And here we are. In about 25 hours, the Huskies will have a game in the books. It’s strange that, after waiting for months for the season to start, it will now be over in 3 short months. By the end of September, the Dawgs will have played half of their home games. Or slightly less than half if they host the Pac-12 championship. Time keeps passing, but it will slow down for a few hours tomorrow night.
I just got home from dinner, and the drive took me along the east edge of Lake Sammamish, which is one of the better drives in the area, even in the dark. Tonight, there was a clear sky and big moon lighting up some low hanging, patchy clouds. It was exactly the kind of night I associate with autumn and football. I grew up in Yakima, where clear skies are common, but in the fall as the temperatures drop, the sky takes on this misty quality that I can’t really describe. The moon seems bigger, the stars brighter, the night clearer.
That kind of night will be forever linked in my mind with high school football games. I never played, but I’m not sure I ever missed a game, either. Our small stadium had bleachers sandwiched between a couple of small grassy berms where the students stood, on the left if you were in middle school, to the right for high schoolers. There are not many places I remember more fondly than that stadium, huddled with friends, shivering in the cold.
I have no real reason for sharing all this, except tonight reminded me of those nights, which seems fitting for this weekend. It’s not cold enough to really have the same effect, but I was glad that, a couple of miles up the plateau from where I drove, Skyline and Bothell were facing off in a bigtime season-opener. Last night, Bellevue beat a Texas powerhouse in overtime in Memorial Stadium. Tomorrow, the Huskies take on the Aztecs under the lights. It’s the best time of year.
I hope you get to be at Century Link or your stadium of choice tomorrow. I cannot tell you much joy it brings me to enter the stadium, waiting for kickoff. If college games aren’t an option, check out your local high school. There are few things better than cheering on a random high school team with some friends, or sharing a blanket with your lady (or man). I’m rambling now, so I’ll stop and get on to the predictions. Welcome to football season, everybody!
I have pretty high expectations coming into this season opener with SDSU. My expectation surround two areas: Keith Price and the defense. Price is the unquestioned leader of the team, and a deep sleeper Heisman candidate. Price has an opportunity early on to set the tone for year and show he is an elite level QB. Look for Price to come out aggressive and throw deep a lot to give the fans some excitement right off the bat. For obvious reasons, I’m excited to see the defense play. After the nightmare in the Alamo Bowl, Sark fired the whole defensive staff and replaced them with young, energetic, but most importantly, talented defensive coaches. Justin Wilcox is a clear upgrade at DC. I’m excited to see how the unit gels over the first few weeks, and matching up against a solid Aztecs squad will be a great test. Should be a fun Saturday night!
UW 31 – SDSU 20
I don’t really know what to expect from this game, except a win. It could be close, it could be a blowout. The offense could dominate, or it could struggle like in last year’s opener. I’m hoping the offense can dominate without having to open the playbook too much and the defense can consistently tackle and make a few big plays. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. It doesn’t help that San Diego St. is hard to get a handle on, but I’m pretty sure the Dawgs are better. I’m just hoping they play that way.
UW 38 – SDSU 17
No prediction from Dan yet. I (Matthew) have decided that, since I’m the one compiling the predictions, I get to make fun of whoever doesn’t send one in. So here goes. Man, Dan is a smelly guy. He is so smelly. I think he forgets to shower and takes a bath in the drainage pond by his house instead. Geez, that guy’s smelly. I’m glad I’m not sitting by him right now. Go take a shower!
Season openers haven’t exactly been Steve Sarkisian’s strong point. He’s 1-2 in them but the only good performance in these games came in his first season against LSU. Last year, we had to sit through a nail biter as the Dawgs held on to beat Eastern Washington. This year, they play a decent San Diego State team who will come to play. I think the Huskies will be ready though. Maybe I’m just being optimistic but I think as the second half wears on, the Dawgs will start to pull away and end up winning by 20. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Keith Price is the best quarterback San Diego will face all year, and, even with 5 defensive backs on the field. the Aztecs just won’t have an answer to Price and ASJ.
2. The Husky lines will be better than the Aztecs. There haven’t been many times in the last decade where I think the Huskies will win the battle in the trenches but tomorrow is one of those days. San Diego State is replacing quite a few guys up front and the Dawgs will rack up a surprising amount of rushing yards.
3. The defense will be better. Of course, it can’t be worse but I mean to say that the D will surprise some people. They’ll have a few mistakes but they’ll make plays and they’ll look much faster. Because they are. Danny Shelton will have a good game and the secondary will cover up the linebackers mistakes. At least for this week.
So, there you go. Expect Shaq Thompson to wow you. Expect to be frustrated at some points. But, Keith Price and the Husky offense will be just too much for the Aztecs.
Huskies 45 – Aztecs 24