Team preview: Washington

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)


The time has come for Tyrone Willingham. There is no more next year, no more top-20 recruiting classes that offer enough promise that the wins and losses are ignored, or at least accepted for the time being.

The rumors were actually rampant that the former Stanford and Notre Dame coach was out last December after just three seasons in Seattle. However, on Dec. 6, the announcement came down from school president Mark Emmert that indeed Willingham would return as coach.

Even in this age of instant gratification, it's hard to imagine Willingham would have been fired after just three seasons, considering he inherited a program that won just one game in 2004 and was by all accounts the worst team from a BCS conference that season. And he has won nine games the last two seasons and brought in some highly touted recruits. The majority of his first full recruiting class -- those who took a redshirt -- are just sophomores.

Still, fans and boosters being what they are, especially those as rabid as the Huskies' faithful, the message boards and blogs were calling for Willingham's head after a six-game losing streak that included allowing 44, 55 and 48 points in losses to Arizona State, Oregon and Arizona in consecutive weeks. Washington rebounded late with wins at Stanford and against Cal, but a 42-35 home loss to a weak Washington State team was the final straw for many.