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October 7, 2013

Statement loss for Washington Huskies and AP poll gridlock

NORMAN —

This will provide little relief to coach Steve Sarkisian and Washington, which lost a heartbreaker to Stanford on Saturday night, but no team left a better impression this weekend than the Huskies.

Washington lost 31-28 on the road and dropped only one spot to No. 16 in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday.

The Huskies outgained the Cardinal offensively by 205 yards, and looked every bit the equal of the No. 5 team in the country. A video review of a fourth-down pass by Washington, reversed to incomplete after being ruled a catch, essentially ended the Huskies’ upset bid. It was a close call.

That result, along with Ohio State’s come-from-behind 40-30 victory at Northwestern, helped the top five teams in the Top 25 hold their places for a fourth straight week.

Alabama is No. 1, followed by Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford. The Tide received 55 first-place votes and Oregon got the rest.

What Washington got was to show anybody who decided to stay up late that this is not a team destined for a fourth straight 7-6 season under Sarkisian.

The rebuilding, and there was plenty to do when Sarkisian took over in 2009, finally has produced a team that looks capable of being a legitimate threat to Stanford and Oregon in the Pac-12 North.

Of course, Washington (4-1, 1-1) beat Stanford last season in Seattle. Why is this different? Last year’s Huskies had already gotten crushed at LSU when they upset the Cardinal. In that game, the Huskies got manhandled up front by Stanford’s defensive line, quarterback Keith Price took a beating and played tentatively. Stanford, however, was just dysfunctional enough offensively to allow UW to sneak away with a 17-13 win. It felt more like Stanford lost than the Huskies had won.

The next week Washington was hammered 52-21 at Oregon.

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