The University of Washington and Washington State University football teams begin their 2019 seasons on Saturday. The Huskies host Eastern Washington University in Seattle at noon, and the Cougars host New Mexico State in Pullman at 7 p.m. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel about how both teams look this year.
NEW UW QUARTERBACK
"By reputation, Washington has a big advantage at quarterback in Jacob Eason," Thiel said. "A lot of people are picking him to be in the first round of the NFL draft whenever he goes.
"He was a prep All-American at Lake Stevens High School. He chose to go to Georgia and actually started as a freshman before he got hurt. And then he couldn't win the job back so he transferred from Georgia to Washington a year ago and had to sit out last season."
Eason has become No. 1 at Washington, Thiel says, at the expense of third-year sophomore Jake Haener. He quit the team after he lost the job, and intends to transfer.
Thiel said that leaves Washington without a quality backup quarterback if Eason gets hurt.
NEW WSU QUARTERBACK
The new quarterback at WSU is a bit of a surprise, Thiel says.
"Anthony Gordon is the new quarterback, succeeding Gardner Minshew, who was the NCAA passing yardage leader last year when he led Washington State to an 11-2 record," he said.
"Gordon got the job the old-fashioned way. He sat behind Minshew and, before that, Luke Falk. He's a fifth-year senior who has graduated to the position of starter.
"He beat out a graduate transfer, a guy from Eastern Washington, Gage Gubrud, who was supposed to be the heir apparent to Minshew but didn't do as well as Gordon did in training camp."
Thiel said it will be interesting to see Gordon finally being able to play.
"They're going to give him a chance and they've got a good backup in case he falters."
Thiel said both teams suffered graduation losses in the offseason. He expects about nine wins for each team this year.
"I think both teams are going to be down a bit, but it won't be terrible," he said. "And it could end up being a lot of fun in the Apple Cup."