A couple of quick thoughts before we get to the predictions:
Most people have probably heard about the Arizona-UCLA game Thursday night. It had a lot of implications for a Thursday night game between two bad teams, namely that it’s probably the game that ensures Rick Neuheisel will be fired and it might signal a bit of an awakening for the Wildcats. The most interesting part of the ingame action, though, came with 8 seconds left in the first half. UCLA was lining up for a possible Hail Mary when someone ran on the field from the stands. Like usual, the cameras didn’t show him, instead focusing on a shot of a referee and some players. Suddenly, those players took off running and a full-scale brawl broke out. When it was eventually broken up, two players were ejected, Kevin Prince threw an unsuccessful pass toward the end zone, and both teams walked off, the coaches looking disgusted.
I understand why they don’t show streakers or other people who get on the field. I personally would rather see what’s going on, but the idea of not giving these people attention is fine. However, I find it ironic that they won’t show some dummy running through the end zone, but they’ll show a fight between 100 college kids that perfectly embodies the poor sportsmanship that society discourages. I’m not saying that TV should show the guy on the field or shouldn’t show a brawl. I just think that if the choice is between having someone toilet paper my house or break in and beat me with a baseball bat because they don’t like how I care for my yard, I know which option I’m picking.
Moving on, I came across this article on WSU running back Carl Winston. Winston has 224 yards rushing on the year, with a high of 47 in one game. In the article, Paul Wulff names Winston as his offensive MVP so far this season. I’m not trying to pick on Winston, and I honestly don’t remember seeing him play, so maybe I’m underrating him. Still, let’s compare him to the Husky options for offensive MVP. The clear choice is Keith Price, who is on pace to obliterate most UW season records for a quarterback. He is currently fifth in the nation in passer efficiency and second in touchdown passes. If not for that guy in Stanford, he’d be the clear choice for all-Pac-12 QB, in my opinion. Even if you don’t want to go with him, Chris Polk has about 500 more yards than Winston and is second in the conference in rushing. I’m not meaning to pick on the Cougars here; they are significantly improved this season. Wulff’s comment just reminded me of the Huskies in the last few Willingham years. I’m sure it’s at least partly coachspeak. If he had to pick one offensive guy on his team, I’m guessing Winston would be at least third, behind Marquess Wilson and either quarterback. Wulff’s reasons for calling Winston his MVP consist mainly of his excellent blocking and toughness. Not sure where I was trying to go with this, but I guess I’m just glad that the Huskies can now recognize players for their incredible production, rather than for their incredible toughness.
On to the predictions!
Well, this is an exciting game! One team has only lost once in their last 10 games and the other has the longest winning streak in the nation. The whole world thinks Stanford is the better team, and rightfully so. They are older and the more proven team. A writer for uwdawgpound.com pointed out that they execute extremely well and don’t make many mistakes. But, he also pointed out that Stanford doesn’t have any absolute stars on the defensive side of the ball (especially now that Skov and Howell are out). When you think of their offense you think of power running, tight-ends, and a quarterback who is the best in the nation. Now, the Husky D isn’t set up to stop the quarterback, no one is, but it seems built to do well against the others. Stanford will get yards, no doubt about it, but I see a little reason for optimism. I don’t see any reason to doubt our offense won’t score either. They are too good not to score. Stanford has been incredible in the 3rd quarter though (and the 1st quarter but so have the Huskies), and that’s what scares me. It’s what happened against Nebraska and I’m scared that the Dawgs won’t be ready for the fateful 3rd. If they are, I see them winning to be honest. There’s more NFL talent on the Husky roster in my honest opinion, it’s just young talent. Maybe I’ve talked myself into something bad here. The Huskies will either get blown out or win a close game, that’s what they do in these games. But, I’m thinking that tomorrow we win. This team has been doubted too much and, dang it, I’m ready to believe in them and believe that they’re going to win every single week. Plus, they’re playing trees… While big, they aren’t agile. Let’s do it Huskies! Forget the Holiday or Alamo Bowl, after tomorrow lets be talking about the Rose Bowl!
Huskies – 42 Cardinal – 38
When I analyzed the schedule this past summer and tried to project outcomes, at Nebraska and at Stanford were my only lock losses. I just could not envision a scenario, at the time, where the Huskies would march in and win either of those games. I still don’t think Washigton has a great chance today, but I certainly feel better than 3 months ago, when I see Stanford on the schedule. This game can be broken down a million ways. The 41-0 loss last year seems like it should be part of the conversation, the fact that this game is on national tv is intriguing, luck vs. price, etc. To me, it’s as simple as this: Stanford offense-GOOD, UW offense-GOOD, Stanford defense-GOOD, UW defense-BAD (maybe average). I think UW is at a point where we can keep this game fairly close most of the way, but until our defense is top 25 good, we won’t win many of these games. I just don’t see us stopping Stanford, not for 4 quarters anyway. The only scenario where a win is possible, in my mind, is if the defense forces some turnovers, the offense scores TDs rather than FGs, and we get lucky…impossible to do this post without one luck pun.
It’s still really hard to predict what these Huskies will do on a weekly basis. I think Stanford is still notably better, at least on defense. The Husky offense is so balanced and creative, but this is the best defense they’ve played. The UW offense is the best Stanford has played as well. This might come down to who makes mistakes, which isn’t usually Stanford, but it isn’t really the Huskies either. I really want to pick the Huskies, but when I think about this game, all I see is Andrew Luck throwing to his tight ends on third down. Here’s guessing the UW defense isn’t quite ready to stop him.
Stanford 41, UW 31