Most contending teams don’t have their defining moments of  a season until at the very end, a key conference game, a conference championship game, a bowl game and, of course, a national national championship.

Not Washington. The Huskies will have the course of their season determined in many ways on Saturday when they open their 2018 season against Auburn in Atlanta.

Win it, and coach Chris Petersen’s team will establish a huge amount of equity for themselves and also a great deal for the Pac-12.

Lose it?  Well, the Pac-12  could be out of the Final Four race by the middle of September

Washington is coming off back to back seasons in which the Huskies lost to Alabama in a Final Four game and last season when it was out slugged by Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Huskies went 10-3 last season. They have an offense led by QB Jake Browning who was the best offensive player in the Pac-12 two years, dropped off dramatically last season and has started 39 games as a Huskie. RB Myles Gaskin has more than 4,000 career yards and the Washington offensive line is filled with  veterans.

Defensively 9 starters return.

After Auburn, the Huskies shouldn’t have a tough game  until they face Stanford–in Seattle in November. USC is not on the regular season schedule.

So it comes down to Saturday against Auburn.