Husky fans are feeling confident.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll was all about the University of Washington football team’s season opener. The Huskies, ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press preseason poll, take a trip into the heart of SEC country Saturday for their season opener against No. 9 Auburn. It’s being touted as the biggest opener in school history.
Therefore, this week’s poll asked readers to pick a winner in Saturday’s game. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Which team prevails in Saturday’s huge college football opener between No. 6 Washington and No. 9 Auburn? Full context, including a look at big Huskies openers of the past, here: https://t.co/TEHAgO7HIm
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) August 27, 2018
Add the two together and 76 percent of the responders are predicting a Washington victory, against just 24 percent stumping for Auburn.
This is not in line with the national consensus. While this game is technically being played at a neutral site, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is going to sound and feel like a home game for the Tigers. Auburn also remains the favorite in the betting line, though the spread consensus has shrunk from 2.5 points at the beginning of the week to 2 points as of Thursday morning. Still, from a national perspective the slight edge is tilted toward the Tigers. So the three-to-one voting ratio in the poll in favor of the Huskies would seem to include a substantial local bias.
As noted earlier, this is a big game. It’s the first time in eons that Washington has opened the season with a game of this magnitude. Both these teams have College Football Playoff aspirations, so it’s possible this game could make or break either team’s hopes — though the fact the game is out of the gate means there’s time to recover, as history shows that late-season losses tend to be counted against a school more than early-season ones.
Washington is hoping it’s rare level of experience on offense — quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin are both in their fourth year as starters — will be sufficient to overcome the hype and importance of the moment, especially in the season’s first week. But they’re faced with an Auburn defense that’s been consistently formidable in recent years, with the Tigers having a defensive front that’s expected to be among the best in the country.
The game is certainly getting a national platform, as it’s being televised on ABC in one of the stations’s prime Saturday time slots at 12:30 p.m.
Can Washington do what the poll voters predict and emerge from the south with a signature win? If so, then the Huskies will most certainly control their own destiny for earning a second CFP berth in three years.