The first half of the college football season didn't exactly go as planned for University of Washington and Washington State fans. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about some setbacks for both teams.
"It's an independent but mutual collapse," Thiel said. "It's an odd circumstance because there were a lot of expectations around both teams entering the season.
"They were coming off double-digit win seasons last year. I think both programs thought that they may not necessarily be better than last year but they certainly didn't think to be at the bottom of the pile."
Thiel noted it's not going to get better for either team this weekend. They're both playing strong opponents on the road: WSU at Arizona State Saturday afternoon and UW at Arizona Saturday night.
A lot of people are scrutinizing the play of quarterback Jacob Eason, the five-star recruit from Lake Stevens High School.
"Eason came in with a huge amount of hype," Thiel said. "He's a junior this year and a lot of people think he's a first-round NFL draft choice. He'll be eligible for this next year's draft if he chooses to take it.
"His production hasn't been what most people thought. He's just not completed as many passes and some of the judgments he's displayed have been below what most people expected."
But he said it's not just Eason.
"I think the real problem here is that the company surrounding Jacob Eason isn't very good, especially the receivers. The Huskies are eighth in passing efficiency.
"Last week, the Huskies may have had their worst Pac-12 loss under the coaching of Chris Petersen when they lost 23-13 at Stanford. They thought Stanford was going to be a fairly mediocre team, but they controlled the game from beginning to end.
"Eason didn't have a good game nor did the Huskies defense. So it was an all-around failure including coaching. I think Chris Petersen deserves some scrutiny and some criticism for his decisions and play-calling, particularly on fourth down."
WSU'S 'DEBACLE OF DEBACLES'
"The Cougars have had two horrible game outcomes," Thiel said. "They had a bye last week but the week before that, they lost 38-13 at Utah.
"The week before that, they had the debacle of debacles. That's when they lost 67-63 to UCLA after leading by 32 points earlier in the game. Four fumbles, two interceptions, penalties. It was one of the most extraordinary games. It's really been hard for them to recover from that game.
"On top of that, last week their defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys quit — midseason! That just doesn't happen. But with coach Mike Leach, lots of things that don't happen to other teams happen to his team.
"I think Cougar fans are grinding their molars at what's happened so far and, really, Husky fans too.
"It's only midseason. There's a lot of time to recover. But I think any Huskies or Cougars fans who were fantasizing about championships and big-time bowl games are going to be sorely disappointed this season."