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Washington Week: Will it be different this year?

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 4:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans passes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 4, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 4: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans passes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 4, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Two straight losses to UW has left a bitter taste in many USC fans mouths.

One year it was the inept offense led by Aaron Corp. The second year it was a defense that could not stop air. Both losses were frustrating...and they pissed a lot of people off.

This year it's different...

The defensive unit this season is much better.

The offense? Well, we have seen it first hand....there aren't many vertical passing attacks like the one USC currently has. And with the running game starting to really take form, UW's defense has some work to do.

But Steve Sarkisian has done a great job at bringing UW out of some dark days after they Ty Willingham era. He and DC Nick Holt will have the Huskies ready to play.

UW has had a few struggles this season. With losses to Stanford and Oregon UW looks to get back on track this week against USC...

Washington quarterback Keith Price ranks third in the Pac-12 and 14th nationally in passing efficiency. He has passed for 25 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions.

Running back Chris Polk, a former star at Redlands East Valley High, is second in the conference and seventh nationally in rushing, averaging 121.8 yards per game.

And Folk, a former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High standout, has made nine of 11 field-goal tries.

On defense, however, the Huskies have been vulnerable. They rank 93rd among 120 major-college teams in total defense, giving up 424.9 yards per game. Washington is 113th in pass defense, giving up 283.1 yards per game.

That might bode well for Barkley, who passed for a school-record six touchdowns against Colorado. Barkley has passed for 28 touchdowns, with six interceptions.

Price is pretty good. He is different than Jake Locker, but still pretty effective.

Many of us know Chris Polk from his recruitment by USC. Polk has had a very productive season being the #2 rusher in the conference.

USC's defense has its work cut out for them...again. But I also think this USC defense is much better than they were last season and even earlier this season.

Still, there is some familiarity that Sarkisian and Holt think will make their job a little easier...

Nick Holt wasn't trying to be flip or funny.

Based on his experience, Washington's defensive coordinator was just calling it the way he saw it.

"I'd rather play USC than Oregon, quite honestly," Holt told reporters on Saturday night after Oregon defeated the Huskies, 34-17.

With the Huskies coming to the Coliseum on Saturday, Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian said, "we have to get right and get right fast."

Count on Sarkisian and Holt to have the Huskies prepared.

Sarkisian tried to downplay Holt's comments...

``I think you could ask every defensive coordinator in our conference the same question and they'd tell you the same thing. Oregon is hard to prepare for because of how unique they are. That doesn't mean that SC is not really good. I think they are a tremendous football team, and I think Nick would agree with that.''

Uh, Huh...

Of course then Sarkisian got in on the act...

Asked about the USC offense in advance of Saturday's game against the Trojans, Sarkisian said Barkley would be a better NFL quarterback than his significantly more-hyped counterpart at Stanford, Andrew Luck.

"If I'm an NFL head coach right now, I'd pick Matt Barkley ahead of Andrew Luck," Sarkisian said in his weekly press conference.

Told afterward of his comments, Barkley laughed and said Sarkisian was "just pouring on the sugar."

"He's just pouring it on," he said.

As a USC assistant, Sarkisian recruited Barkley out of Santa Ana Mater Dei as a prep. Sarkisian referenced Mater Dei in justifying his comments, noting that very few players start on the varsity as true freshman -- especially at quarterback and especially at schools like Mater Dei.

Now, I love Barks but lets take it easy here.

I think Barkley will be a First Round pick, but he still has holes in his game. Other than a consistent deep ball Luck has a lot of talent talent. Barkley has talent as well but at times his touch is off and still makes the knucklehead throw. I admit to being selfish and self-serving when I say I think that Barkley needs another year, but he needs a little more seasoning.

Anyway, its on as the gamesmanship begins...

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Kiffin Call: Colorado - USC Trojans

Washington Monday: Notes - USC Trojans

USC football: Depth chart vs. Washington (offense) - The Orange County Register

USC football: Depth chart vs. UW (defense) - The Orange County Register

Carlisle, Morgan get their shot - ESPN Los Angeles

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