There was optimism, not to mention the national ranking before opening kickoff even arrived.
Then the season started for Washington football.
And a season of almost nonstop disappointment – the Huskies opened their 2021 campaign with their first loss to Football Championship Subdivision foe Montana in 100 years – might have reached its nadir late Saturday night.
Not only did Washington again drop below .500 at 4-5, this time a 26-16 loss to Oregon in which the Huskies' anemic offense mustered just seven first downs and 166 total yards the culprit, but second-year coach Jimmy Lake garnered exactly the wrong kind of attention.
With Lake's Huskies and some Oregon players scuffling along the sideline in the first half, Lake bolted into the fracas and, per videos of the incident, forcefully shoved and lashed out at a Washington player, Ruperake Fuavi.
It was enough of a black-eye incident that Washington athletics director Jen Cohen issued a statement.
“We are aware of an interaction between Head Coach Jimmy Lake and a student-athlete during the first half of Saturday's game,” Cohen said in her statement. “We have high expectations of the conduct of our coaches and we are working to gather more information on this matter.”
In various video clips from the ABC broadcast, Lake was shown sprinting down the Huskies' sideline after an Oregon ball-carrier was tackled into the boundary and a couple of his Ducks' teammates began to jaw at the Washington players.
Washington has three games left on its regular-season schedule; it hosts Arizona State (Nov. 13), travels to Colorado (Nov. 20) and concludes November at home against rival Washington State (Nov. 27).