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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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June 21, 2007 12:36 PM

Yet another ranking of UW's schedule as toughest

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are becoming a consensus No. 1 in at least one poll this year --- having the toughest schedule in the country.

There have been a number of rankings of schedules already, most putting UW at the top in terms of difficulty, and here is the latest, from SI.com.

Also included is a ranking of each Pac-10 team's schedule.

Phil Steele also earlier judged UW's schedule as the toughest in the country and Lindy's rated it as the most difficult in the Pac-10 (a ranking I had some input on in my duties as a contributor to that magazine).

I wouldn't argue any assessment of the harshness of UW's schedule. To me, it remains the big stumbling block in thinking that this could be a bowl team this season. The Huskies look to be better in a lot of areas, but better enough to win seven games against that schedule?

I agree with the post by Benihana that having the more winnable games on the road doesn't bode as well for the Huskies as it would be in the reverse. Sure, Syracuse doesn't look to be any good, and neither does Stanford.

But being the visitor in a home opener for any team doesn't figure to be easy, and even more so when traveling across the country and giving a new quarterback the first start of his career. And who knows how much better Stanford might feel about itself when Nov. 3 comes around? Obviously, not as if UW had its way with Stanford last season.

I would imagine that UW will be the underdog in all of its home games except for maybe Arizona and Washington State, but nothing is a given. (Oregon could be close, as well, depending on how the seasons for the two teams have progressed to that point).

I don't know if the Huskies will be favored to win any road game next year, though Syracuse and Stanford are possibilities.

Still, bad as Syracuse has been of late, its 5-18 record the past two years isn't much worse than UW's 7-16, and the Orange has remained tough at home. It was 3-3 at home last year with the losses coming in double overtime to Iowa, by 10 points against Pitt and by 28-13 against Louisville, giving Syracuse a 5-1 mark against the spread at home last season.

UW, meanwhile, hasn't been favored to win a road game since the 2003 Arizona game.

None of this is trying to sound negative, just realistic about a schedule that doesn't do UW's rebuilding efforts any favors.

And the schedules aren't necessarily getting a whole lot easier in future years.

Here are the skeds for 2008-2010 from GoHuskies.com.

As you can see, the non-conference opponents remain rugged in 2008 --- BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame --- but at least all of them are at home, giving the Huskies seven home games that season. The downside, obviously, is five Pac-10 road games.

The 2009 slate softens a little with Idaho snuck back on there as well as another game still to be determined.

The 2010 schedule sees games at BYU and home contests with Syracuse and Nebraska.

I think UW goes back to Nebraska in 2011. Hawaii is also expected to come here at some point in the future to return this year's Husky trip there.

The upshot is that the Huskies aren't going to get back on the winning side of things by doing it the Kansas State way of loading up with easy non-conference wins. UW is going to have to earn its return to respectability.

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