The Washington Huskies came into the 2013 season knowing they'd face many imposing teams throughout the year, and their Oct. 19 matchup against Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium is no exception.
Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian told Arizona Sports 620's Burns & Gambo Wednesday that his team isn't taking ASU lightly. He pointed to the Sun Devils' "dynamic, explosive offense" and also said the team's defense is aggressive and prone to making big plays.
"We're going to need to play well to beat them," the Huskies coach said. "They're an excellent football team -- very well-coached, talented players on both sides of the ball. We would obviously love to go down there and get the win. I think it would be big for us; it would really springboard us into the second half of the season, but we also know it's going to take a great effort to get that done."
Washington comes into Tempe losers of its last two games -- both against top 5 teams. The Huskies' overall record (4-2) mirrors that of ASU, but their conference mark (1-2) is the opposite of the Sun Devils'.
Sarkisian said the Pac-12 is filled with strong teams, but, other than Oregon perhaps, the conference lacks dominant programs.
"I think there's a great deal of parity in the Pac-12 right now -- the most, in my opinion, since I've been in this conference, and that's been 13 years of it," said Sarkisian, who joined the Huskies program in 2009 after his second stint at USC. "(It's) really good football week in and week out. Hard to win. And if you don't come prepared, you get beat.
"So I think the conference is in great shape that way; and, in turn, because we're in such good shape, we're making it harder on each other to become one of those elite teams."
As far as what he's doing to prepare for ASU (4-0 at home), Sarkisian said his team needs to limit big plays by the Sun Devils' offense and win the turnover battle.
"They're a team that does a nice job of taking care of the ball on offense and creating turnovers on defense, so I think the football is going to be a big piece of the ball game on Saturday," he said.
"We have to come ready to play. So it's a great challenge for us. I'm fired up for our guys. I think we're going to go down there and play a good football game, and hopefully it's good enough to win."