Interesting observation by UW senior Matthew Bryan-Amaning after the Huskies won at UCLA to complete a 2-0 sweep in the opening week of Pac-10 play.
“L.A., I think, is probably going to be the hardest road trip for every team,” he said. “So to come down here early in the Pac-10 Conference and be able to get the win is huge for us.”
If MBA is right about the Los Angeles trip being the toughest in the Pac-10 – and from the UW perspective, he probably is right, since the Huskies don’t have to take the Washington-Washington State trip -- then what might the Huskies do over their remaining 16 conference games?
I’m thinking 15-1.
Looking ahead, it’s hard to see where the Huskies won’t be favored. Maybe not at Arizona. And regardless of spread, the game in Pullman looks dangerous. But any other loss this season looks like it would be an upset. And this hasn’t been a UW team that seems susceptible to upsets. Their three losses have come against Kentucky, Michigan State and Texas A&M -- all currently ranked. It's quite possible the Huskies won't face another ranked team this season. And when confronted with weaker teams, these Huskies haven’t coasted, they've mauled.
So, why not run the table for an 18-0 conference record?
History. It’s never been done.
That doesn't mean it can't be done. It's just a reminder of how difficult perfection can be.
A single stumble, however, isn’t all that rare.
Since the league went to 10 teams and an 18-game conference schedule in 1978-79, it has been done seven times: Oregon State in 1981, Arizona in 1988, 1989, 1993, 1998, 2003, and Stanford in 2004.
As a strong team in a weak conference, these Huskies certainly seem to have a chance to join them. These Huskies are veteran. They play defense. They have size. They have the inside and outside scoring options that should allow them to win at any speed – as their grind-it-out win at USC and their up-tempo win at UCLA indicated.
“I think really good teams have the ability to play different ways,” coach Lorenzo Romar said at UCLA. “Last year, by the end of the year, we were able to win two different ways. Right now – opening weekend of conference – we were able to do that on the road against two very good teams.”
And while Romar certainly would roll his eyes at this early a prediction of a 17-1 run through conference, he did give the impression that the L.A. sweep confirmed or created a lot of confidence in this team.
“In this conference, this year, to be able to do this, we should have a chance to be successful from here on out,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’ll win them all. But we should be able to have a chance to be successful.”
Yeah, winning them all seems a tall order. But 17-1 seems do-able.