What the Cal Win Means for the Washington Huskies

Ian PetersonCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies leave the field after defeating the California Bears 42-10 on December 5, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

No one should underestimate how useful it is going to be over the coming weeks that head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Washington Huskies were able to go 5-7. It's news that will directly affect the decision quarterback Jake Locker will make as well.

Saturday capped off Sarkisian's successful first season with a 42-10 victory. Only close losses against Notre Dame, Arizona State, and UCLA will leave Husky fans wondering what could have been.

Still, Steve Sarkisian has achieved one of the best turnarounds in Husky football history, as well as tying Jeff Tedford's turnaround at Cal in the Pac-10. This was an 0-12 football team last season; gaining five wins is almost incredible.

The team's defense took a leap forward over the last two games, allowing only 10 points. It's hard to believe, but it's the first time they've held a team to 10 points or fewer in consecutive games since 1994.

Nick Holt has to be pleased, and his smiling demeanor during the game attests to that.

The offense also clicked like it never has before. The game was over after the first three offensive plays, the highlight being the trick reverse pass from Cody Bruns to Jermaine Kearse.

The style of game that the Huskies played, as well as the dominating performance in two contests, will hopefully entice Jake Locker to stay another year.

Scouts and so called "Draft Experts" like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are unanimous that while Locker could be a high pick this year, another year is the best choice for his long-term success.

Locker is a competitive guy, and the Major League Baseball contract he has means he isn't necessarily hurting for options.

The dominating performances hopefully convinced him that this team has the potential to turn him into a winner for the first time in his career in 2010.

At the very least, with news on Locker being played close to the vest by his family and friends, Sarkisian is optimistic of his return.

The 42-10 domination of the Cal Bears also gives a huge amount of momentum going into the offseason, especially in terms of recruiting.

Over the weekend the Huskies received three big commitments: Micah Hatchie who is an offensive lineman, Lawrence Lagafuaina who is a defensive tackle, and Kevin Smith who is a fast rising receiver prospect.

These three commitments are also accompanied by a shining review by four star linebacker prospect V.J. Fehoko, who is waiting to take all his visits before committing.

These commitments bring the total for this class up to 26 or 28 commitments, depending on the recruiting service you subscribe to. This is a major haul for Sark and will be an excellent foundation for the team going forward.

There is always a recruiting bump for first year head coaches, to be sure, but this successful season is really resonating with recruits. It points to brighter days for the Huskies in a major way.

Most Husky fans are all just aching for the next season to start tomorrow—to keep this momentum going.

I can't blame them.