Before the season began, Steve Sarkisian started preaching to his Washington players that distractions would not be a viable excuse for any shortcomings.

On Monday, the distractions were about Sarkisian immediately being linked to the USC vacancy after the weekend firing of Lane Kiffin.

Sarkisian said that instead of dancing around the rumors, he addressed the situation head on during a team meeting on Monday morning.

While he said he wouldn't comment about "hypothetical scenarios," he said this week provides a chance to prove the 15th-ranked Huskies won't be distracted heading into Saturday's showdown at No. 5 Stanford.

I have great respect for USC and the rich history and tradition they have, but I'm proud to be the head football coach of the 15th-ranked team in America right now. And all the hard work that we've put into this program for the last five years to get to this point, to be in an awesome matchup on national television on Saturday night against a national-championship contender in Stanford, that's where my focus is."

Sarkisian, who said he has not been contacted by USC, believes the speculation may give the Huskies a chance to prove something.