Greetings Cougar Nation and Brinkhater Army. Hope you all are having a great week.
Well, before we get to this week's contest against the mighty Trees, I thought I'd give my rejoinder to posts on this Blog regarding the future of Washington Husky Football.
First, for my favorite Puppy in our comments, "Medina Booster", I'll start off by stating the (obvious) positives regarding the now vacant position of Head Coach at U-Dubya:
1) Its a good job (thanks, Woody)
2) It pays a lot (thanks, Woody again)
3) The job is located in a very nice city in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (thanks, Woody three times)
4) The University of Washington is a top 20 University nationally and therefore gives recruits confidence that their (general studies) degree would involve a certain amount of prestige.
5) The Stadium holds nearly 72,000 crazies even when the team sucks.
6) The school is on the quarters system which gives players the first two months of the season (training camp in August and the month of September) to focus on nothing but football.
7) The school has a CO-National Championship that they can market to kids who were in uetero when it happened.
So, there you have it, the seven positives that you and the Tyee brass will offer anyone of formidable football stature that is willing to listen... Word has it, that if you repeat those seven things while being held down under running water for 14 hours, you may actually believe it..
Of course, every Husky fan in the universe is drinking that Kool-Aid.
And, as Medina showed, they are not only looking to, they are also EXPECTING, a return to the glory days of the Dawg Father with this next hire.
Unfortunately for Dawg fans everywhere, it simply isn't going to happen.
Between 1975 and 1993 which includes all of the Rose Bowls of the Don James era, do you know how many Pac-8 and/or Pac-10 schools played in Pasadena on New Years day?
They were USC, UCLA, and the UW.
When you look at the rosters of ANY of those teams during that era, you will notice that USC, UCLA, and the Puppies made the vast majority of their football hey by recruiting the living Ba-Jesus out of both So Cal and No Cal and complementing that base with talent from everywhere and anywhere else.
Of course, if you look behind those obvious facts, there are a few more hidden gems for Husky Fans to consider as chief components of their previous success:
1) After 1978 when the two Arizona schools entered the PAC, over 1/2 of the Pac-10 went on probation over a period of two seasons. During that same span, the Huskies were able to take advantage by recruiting layers of depth from California that helped lead the Dawgs to back-to-back Rose Bowls as well as the venerable Orange Bowl winning team.
Of course, two years later, the Dub took a major step back when they got THRASHED by Alabama in the 1986 Sun Bowl. Roll Tide Roll.
2) Few Dawg fans want to admit anything differently, but the trashing by the Tide in El Paso caused the Dawgfather to change his approach to recruiting. Obviously, he changed his approach to focus on the fast and furious. But, in so doing, he also went illegal. And the BLATANT lack of institutional control occurred whether he was "explicitly" aware of it or not.
Of course, the result of those shannanigans was a run nearly as impressive as USC's most recent set of titles:
A) Three straight Pac-10 titles (and Rose Bowls)
B) A national championship, and--
C) If not for a colossal let-down against UCLA, the Dawgs could have won back-to-back
But alas, they CHEATED to get there (and they'll have to cheat again to get back)
3) Also, during the 1990's the NCAA reduced the maximum number of scholarships available to each program. As a result, the big three could no longer sit there and stock pile All-Americans five deep. And, not surprisingly, the rest of the Pac-10 began to catch up.
Of course, it sure did help the rest of the Pac that Washington went on probation
and USC took a temporary nose dive.
But, when you combine those transitions with the changes in scholarship regulations, you get this amazing, amazing fact.
While there were THREE teams to capture a conference title between 75 and 93, do you know how many Pac-10 teams have won or shared a conference title since 1996?
1996:ASU - 8-0
1997: WSU/UCLA - 7-1
1998: UCLA - 8-0
1999: Stanford - 7-1
2000: Oregon/Oregon State/Washington - 7-1
2001: Oregon - 7-1
2002: WSU/USC - 7-1
2003: USC - 7-1
2004: USC - 8-0
2005: USC - 8-0
2006: USC/Cal - 7-2
2007: USC/ASU - 7-2
That's right, Nine.
Since that time, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY--a team that many of us thought would never go to one Rose Bowl--appeared in two and had three straight Top 10 finishes.
Even more shocking, the doormat Oregon State Beavers have a top 3 record in the conference over the last decade and are now a near lock for bowl play each year.
Moreover, the University of Oregon--once only meddlesome to other Pac-10 foes-- is now considered a major national player and recruits top talent each and every year--especially from the California hotbeds that the Huskies used to call their own.
The University of California-Berkeley --which is a better academic institution that the University of Washington--is recruiting All-American talent out of both Northern and Southern California and has high quality talent three or four deep.
Stanford University currently has the #2 rated recruiting class in the conference and holds as many conference titles as the UW over the past decade and offers THE premier academic experience in America.
On top of that, both Arizona schools also have top 3 finishes nationally in the last ten years. And while Arizona is having a good season and ASU is not, still, both easily have a deeper talent base and broader recruiting reach (Texas and California) than UW right now.
Despite our woes, we have a coach that has deep recruiting ties in this state, has a gimmicky offensive system, and will probably win the recruiting battle for the 3 star, high character guys in the Washington for the years to come.
So, where does that leave the U-Dub?
In my view, I would be SHOCKED if the next coach did not restore the UW to regular mid-tiered bowls.
But, given the strength of the rest of the conference, the way that scholarships are allocated equally across schools, as well as the DEEP hole that the UW program is currently in, making THAT climb is going to be extremely, extremely difficult. Making an ascent to the TOP of the mountain, just ain't gonna happen.
In Brinkhater's mind, its going to be hard to provide a case that a player is going to win more games at UW than Oregon State.
Its going to be difficult to convince a recruit that they're going to get more flash, better facilities, or a better educational experience than the University of Oregon.
And its going to be very, very difficult for any coach to provide a more motivating and inspirational story than what they will hear from Paul Wulff and company--who happens to also be an alum of his school that has a distinct, but potentially profound appeal to urban students.
Now, add Tedford, Tricky Ricky Neu, Captain Comeback, and Pistol Pete to that mix as well the Big 12 schools that are still pulling at California's top shelf talent?? What you get is a very, very difficult challenge ahead.
And sorry, no amount of "Cougar, Homer Bias" can obscure that hard dose of reality that sits on your 0-8 backsides.
Now, back to our stinking game.
Cougar Nation, I really think that there's a chance that the rest of this season could witness some positive, if not victorious moments.
But it just is not going to happen this week.
Stanford is a team that doesn't have many significant strengths.
But, the Trees are a team that has strengths in the areas that exploit our significant, if not historic, weaknesses.
For instance, they have a good pass rush, we have a weak offensive line.
They can run the football, we can't stop the run.
They're pretty healthy, we aren't.
Moreover, our starting QB (Lopina) is lousy and offers no hope for our beleagured defense to stay off the field--which is our only hope to stay competitive not only in this game--but for the rest of the year.
And, while JT offers the sole glimmer of hope for the rest of the year, we should ALL know by now that freshmen QBs seldom play well in their first few games.
And they tend to play even worse in their debuts on the road.
In the end, the Tress walk in this one 48-6. We almost cover, though, so that should mean something.
And lets pray that JT does enough to get more PT in the coming weeks.
Having a chance at winning the Apple Cup depends on it.
Oregon 41 California 31. Quack is good despite fold job at USC a few weeks back.
USC 51 Washington 3. USC will pay attention to final scores now that Penn State has inside track to title game appearance.
Oregon State 31 ASU 21. Beavs continue their roll toward first Rose Bowl in 40 years.
Texas 41 Texas Tech 40. Big12 may be one of the most talented conferences of all time.
Enjoy the game!
Wow Brinkhater, that's one hell of a take on all-things-UW. A UW Football Blog in your future?? In all seriousness, an excellent analysis. I think we all can agree that for everyone to assume that UW will regain the top spot simply by throwing a lot of money at their next guy isn't paying attention to the rest of the world. Then again, let's be honest - Seattleites can often be guilty of thinking that life ends at Mount Rainier. There really is a whole big world out there.
Better said, this ain't exactly your "big brother" Huskies. But let them worry about themselves. I prefer to worry about what's in my own back yard instead of yukking it up over the neighbor who hasn't mowed their lawn in four score and seven years ago.....but that's another story.
I think facilities are going to be a huge deal for them. If they eventually get that dream renovation done, as well as the rock-star head coach, I think they can start taking back what they've lost from Oregon and Oregon State, the biggest monkeys in the wrench. A great place to live with a rabid fan base and dynamic coach can be a good sell to 18-year olds. Just please don't make me pay for it!
Enough of this Husky honking. But first of all, a moment of silence for the official death of the NBA in Seattle.
At least Oklahoma City gets to pay $2000 a game to sit court-side and watch a horrible basketball team 41 nights a year. Congrats. There's a good read in the P-I today about how people, and businesses, in Seattle are dealing with it. But put me in the "I'm done with the NBA" camp for now. Just tap me on the shoulder when they return to Seattle as the Sonics, and I MIGHT be interested again.
Now on to our game.
We have touched on Stanford earlier this week, and it's pretty basic - they run the ball on offense and rush the passer on defense, about as well as anyone in the conference. And that tells you one very big thing - they are good up front, on both sides of the ball. And if you've been paying attention this year, you KNOW that isn't a good thing for Cougar Nation. We've been outnumbered and over-matched up front, due to injuries, suspension (Mike Graise is now out from the defensive line rotation, thanks for the tip Kaddy). The damage that the weaknesses up front has caused the entire team is staggering. They have been pushed around at will by the opponent, and it's a pretty helpless feeling to watch on a weekly basis.
Now I won't bore you with deep analysis here, but just know that we are averaging 13.9 points per game.....and we're giving up 48.1 points per game. When you are AVERAGING a loss by 35 points, or five touchdowns?? And that INCLUDES the 48-9 win over Portland State in those averages!?!?
Sprinkle in a still-recovering Lopina at QB and a dash of young J.T. Levy running for his life on every snap, and you get the idea. HOWEVER, I am going against the grain here, and I will predict that we will play fairly well. I believe the bye week was a good thing for this team, and they are gearing up for a better than expected finish these last five games of the year. I am going to lean hard towards a UCLA-style of game here, where we'll put eight in the box to try and slow down the running game. I don't think Stanford has the big-play ability to score quickly enough to light up the scoreboard. They will do what they always do, and that is based on their scheme of grinding it out. And I think our offensive approach will be to try and run the ball as well, and attempt to keep the defense honest as well as the heat off the QB's. Of course it won't be enough to win, but, I have a feeling this one will be closer than the rest believe.
In the end, I'll go Stanford 31, WSU 12. And it will even be an interesting game headed into the second half. Remember, in the Oregon State wipeout, it was 24-13 at the half. And it was 14-3 in the third quarter against UCLA. HOORAY. So we'll see.
California 34, Oregon 23. Oregon steamrolled ASU last week, but Cal is tough at home and Tedford has handled the Quacks three of the last four times they've played.
USC 58 Washington 2. They didn't play for Willingham before his firing. Think they'll turn it up now?? Neither do I.
Oregon State 48 ASU 20. The wagons have been circled in Corvallis, as usual. Wins in four of their last five, including the USC game, and the only loss the choke job at Utah. Coming off the bye week, and against a fading ASU, this one will get ugly.
Texas Tech 44, Texas 38. Horns get hooked! And Brinkhater is right, wow, is the Big 12 something else!?!?
ENJOY IT, and GO GOUGS!