Though the Washington Huskies will go bowling once again in 2012, the growth of the program under head coach Steve Sarkisian has plateaued a little sooner than fans might like. The Seattle Times' Steve Kelley writes that next season is Sarkisian's "judgment season," one where a so-so bowl game should be met with more than disappointment among UW faithful.
Washington football is progressing, but it isn't progressing nearly as fast as its fans rightfully expect. For the third straight season, the Huskies, 7-5, are bowl eligible, but for the third straight season, the bowl is a second tier, made-for-TV game, probably the Las Vegas Bowl, which feels like the NIT to a fan base that is antsy to dance on New Year's Day, or beyond.
Washington's regular season finale sure didn't help. The 31-28 overtime loss to the struggling Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup didn't help Sarkisian's cause.
And Kelley notes that a victory against Sarkisian's mentor, Pete Carroll, and the USC Trojans in 2009 might have led to the premature belief that the Washington program had already been turned around. Still, it's not good that, in the fourth year under the head coach, Washington showed regression in a number of ways. Play-calling, penalties and the struggles of quarterback Keith Price are all reasons to worry after this season.
Kelley believes UW should "hold Sarkisian's feet to the Pac-12 fire" next year, and he even went as far as saying the UW head coach should be held to the same expectations as Oregon's Chip Kelly and Stanford's David Shaw.