Washington: Big city, but headed for fall?

Two ESPN.com stories of note on Washington.

First, the Huskies football program is profiled by Ivan Maisel as an example of an urban team that thrives despite an NFL presence.

How the Huskies not only survived but thrived after the arrival of the NFL is a tribute to geography, demographics, tradition and winning. In the past decade, as the winning dried up, Washington has had to tweak its tradition. The athletic department is attempting to modernize its marketing and selling without alienating its old-line fans.

All that is at stake is the future of a program that, with the emotional hold it has on its large fan base, resembles a Big Ten state university more than any of its Pacific-12 Conference brethren.

On the less positive side, KC Joyner fingers Washington as a team that could be headed for a drop-off, as in one of five teams that "finished with a winning record in 2010 (and in certain cases, reached 10 wins) but may see a significant drop-off in the win-loss column in 2011."

Joyner sees offensive (new quarterback) and defensive (2010 numbers) issues for the Huskies. But the X-factor is a tough schedule. He writes:

Just look at that schedule. According to Phil Steele's college football preview magazine, Washington's 2010 opponents had a 62.7 percent winning percentage last year, the fourth-highest rate of any FBS team.

By the way, UCLA rated as one of Joyner's five "bounce back" teams.Insider