Here’s a joke:
A midget’s walking down the street. As he’s turning a corner, he runs into Wilt Chamberlain.
The midget looks up and says, “Utah!”
This game is a tough read. The Dawgs are scoring points and moving the ball well. Keith Price is playing at an All-American level. With an offense as potent as UW’s, it’s hard to count them out of any game. The Huskies have already played one tough game on the road in Nebraska, so they will not be intimidated by the rowdy Utes crowd. They played at BYU last season in the altitude, so they should know what to expect. Nevertheless, they are 10 point dogs. I understand why. This is Utah’s Pac-12 home opener, it’s homecoming, the Utes are coming off a beat down of rival BYU, and they just had their bye. Those are all very good signs for Utah. I’ve watched Utah play a couple games this year vs USC and BYU. I wasn’t too impressed with them at USC, and I am not sure how good BYU is, so while the crushing of the Cougars is impressive, just how impressive is yet to be seen depending on how BYU ends up.
This game is very simple, if the Huskies defense plays well, and by well I mean get a few 3rd down stops and don’t give up bone headed plays in the secondary, the Dawgs have a very good chance to win because their offense cannot be stopped, I don’t care how good the Utes D is. My problem is I don’t trust the defense. I just simply have no faith they can put together four quarters of solid defense, and on the road, you can’t afford silly mistakes. They haven’t eliminated the mistakes, so until they do, these games will always be brutal, what could have been finals. Another heart-breaker:
Utah 35 – UW 31
I used to intern for David Locke at 950 KJR, and he is now a radio host for KFAN in Salt Lake City. I follow him on twitter and I’ve learned this week that Utah is buzzing over this game. In fact, ask a Utes fan and he will tell you this game is the most anticipated since the Fiesta Bowl in 2005. This is not a rivalry, nor a matchup of ranked teams, but Utah is playing its first ever Pac 12 home game. Apparently this is a really big deal; heck, even a pre-game fireworks show is planned. In games like this, the first quarter is crucial. If UW comes in and shuts up the 45,000 “mini” sea of red, then I like our chances to keep it close until the end. It’s obvious that Utah’s strength is their defense, and their weakness is putting up points. The Huskies are prolific on offense, but far from great on defense. Home field advantage, turnovers, special teams, and weird stuff will all loom large, but I think the side that can elevate their weakness will win this game. My guess is the bye week gives Utah’s offense an advantage, and the atmosphere inspires the defense.
Does anyone have any idea what’s going to happen in these games? Why do we make predictions in the first place? Why does the sun come up in the morning? One of these has to do with science and the other two questions I’m truly looking for an answer to. All this pressure of making a prediction just makes me so nervous for the game because I start to think about the game even more than I do in my everyday life (which is quite a lot), and then I get nervous a full 24 hours earlier than I would otherwise. To summarize, these things are dumb!
But, you want my take on the game? I think Utah has been talked up way too much. They beat BYU by 44 points because BYU turned the ball over 8 times. 8 times! That is ridiculous! Their other games, they’ve looked solid but nothing more. That sentence could have been said about the Huskies too. The Utah offense is suspect, but so is the Husky defense. The Husky offense is very good, but so is the Utah defense. It’s a stalemate. Does that mean it comes down to special teams? That would mean the Huskies would have a slight edge. But, I’m picking Utah because this is a game that top-20 teams in the nation win. I don’t have the faith that the Huskies are quite there yet, but if they win then, for the first time since 2001 (or maybe 2002) I’ll truly believe the Huskies can win any game. Go Dawgs.
Utah – 34 UW – 27
The Huskies seem to be continually faced with games which could possibly come to define them as a football team. Some, such as the Nebraska game, they’ve lost. Some, they’ve won. And still we’re not sure what this team is. Tomorrow’s game seems like the latest and most definite of these defining contests. If the Huskies are a better than mediocre team, they should beat Utah on the road. At the very least, they should keep it competetive until the end. The truth is, we have no idea what will happen in this game because the Huskies are still incredibly unpredictable, and until they can play well consistently, no single game is defining.
All that being said, this has the makings of a great game, and a win really could be a catalyst toward a big season. As Joe said, it’s going to rest with the defense. If they can figure out how to get off the field on third down even half the time, the Dawgs will run away with this game. I’m not really sure what Utah is. They are always well-coached, they have solid talent, but their offense is probably the least threatening UW has seen thus far. Their defense is solid, but the Husky offense is better than that. Utah is coming off a blowout of BYU followed by a bye. As Andrew said, BYU had 8 turnovers and almost lost to Utah State tonight. BYU isn’t very good. That doesn’t mean Utah isn’t good, but I’m thinking the Dawgs grow up in Salt Lake City tomorrow and pull out the win.
UW 34, Utah 27