Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Hopefully your day was full of turkey, people you love, and Mark Sanchez running into his lineman’s butt. Worst football play ever.
One quick piece of news broke today. Devon Blackmon, a wide receiver who recently left the Oregon program, is reportedly transferring to the UW. He has to sit out a year but will be eligible in 2014 with two years to play (or maybe three. Not sure why that’d be, but I saw one news outlet reporting that). Blackmon was a highly rated recruit out of high school who considered UW at the time. I wonder about a guy who couldn’t get on the field much for a team with inconsistent receiver production, but he’s a talented, athletic guy and hopefully that will show by the time he can see the field.
Before I get to the predictions, in the spirit of the day, I’d like to take a moment to appreciate the UW coaches. I’m not sure how good the basketball team will be this year. They’ve been spotty thus far and have less talent than in some recent years. That said, I could not appreciate Lorenzo Romar more than I do. Some people question his ability to take the team to the next level, and he might never do that. Romar’s value goes beyond the court, though. He’s one of the classiest, most respectable coaches in the country. He has a lot of personality and great stories. It would take the program completely cratering to convince me that the program would be better without Romar than with him. Some people value winning at all costs, but I’m not one of them. I love having a program that I feel good cheering for that’s also quite successful.
It remains to be seen whether Steve Sarkisian will succeed in returning the Huskies to prominence, but I think the job he’s done so far is commendable. Sark has brought enthusiasm that was desperately needed, and he’s been a coach that Husky fans could watch grow along with the team. While he doesn’t quite have Romar’s reputation, he’s conducted himself quite well. He holds players accountable but also treats them well. Mike Leach’s actions in Pullman have thrown into sharp relief how lucky we got with Sark. Last week in Colorado, he brought the team onto the field early to watch Ralphie, Colorado’s buffalo mascot, run across the field. It always feels like Sark takes the football quite seriously but also realizes that the football gives lots of amazing opportunities. I think he has a nice balance, and I think that will benefit him in the long run.
Maybe the Huskies don’t have the best teams in the country, and maybe they won’t anytime soon. Still, we’re lucky enough to have coaches that are easy to cheer for while they’re successful. Go Dawgs!
The Cougars lost to Colorado. The Cougars played with ‘good effort’ last week, according to Mike Leach, and lost 46-7 to a Pac-12 team with 6 wins. Serious question, would the Cougars get bowl eligible in the Mountain West Conference? They barely beat UNLV, who is the worst team in that conference. They’d lose to Boise, San Diego State, Fresno State, and probably Nevada. Air Force, Wyoming and Colorado State might be toss-ups. They might get to four wins in the conference. I’m sure you wanted to know all of this…. Here’s my prediction.
UW 30 – WSU 17
I keep trying to get worried about this game. Apple Cups do get weird, and these Cougars have some talent. The Cougars have been so bad, though, and the Huskies are playing awfully well. The Huskies pass defense has become one of the best in the conference, and all the Cougars do is pass. They have the worst rushing attack in the conference and maybe the country. I would be really surprised if the Huskies lose. I think it’ll be close until the Huskies can deliver a blow or two (or the Cougars kill themselves in the foot). That might take a half, or it might take two possessions. The Huskies have lost Apple Cups that seemed a surer thing than this one, so no guarantees, but the Dawgs should win this one without much trouble.
UW 38 – WSU 13
The Apple Cup. First, this game means a ton to me as a Husky fan. No other game gets me more fired up. I want to beat Wazzu, and I want to beat them bad. Nothing is worse than an overly confident Cougar fan who gloats over one Apple Cup victory. I like the lovable, funny loser Coug fans, not the cocky, drunk morons who come out of the woodwork after a victory. (I realize Coug fans are actually drunk whether they win or lose…) If I had my way the Cougars would never win an Apple Cup. Ever. I like normalcy in life, and normal = UW Apple Cup victories. Sound arrogant? Yup, but that’s the reality of things when it comes to this game. I hate Wazzu, always will. Ok, now onto the game.I will keep this very simple. It’s the same thing I have been saying since before the Oregon State game: Run the ball with Sankey. A lot. Then play action to ASJ and Kasen. The Huskies have been doing this with a lot of success the past four games, and it’s translating into victories. Second, keep doing whatever you’re doing Coach Wilcox. The Huskies have improved by over 60 spots in total defense nationally between last season and now, warranting me to officially feel like the UW defense is “back” to some semblance of it’s former glory of tackling well and reading offenses with confidence. As well, for the first time in over a decade, I feel the UW defense has legitimate star playmakers. Shaq Thompson and Marcus Peters are future all Pac-12 players, Desmond Trufant has been nothing less than stellar all year, Danny Shelton has been a force on the line and John Timu and Travis Feeney (who I am massively impressed with right now) have been tackling machines all year. Look at this, I’m gloating over the Huskies defense! Amazing. I personally expect the Huskies to come out and dominate the Cougars. I know this is a rivalry game and it’s all circle the wagons talk in Pullman right now, but the fact is this: The Huskies are a better football team. Period. Better players. Better coaching. The only thing going against them is the game is in Pullman. That isn’t enough for the Pirate and crew. Drew Bledsoe and Phillip Bobo ain’t walking through that door.
UW 34 – WSU 17
It will feel odd being at work during the Apple Cup, but that’s the case for me this year. I’m sure I’ll find a way to see some of the game but I feel like this will be a predictable outcome yet again. They say you throw out the stats and records for the Apple Cup, but honestly if the Huskies lose this game, it will be because everything that could go wrong does, and the Cougs play out of their minds. That’s possible, but quite unlikely. WSU has not won a conference game for a reason. They are dreadful in all phases of the game. There’s no telling how long it will take for WSU to make it back to respectibility and playing in bowl games. The Huskies are in nearly the complete opposite position. The arrow is pointed up for the UW program, and while I’m excited at the possibility of finishing this year with 6 straight wins, I’m already gitty about next season. As for today, I see a slow, weird start for both teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a one score game at halftime, but ultimately we will likely see a lot of Bishop Sankey, some play action pass to ASJ/Kasen, and plenty open space in the Cougars defense will . Throw in a couple turnovers on D and by the 3rd quarter, things should go according to plan for Washington.
UW 30 – WSU 17