Seventh in a series looking at potential dream and nightmare scenarios for all Pac-12 teams.
Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction. You can read last season's versions here.
We're going in reverse order of my post-spring power rankings (which might not be identical to my preseason power rankings).
Up next: Washington
It wasn't an impressive 2-0 start, but the hope among Huskies fans was that Washington had kept a lot of scheme under wraps during wins over Eastern Washington and Hawaii. Most believe the Huskies will need to open up a bag of tricks to put on a respectable show against a motivated Nebraska team in Lincoln.
"I'm not taking anything away from Washington," Cornhuskers All-American defensive tackle Jared Crick said. "They beat us in the Holiday Bowl. But we weren't there emotionally. That's out fault, though. We'll be 100 percent focused when in Memorial Stadium. We expect to make a statement."
On second down, Chris Polk rushes for four yards. On third down, Polk rushes for six yards. On first down, Polk rushes for six yards. On second down, Polk rushes for six yards. On first down, Polk rushes for eight yards. On second down, he rushes for two yards. On first down, he rushes for one yard. On second down, he rushes for 16 yards. On first down, he rushes for four yards. On second down, he rushes for four yards. On third down, he rushes for four yards.
On first down, Polk rushes ... no, it's play action: 19-yard touchdown strike from Price to true freshman Kasen Williams.
"That was a physically dominant showing that I don't think many saw coming," ESPN GameDay's Chris Fowler says of the Huskies 28-10 victory. "Polk rushing for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Price taking advantage with a couple of touchdown passes. And a bruising defensive showing on the road for a Pac-12 team."
"Did Alameda Ta'amu really eat Taylor Martinez?" Kirk Herbstreit replies. "I know that start out as just a silly rumor, but I'm hearing no one has seen Martinez since that third-quarter sack."
Martinez is later found safe in an airport bathroom in Lincoln.
The Huskies nip California 24-21 and rise to No. 12 in the rankings. But Price turns in his first poor performance at Utah in a 21-17 defeat, despite 140 yards and a touchdown from Polk. The Huskies bounce back with a home win over Colorado. Up next, a visit to No. 3 Stanford.
"Obviously, Andrew Luck is the leading Heisman Trophy candidate," says Fowler. "But what if Polk puts up a big number in a Huskies victory?"
Polk strikes an early blow, with first-half touchdown runs of seven and 28 yards, and the Huskies lead 14-10 at the break. Luck answers with two touchdowns in the third -- one running and one throwing -- and the score is knotted 24-24 with two minutes left in the game.
On a third-and-five from the Huskies 28, Luck scrambles away from pressure and finds tight end Coby Fleener wide-open in the endzone for a 31-24 lead. The Huskies have 40 seconds and one time out.
On third and 5 from the Washington 40, Price finds Polk on a hot route. Polk breaks a tackle and breaks away, sprinting all the way to the Stanford 17. Price lines up and spikes the ball.
There are eight seconds left. Price evades pressure, then shovels it again to Polk.
"Polk across the 10, to the five, breaks a tackle... dives... tttt... nooo," says Huskies play-by-play man Bob Rondeau. "He's ruled down inside the 1-yard line. Wow. The clock has expired. Unless the officials rule Polk got in, the game is over and Stanford wins."
"Chris Polk is the best player in college football," Luck says.
The Huskies take out their frustrations in a 35-20 win over Arizona, sacking Nick Foles five times. Up next, No. 1 Oregon.
"Yeah, I'm aware Oregon has won seven in a row against us, all by at least 20 points," Polk tells reporters. "I know this because Coach Sark has that factoid typed up and taped in all of our lockers."
Headline in the Eugene Register-Guard: "Will the Ducks overlook the Huskies?"
"We don't overlook anybody," Ducks coach Chip Kelly says. "We play a faceless opponent every week. Every game is a Super Bowl for us. We are not concerned with any outside influences. We have a vision for what this football program is supposed to be about and we prepare against that vision. We compete against that vision every Saturday and that's how we measure ourselves. Win the day."
Coach Steve Sarkisian gathers his team in the locker room. Above, Husky Stadium is throbbing.
"I don't need to tell you guys to play your hardest. I know you're going to do that. I don't need to tell you about this rivalry, or what that team over there has done against the Huskies for the past seven years. Sure you all know that. That's not what this is about. That's not why we're about to shock the nation. This is about us. What I want from you guys is to live in the moment tonight. I want you soak up every bit of joy from every moment of this game tonight. And I want you to take it from them. We have the players. We have the plan. We have prepared perfectly. It's going to be a lot of fun celebrating this victory, but our celebration won't be nearly as fun what will happen between the white lines, as we take this game from them, one play at a time. Go out there and take it, one play at time."
Oregon leads 28-24 with nine minutes left. A Jackson Rice punt rolls out of bounds on the Huskies 1-yard line.
On first down, Polk rushes for three yards. On second down, Polk rushes for eight yards. On first down, Polk rushes for four yards...
"Wow, this is tough to watch," Oregon play-by-play man Jerry Allen says. "16 plays, all Chris Polk runs. He's over 200 yards for the day, and the Huskies have first down on the Ducks 8-yard line with 40 seconds left."
Polk rushes for three yards. Polk rushes for two yards. Polk rushes for 2 yards. Polk scores the winning touchdown as time expires.
"Wow, Chris Polk just ripped the hearts out of Oregon fans everywhere!" says Allen.
The Huskies suffer a classic letdown the following weekend at USC, but roll over Oregon State and Washington State to finish the regular season 9-3 and earn a berth in the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State.
Polk finishes second to Luck in the Heisman vote, and wins the Doak Walker Award. The Huskies bury the Cowboys 38-20 and earn a final No. 10 ranking, their first top-25 ranking since 2001.
Oregon is blown out in the national title game by Alabama. Kelly bolts for the Oakland Raiders. The Ducks hire Joe Avezzano to replace him.
Polk opts to return for his senior season. Washington signs the nation's No. 5 recruiting class.
"Gee, I really like this team," says Bill Gates. "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Maybe," replies athletic director Scott Woodward.
And in the rubber match, Nebraska was plenty motivated.
The Cornhuskers humble Washington 41-10, making Price's day a miserable one with five sacks. It doesn't help that Polk's status remains unclear after arthroscopic knee surgery during preseason camp.
"Things aren't going as fast as we would like," coach Steve Sarkisian says. "He could sure help us but we're not going to rush him back."
The Huskies fall at home to California 21-17, again without Polk, and drop to 2-2 on the year. They lose at Utah in overtime but, with Polk back in the lineup, beat Colorado 27-24.
Things get ugly -- again -- at Stanford, which blasts the Huskies 42-17. The Huskies even their record at 4-4 with a win over Arizona. Up next: No. 1 Oregon.
"Did Chip Kelly run up the score?" a reporter asks after the Ducks whip the Huskies 55-14 in Husky Stadium, their eighth victory in a row in the series, each by at least 20 points.
Sarkisian pauses, "Well, it's our job to stop them. And I guess he thought getting LaMichael James rushing for 300 yards would help his Heisman Trophy chances."
With Polk limited to just 10 carries, USC whips Washington 33-20, intercepting Price three times. Polk sits out, and the Huskies bow out at Oregon State, 28-17.
"No, beating Washington State won't make up for a tough season for us," Sarkisian said. "But there's always a lot to play for in rivalry games. And they're trying to get bowl eligible, so we can ruin their season."
With five seconds left, Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel takes on knee on the Huskies 5-yard line instead of added to a 35-24 victory. Huskies fans at CenturyLink Field bombard the Cougars with bottles and sundry trash as they leave the field.
"That's not who we are," Cougars coach Paul Wulff said. "We have classy fans. I guess the Huskies fans were frustrated. But we're excited about the postseason. What bowl is Washington going to? Kidding! I'm kidding."
Oregon wins the national championship. Washington State wins the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
"Gee, I really like the Cougars," says Bill Gates. "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Maybe," replies athletic director Bill Moos.