Hello, Dawg fans.
In 2006, the UW Huskies started 4-1 with their only loss to Oklahoma. It seemed a return to a bowl game was imminent. Then they lost a few tough ones, Isaiah Stanback got hurt, and they didn’t win another game until the Apple Cup. They finished 5-7, missing a bowl game. Two years later they were 0-12.
This year, they Huskies started 5-1. Three weeks later, they’re 6-3 and facing a tough USC squad in L.A. It’s easy to think this season is sliding away, especially in light of the beatdowns from conference powers Oregon and Stanford.
Entering the season, however, most people were expecting a 7-5 or 8-4 season. A few people were hoping for 9 or 10 wins, but even they admitted they were being very optimistic. Even with the disappointing losses, the Dawgs are right on target. They’re not anywhere near being elite yet, but they’re a solid, young team, just like we thought. They should finish with 8 wins, with 7 or 9 being realistic possibilities.
Even if they don’t win another game, they’ve secured a bowl game. I don’t want to be at the point where Husky fans are just hoping for a bowl game, but it’s a start, and it’s where the team is right now. They’re making progress, and while we want it to happen quicker, it helps to take a step back and remember what could be happening instead.
Nothing about this game feels right. USC is taking this game personally. The Nick Holt comment, which was harmless and not a slam on USC if you read the context of the question, is plastered all over the USC football facilities. Coach Sark complimenting Matt Barkley saying he’s better than Luck is being taken personally somehow. Lane Kiffin today on Softy was clearly annoyed with the fact USC has lost two in a row to the Dawgs (Hey Lane, cheer up, you got a few extra timeouts from last year you might be able to use Saturday…). The Trojans want revenge, and I think they’ll get it. USC is playing at a very high level right now offensively, and that concerns me for obvious reasons. Robert Woods and his WR running mates will simply torch the UW secondary, and if the UW pass rush continues to be M.I.A., Barkley will have all day to throw. This could get ugly quick. I do think the Huskies will bounce back on the offensive side, but it’ll be too little because of the inevitable drops by the receivers will kill some drives. I expect Polk to have a tremendous game back on his home turf of So Cal. In the end though, the Trojans roll.
USC 49 – UW 31
I think the Dawgs are capable of pulling this one out, but they are moving in the complete wrong direction. If this were the fourth game of the year, I would have picked the Huskies. Since then, the Huskies are floundering a bit while USC is playing great football. If the Dawgs play anything like they did against Oregon, they don’t have much of a shot. Still, it feels like this team could click at any minute, so maybe this will be the week. I’ll believe it when I see it.
USC 45, UW 34
The Huskies have a tough fight up against them on Saturday. USC has been playing well after starting their season a little lackadaisical and the Huskies will have to play a really good game if they want to avoid losing their 3rd out of their last 4. Sark and company have had the Trojans number the last 2 years though and I think that means something. This game means a little more to the coaching staff and they will be prepared (not that they aren’t usually prepared). USC probably has a little better athletes but I don’t think the gap is that far away, as Bob Condotta pointed out with some stats the other day (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskyfootballblog/2016734593_comparing_uws_and_uscs_confere.html). I think that points to a close game. My hopes aren’t too high for this game and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I thought the Huskies would finish 8-4 all along and this game would be the last one they lost. I know I’ve been preaching that we should start expecting to win but I don’t feel that heading into Saturday. I’m guessing that it’s about time USC wins a close one against us and so I’ll go with that.
UW 35, USC 38