huskies re-join the Pac-12 elite.
And then it’s gone. Poof. Scuttled by a three-game midseason losing streak that’s become an unwelcome, constant visitor at the University of Washington for nearly a decade.
Coach Steve Sarkisian is in this place again after the Huskies were routed 53-24 at Arizona State on Saturday, a third straight loss after a promising 4-0 start. The Top 25 ranking: gone. The national recognition: gone. The belief this was the year the Huskies were truly contenders in the Pac-12 North: gone.
“Fortunately, but unfortunately, we’ve been here before,” Sarkisian said Monday. “We’ve always responded … and we’ve always bounced back and we’ll do it again. I don’t have a shadow of a doubt that our guys are going to come out and play a great football game on Saturday night. What I do know to be different is a year from now today, it will be a different press conference. This won’t happen again.”
Almost like clockwork, the Huskies (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) have gone on a midseason tumble. Every year since 2004, Washington has found itself on at least a three-game losing skid. Many of those seasons, the losses were expected as Washington was outclassed.
This was the year the Huskies finally looked like they would shed the problems of the past.
They started 4-0 for the first time since 2001 then nearly pulled off a road upset at Stanford. But the loss to the Cardinal was a taxing setback and started the Huskies back down the losing path. They were outgunned by No. 2 Oregon at home 45-24 then completely fell flat at ASU.
It’s been a brutal stretch for the Huskies. But the final results were not acceptable to Sarkisian.
“This isn’t going to go away. We’re going to play Stanford and Oregon every year. If we have to play them in back-to-back weeks so be it. It’s that next game after those hard-fought, emotional battles, how we deal with it,” Sarkisian said. “Obviously, we haven’t dealt with them well enough yet up to this point.”