No. 9 Washington

Filed under: U (Dub) can't make this up.

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Earlier this month, Washington Coach Chris Petersen granted an unconditional release to five-star linebacker Ale Kaho, so that he could immediately sign a scholarship offer with…Alabama.

Kaho does not have to sit out a year and is immediately eligible to torment opposing quarterbacks and frustrated Pac 12 fans.

The way Nick Saban explained it to AL.com, Kaho was “unable to get into school (Washington) for academic reasons because of their institutional policies.”

But he skipped right into Alabama’s academic policies...no hard questions asked.

There’s more, of course. At Alabama, Kaho will be reunited with former Washington assistant (and top-drawer recruiter) Tosh Lupoi, who was paid $300,000 to leave UW for his shady role in some NCAA pay-off shenanigans.

And you wonder why the SEC laughs at us…[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Kaho’s situation is more complicated than that. Personal issues, family matters and god-knows what else was involved, but the bottom line is this: Washington lost a top recruit to a program it is chasing as it tries to puncture a hole in the SEC’s glass ceiling.

College football, on so many fronts, is uneven and unfair. But does the Pac 12 have to be so nice about it?

Petersen was so cordial in letting Kaho go and may have packed him a lunch.

As if Washington needs to help Alabama…

Two years ago, Washington did make the playoffs and lost to Alabama, 24-7, in the national semifinals.

We must now ask ourselves: what's changed? Washington enters the season with the same starting quarterback, tailback and head coach? And Nick Saban is still the starting coach at Alabama.

This is the sort of drizzle-rain pessimism that envelops the Pac. Washington seems like the conference’s best chance to make this year’s four-team playoff, but we’ve already seen that game.

Until Chip Kelly possibly gets things going at UCLA, or Clay Helton proves he can lead USC beyond the Rose Bowl, or David Shaw throws out his NFL playbook, Petersen still seems the coach most capable of leading a major breakthrough.

That said, the Huskies still seem a half-step slower than the programs (Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Penn State) they’re trying to take down.

Jake Browning has been a very good, but not great, college quarterback. He seems good enough to beat any team outside the power grid.

The running backs are good, but not like Saquan Barkley good, and Washington’s defensive fronts is SEC-like formidable but not quite SEC.

That’s why UW’s opener against Auburn in Atlanta is the most important game in the recent history of Washington and the Pac 12.

If, if, IF Washington’s offense can punch holes in Auburn’s brick-like front then maybe we can get excited about these Huskies.

If not, and Auburn prevails, it will be a very long “neutral site” flight home for the Pac 12’s best hope, and a very joy-filled “neutral site” bus ride back for Auburn.

These are the obstacles Pac 12 teams are almost always going to face.

It’s one thing to be stuck halfway to Russia in the Pacific Northwestern quadrant. But when you add that to handing over your best recruits to Alabama, which doesn’t need them to already beat you, well maybe that’s why Washington is always going to be in the state that it’s in.[/membership]

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