2-9 overall, 1-7 conference, 10th Pac-10
Against the spread
4-7 (2-4 home, 2-3 away, 2-1 grass)
5-6 (2-4 home, 3-2 away, 2-1 grass)
-.27 per game
2005 Season Summary
It was not all that long ago that the University of Washington was known as a football school and perennial Pac-10 Conference contender, if not an occasional national championship contender as well. But ever since Don James left that scene things had changed for the most part and while Washington still was in a bowl most post seasons, they had slipped a notch from their glory days under James.
A program and coach reached rock bottom
In 2004 the Washington Huskies program had become a debacle. After years of suspicion, scandal, and administrative turmoil, the program was decimated and a mere shell of itself as UW finished 1-10 straight up and 2-9 against the spread. Keith Gilbertson, who inherited a mess as head coach in 2003, was mercilessly gassed after only two years on the job.
Meanwhile in South Bend, Indiana, Tyrone Willingham was fired as head coach of Notre Dame after only three seasons on the job. His stint began in spectacular fashion but ended with all credibility shot and fans eager for his departure, which was hastened before the Irish’s bowl game.
Both a program and a coach reached rock bottom and yet, ironically enough, would be joined together as Willingham, former successful coach at Pac-10 rival Stanford, accepted the reigns at Washington in a reclamation project for both himself and the Husky football program.
Bowl hopes for 2005
Most UW fans who were sick of the losing and longing for the glorious days of the past, remembered Willingham with respect from his days at Stanford and they entertained bowl hopes for 2005. Reality, unfortunately, was soon to set in.
Bad to worse
In Willingham’s debut against Air Force, played locally at the Seattle Seahawks’ home stadium, the Huskies were a 3.5-point chalk in a 17-20 loss. Things went from bad to worse as in Washington’s next game they was a 7.5-point home dog against rebuilding Cal and were annihilated 17-56 to start off 0-2 both straight up and against the spread. The good news was that the poor start would make Washington a bit of a bargain in the weeks that followed.
In their next game at home versus Idaho, Washington got their first win of the Willingham era, 34-6, as 13.5-point chalks.
Washington’s next game was a much-anticipated matchup at home against Notre Dame, as Willingham would face the former team that he was coaching just one-year prior. The Huskies were a 12.5-point dog in a game that many believed that they would go “all in” for their coach. UW was clearly outclassed, however, as Notre Dame won and got the cash with a 36-17 win.
As whopping 25-point dogs at UCLA in their next game, Washington nearly pulled off the upset before falling late 17-21. This was followed with a 21-45 loss at Oregon as 16.5-point dogs. In their next game at home versus powerhouse USC, the Huskies were incredible 30.5-point home dogs, which indicated just how far they had fallen as a program, covering in a 24-51 loss. It was UW’s third cover in five games but they remained a tough read for gamblers to get a hold of.
Not up to task
Washington stood at 1-6 straight up and 3-4 against the spread as they headed down the stretch. At Arizona State as 14-point dogs they were blown out 20-44. At home against struggling Oregon State as 3-point dogs the Huskies were not up to task in a 10-18 loss. This was followed by a 38-14 upset win at Arizona as bargain basement 13.5-point dogs.
The Apple Cup game against down and out Washington State was an opportunity for the Huskies and Willingham to end the season on a positive note. There were some gamblers that bit on the Huskies as 3-point home dogs but the Cougars prevailed 26-22 as UW lost 3 of their last 4 ATS.