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Previewing BYU's 2010 Opponents: Washington

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The rematch of BYU's controversial victory over Washington in 2008 is back after taking a year off.  This time in Provo.

Everyone remembers the Jake Locker celebration incident when BYU blocked an extra long extra point attempt to win a road game in Washington.  That was about as close to a win Washington came that season as they went 0-11.  This season Washington will certainly be much, much better.

To predict how good Washington will be you have to start with the nightmare 2008 season.  After going winless the Huskies hire USC coordinator and former BYU player, Steve Sarkisian.    In Sarkisian's first season Washington went 5-7 with victories over USC and Cal.  Not great, but a huge improvement from the previous season.

Washington looks to continue to build off their new momentum and returns just about everybody.  The Huskies return 11 offensive starters and 8 on defense.  They also have possibly the best quarterback in the country in Jake Locker.  After shocking many people by deciding to stay in college, Locker looks to make a strong run at the Heisman in 2010.

Five players from Washington were named to Phil Steele's Preseason All Pac-10 First Team.  11 Washington players were named to his All Pac-10 total.  Some have even placed Washington in the Preseason Top 25 including Sporting News where they rank the Huskies at No. 25.  Quite a leap from a 5-7 season.

It's hard to say who has the edge coming into the game.  BYU will be playing at home where they are 22-2 since 2006 but will be replacing many of their starters from 2009.  BYU's quarterback will be in his first game as the starter and possibly first college football game ever if Jake Heaps wins the job.  

Washington certainly should continue to improve with Sarkisian and should be better than last year.  The question will be how much better?

Follow Michael Rueckert on Twitter @MichaelRueckert