There are a two ways to look at Steve Sarkisian’s five years at Washington, which came to an end Monday.
On one hand, he only one eight games once. After going 5-7 his first year, Sarkisian guided Washington to three straight seven-win seasons before this year’s eight-win campaign.
To say the least, USC isn’t hiring him to win seven or eight games a season. Sarkisian never beat Oregon, and while 2012’s win over Stanford stands as his signature win it was his only triumph over the new powers of the Pac-12. In five years, Sarkisian never won more than five Pac-12 games.
But on the other hand, Sarkisian took over a less-than-ideal situation. Washington went 0-12 under Ty Willingham the year before Sarkisian took over and hadn’t been to a bowl game in seven years. There wasn’t much strength to the program a decade and a half after Don James left his post.
With that in mind, perhaps winning seven or eight games and making a bowl game each year was a pretty good accomplishment. Or maybe it’s a sign that he’s nothing more than a mediocre-at-best coach. The record speaks for itself, it just depends on how many qualifiers you’re willing to accept.