Fabulous Peltoncast Fight Hunger Bowl Preview

A special edition of The Fabulous Peltoncast previews UW’s matchup with BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl before discussing the legacy of senior quarterback Keith Price entering his final game as a Husky.

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Husky QBs Ranked by Adjusted Yards/Attempt+

Adjusted yards/attempt is a Sports-Reference.com stat that factors touchdowns and interceptions into yards per attempt. AY/A+ adjusts for era by dividing this figure by the conference average among qualifying starters during seasons where the quarterback qualified for the rankings.

Player             Att    C%     Yds   TD  Int  RYds   Y/A  AY/A   AY/A+
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Billy Joe Hobert   427   58.1   3028   27   13   290   7.1   7.0   107.7
Tom Flick          418   60.3   3171   24   20  - 95   7.6   6.6   106.5
Mark Brunell       498   52.0   3423   23   16   678   6.9   6.4   103.2
Keith Price       1161   63.7   8798   74   29    69   7.6   7.7   103.1
Warren Moon        496   48.8   3277   19   17   429   6.6   5.8   102.7
Sonny Sixkiller    811   47.5   5496   35   51  -208   6.8   4.8   102.1
Chris Chandler     597   54.6   4161   32   27   261   7.0   6.0    98.4
Brock Huard        776   54.4   5742   51   27  - 39   7.4   7.1    98.2
Isaiah Stanback    523   51.4   3868   22   12   794   7.4   7.2    98.0
Marques Tuiasosopo 761   54.9   5501   31   28  1374   7.2   6.4    96.2
Cody Pickett      1373   57.7   9916   53   42  -186   7.2   6.6    93.0
Steve Pelluer      755   57.7   4603   30   26   342   6.1   5.3    92.4
Damon Huard        764   59.9   5692   34   28   121   7.5   6.7    92.2
Jake Locker       1147   54.0   7639   53   35  1939   6.7   6.2    89.9
Cary Conklin       747   53.7   4850   31   36    93   6.5   5.2    81.3

Kevin’s Top 5 Modern Husky QBs

1. Marques Tuiasosopo
2. Mark Brunell
3. Warren Moon
4. Keith Price
5. Billy Joe Hobert

Truth and Rumors About Steve Sarkisian

I went for a jog this morning and Steve Sarkisian was the head football coach at the University of Washington. By the time I came back, he had left for USC. And it wasn’t even a long run!

I’m still trying to process exactly what this all means, and I’m not sure I’ve even developed an opinion yet. But I do know that you’re going to hear a lot about Sarkisian’s tenure on Montlake over the next 48 hours, and not all of it is going to be accurate — in either direction. So let’s try to use the numbers to debunk some myths about the surprisingly brief Sarkisian era.

– Sark the Savior took an 0-12 team to a bowl game within two years

This is literally true, of course. Sarkisian inherited a team that had been winless the season before. That’s not an accurate depiction of the state of the program, however. The Huskies had gone 5-7 and 4-9 the previous two seasons against brutal schedules. The 2006 team was likely headed for a bowl game had starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback not suffered a season-ending injury in the season’s eighth game, and the 2007 team lost a series of close games (five of their nine losses came by a touchdown or less).

2008 was an outlier. Washington lost its first three games against ranked opponents (including a loss to BYU when an excessive celebration penalty on Jake Locker moved back the extra point that would have tied the game and forced overtime, which was subsequently blocked) before Locker was lost for the season and the team quit on Tyrone Willingham.

Just two of Sarkisian’s first four teams rated better by Sports-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System than Willingham’s 2007 team, and all were in the same range. The difference wasn’t Sarkisian magic, but instead better luck and easier non-conference schedules that better reflected where the Huskies were as a program. Graphing Washington season by season in the 2000s reflects surprisingly little difference between the high points of the Willingham era and the Sarkisian period:

131202_husky_fb_2000s

– “Seven-win Sark” had leveled off

Unfortunately for the Fire Sark lobby — you know who you are — going beyond wins and losses forces us to acknowledge that this year’s Huskies had turned a corner long before they actually won their eighth game. In fact, SRS rates this as the best Washington team since the 2000-01 Rose Bowl champs. So too do Jeff Sagarin’s ratings (which put the Huskies 10th in the nation) and pretty much anything that includes margin of victory.

Sarkisian timed his best UW team poorly, at a time when the Pac-12 was loaded. Three of the four Husky losses were to teams generally ranked in the top 10 by advanced stats, and UCLA is not far outside it. Losing badly at Arizona State looks a lot different in the context of the Sun Devils’ subsequent run to hosting the Pac-12 championship; the “computers” now put Arizona State as high as second in the nation. Had the schedule been slightly different — say, playing Utah instead of ASU and hosting the Bruins — this could easily have been a 10-2 team that was driving for a tying score at Stanford in the final minute, in which case there would be a lot fewer jokes at the expense of Sarkisian and USC.

– The up-tempo offense is window dressing

The convenient explanation for Washington’s breakthrough season is the faster-paced offense Sarkisian adopted this season, mimicking conference rivals like Oregon and Arizona State. But look again at the graph: the Huskies’ offensive rating is actually slightly worse than 2011 (Keith Price‘s first full season as a starter) and no better than 2007 (Locker’s freshman year). The system undoubtedly helped Price avoid the same beating he took last season, which left him banged-up and doubting his decision-making process, but a more experienced offensive line was also a major factor and this was a return to what Price did two years ago.

The difference for Washington was finally pairing a quality defense with the kind of offense UW boasted multiple times over the past five years. In fact, this year’s defense rates better by SRS than the 2000 defense, the culmination of two years of improvement under new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. That’s why today’s really painful news might be the possibility of Wilcox joining Sarkisian at USC.

Sankey Chasing UW History: Week 11

Saturday’s 69-27 blowout at Oregon State was enormous for Bishop Sankey‘s quest to break the Husky single-season rushing record. With 169 yards on 27 carries during his abbreviated evening — two backups, Deontae Cooper and Dwayne Washington, cracked the century mark in relief — Sankey moved into second place on the UW single-season list behind Corey Dillon:

Player             Year   Yards   YPG
--------------------------------------
Corey Dillon       1996   1695   141.3
BISHOP SANKEY      2013   1575   143.2
Chris Polk         2011   1488   114.5
Bishop Sankey      2012   1439   110.7
Greg Lewis         1990   1407   117.3
Napoleon Kaufman   1994   1390   126.4
Napoleon Kaufman   1993   1299   118.1

But Sankey is now all alone on top through 11 games, the traditional NCAA regular season:

Player             Year   Yards   YPG
--------------------------------------
BISHOP SANKEY      2013   1575   143.2
Corey Dillon       1996   1555   141.4
Napoleon Kaufman   1994   1390   126.4
Napoleon Kaufman   1993   1299   118.1
Greg Lewis         1990   1279   116.3
Chris Polk         2011   1241   112.8
Bishop Sankey      2012   1150   104.5

The chart shows Sankey (in purple) ahead of the pace set by Dillon (the top gray line) and anyone else in UW history.

UW rushing leaders

With a bowl game likely on tap, having rushed for at least 189 yards in every two-game stretch this season, Sankey is a near-lock to break Dillon’s record. The more interesting question is whether he can get there in next Friday’s Apple Cup and match Dillon in an equivalent number of games. He’ll need 120 yards to do so, a mark he’s surpassed eight times in 11 outings this season.

Sankey Chasing Husky History: Week 9

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve looked at Washington running back Bishop Sankey‘s quest to break the Husky single-season rushing record. After piling up 143 yards in Saturday’s lopsided win over Colorado, Sankey is just eight yards back of Napoleon Kaufman (1994) for the most yards by a Washington running back through nine weeks:

Player             Year  Yards   YPG
-------------------------------------
Napoleon Kaufman   1994   1313   145.9
BISHOP SANKEY      2013   1305   145.0
Greg Lewis         1990   1229   136.6
Corey Dillon       1996   1178   130.9
Chris Polk         2011   1096   121.8

Sankey should surpass Kaufman next week; Kaufman sprained an ankle during Week 10 and ran for just 11 yards. (He picked up 77 yards the remainder of the season, since the NCAA regular season was 11 games back then and the Huskies were prohibited from a bowl game.) But the Week 10 record Kaufman is chasing actually belongs to Corey Dillon, who vaulted into first place with 222 yards in the first quarter of a midseason non-conference game against San Jose State. Sankey needs 95 yards to stay ahead of Dillon through Week 10. You can see Dillon’s surge as the top line on the chart, with Sankey (in purple) nearly identical to Kaufman’s 1994 season.

rushing_leaders_5

Sankey’s total yardage currently ranks seventh in UW single-season history, but he’s got a realistic chance to finish Friday night as high as third if he rushes for 134 yards:

Player             Year  Yards    YPG
--------------------------------------
Corey Dillon       1996   1695   141.3
Chris Polk         2011   1488   114.5
Bishop Sankey      2012   1439   110.7
Chris Polk         2010   1415   108.8
Greg Lewis         1990   1407   117.3
Napoleon Kaufman   1994   1390   126.4
BISHOP SANKEY      2013   1305   145.0

He also remains slightly ahead of Dillon’s pace, which if maintained would allow him to set the single-season record without the benefit of the extra game the Huskies will likely play this season with a bowl appearance.

Bishop Sankey Chasing Husky History

Through five games of the 2013 season, Washington running back Bishop Sankey is putting together one of the best performances ever by a rusher for the Huskies. On Saturday, Sankey rushed for 125 yards in a loss at Stanford, becoming the first running back to crack the century mark against the Cardinal this season and pushing his season total to 732 yards. That ranks second to Napoleon Kaufman (1994) for the most yards by a Washington running back through five weeks:

Player             Year  Yards   YPG
-------------------------------------
Napoleon Kaufman   1994   924   184.8
BISHOP SANKEY      2013   732   146.4
Greg Lewis         1990   644   128.8
Chris Polk         2011   611   122.2
Napoleon Kaufman   1993   575   115.0
Joe Steele         1978   568   113.6
Hugh McElhenny     1950   557   111.4
Rashaan Shehee     1997   541   108.2
Ron Rowland        1976   526   105.2
Corey Dillon       1996   503   100.6

The single-season record Sankey is chasing (1,695 yards, or 141.3 per game) actually belongs to the last player on this list — Corey Dillon, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards over the final seven games of his single season in a Husky uniform. Here’s how Sankey’s current pace (purple) compares to Dillon (the top line) and Kaufman (the line highest on the life) and the other top-six single season rushing performances in Washington history.

rushing_leaders_5

As long as Sankey keeps putting up big numbers — and he faces another defense this Saturday, Oregon, that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher — we’ll update his pace on a weekly basis as he chases Husky history.

Fabulous Peltoncast No. 2

In the second edition of the Fabulous Peltoncast, Kevin and Tristan are back to discuss what might have been one of the best sports weekends in Seattle sports history, with wins by the Sounders, Husky football (and the Storm) and the Seahawks on consecutive days. Also, an update on tailgating and the all-important move to fall beers and fantasy football discussion.

LISTEN HERE

3:00 Sounders beat RSL
5:30 Huskies beat Illinois
11:30 Seahawks beat 49ers
25:30 Best Seattle sports weekend ever?
30:30 Tailgating/fall beers
37:30 Fantasy Football

Links

Grantland’s fall TV comedy preview
Seattle Times on Sounders depth
ESPN’s Heisman Watch
Pro-Football-Reference box score
Football Outsiders snap counts
Robert Mays on the Seahawks being the NFL’s coolest team

Bishop Sankey

Here are some of the stats on UW running back Bishop Sankey I discuss during the podcast. Over the last seven games, dating back to last year’s Cal game, Sankey has rushed for 1,142 yards. That figure would rank 10th in Washington history for a single season.

Two Huskies have had better seven-game stretches. Napoleon Kaufman rushed for 1,224 yards over the last two weeks of 1993 and the first five of 1994 and Corey Dillon had 1,192 over the final seven games of 1996, including the Holiday Bowl.

If we take Sankey’s last 13 games (the equivalent of a full season) dating back to the Portland State game in 2012, he’s rushed for 1,726 yards, which would be surpass Dillon’s 1996 campaign (1,695) for the most in Washington history — albeit in 13 games instead of the 12-game season Dillon played.

Lastly, Sankey has totaled 369 yards in the first two games. Besides being the most in the NCAA on a per-game basis, as best I can tell it’s the most ever for a Husky through two games to start the season. Kaufman had 363 yards in the first two games in 1994.