For the first time since the #11 Huskies lost to Cal October 5, 2002 the Huskies are back in the AP top 15. The real test will be to see how long we stay there. We have ascended to this lofty ranking on the backs of a bunch of scrubs. We have beaten a bunch of servant teams whose existence is no greater than to be dismantled by true football powers. Until we actually begin to regularly defeat real football teams it is impossible to say we are any better than the servant teams we face. We did not dominate the two best teams on our schedule (Illinois and Arizona) so I am not sure what really sets us apart from them. Our play against Arizona was middling. While anyone who does not bother to watch the game may look at the 31-13 final score and see a respectable win on Washington's part, we really didn't play hugely better than Arizona. If you replace Ronnie Denker at QB with, say, Jeff Lindquist Arizona really has a shot at taking this game at Husky Stadium. Despite knowing that Carey had to get the ball a lot and being able to prepare to stop the run we still let Carey pickup 132 yards. This really caused troubles during the QB roll outs when we were focused on Carey. Mind you in some ways this is good. The defense has really improved this year in sticking with their assignments. This is evident in not biting on fakes regularly but does unfortunately manifest in letting the QB have some flexibility. Nothing is perfect. This did really help us when Carey would bounce outside. He had much greater success running up the middle with his OL than when he was going against our OLBs. Fuimaono and Shaq are good against the run which should help us - if the opposing team is better off running up the middle against our DL then there are more layers of support to stop big plays. Perhaps our biggest liability in outside run coverage is that Predator likes to go for the big hit and sometimes whiffs instead. At least he doesn't miss as often as our defenders have in the past.
If we hope to have success against Stanford Sankey will have to be himself, be who he was last year against the Cardinal, and have a good day on the ground. He is our team. Without Sankey this team is nothing. The defense is mostly serviceable but I think Stanford will really expose our DL deficiency. Without Sankey though our offense becomes very one dimensional very quickly. Price is a good quarterback but if we aren't a run threat and we find all of our receivers covered our offence may start to look like last year. Callier isn't a cripple but he just can not run as well as Sankey. Dwayne Butterfingers Washington looks alright but again he isn't the Bishop Sankey, Chris Polk, Jake Locker type of lead running back who can consistently run hard and pick up first downs. This also depends on Sark calling plays like he has at least a double digit brain cell count. Against Arizona we were running third and long and passing on third and short. Really tricky I know! They will never see it coming! Except it is typical Sark so they probably do...
So for the thousandth time, if against all odds we beat Stanford then the real gameday will surely be visiting Montlake and Pacific. The whole nation will get to see us blackout (drunk?) against the Oregon Ducks. I am sure the Herbstreit will love talking about how creative of a playcaller Sark is. Corso will meanwhile make fun of the lawnmower and remind everyone that Oregon is beating us by double digits for the tenth year in a row. This of course will not happen because David HarShaw will have his team mean, nasty, etc and seeking revenge. I expect the Huskies to play like their usual selves on the road so getting the big uglies fired up won't be necessary. Relatedly it looks like Stanford has found the perfect way to exploit our DL weakness - the 9 OL set... http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2013/9/23/4763728/stanford-cardinal-football-offensive-linemen
Of course the greatest thing to happen to Husky football since the firing of Lionel Willingham is the firing of Lane Kiffen. This is our best hope to get rid of Sark this year. Sure, it is a longshot, but there is no way Woodward is firing Sark with all the doogs sniffing his jock. My biggest concern is that Sark won't have signed on the dotted line for USC by Saturday because that is when the hill Sark has built his empire upon will start crumbling. When we are 7-6 at the end of the year all the Trojan morons who think Sark has built something here will be way past him. There is still hope at that point that Snoop's kid still wants Sark at USC but that will be it. I don't think Pat Haden is that stupid though. I personally would put my money on Jack Del Rio but weirder things have happened. If we do somehow manage to unload Sark despite the implosion which starts this weekend then for we NEED to get Mora. Sure, I would take Saban, etc, etc but Mora is really our best shot at getting a good coach. Even though he has a CONTRACT with UCLA I think that we can get him if we are willing to pay for a winner. No matter who we get we need to pay what it takes to get a top tier coach. We have the resources and they coach will pay for himself if he wins. As Red Adair said, "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur". Whoever is the AD when we hire our next coach - just do it right. Pay for a winner and you will get a winner. Roll the dice and odds are the house wins and you lose.
Evens & Ends
Those Arizona uniforms were as fugly as something you might see on the Houston Astros in the 1980s. Our Christmas tree ornament helmets were pretty cool. I don't mind modernizing in that way. Is Rich Rod the next Mark Stoops? Is he angry and chewing someone out or angry and on the verge of a heart attack? I guess Arizona has a type. DeLoss Dodds is stepping down as Texas AD... guess he doesn't want to be the one to fire Mack Brown. Looks like the government shut down might stop the service academies from playing. Navy is playing Airforce this week but Boston College might be left in a lurch against Army. I am not sure what this means but our offense scores more than half their points and our defense allows more than half their points in the third quarter. Discounting the Idaho State game where our starters were pulled early our offense and defense (in terms of percentage of points) by quarter is as follows:
16 - 17 - 53 - 25
0 - 28 - 56 - 16
So far we haven't allowed any first quarter points but our offense seems to start slowly as well. Are we wearing our opponents down as the game wears on (with our defense also getting worn down?) or is something else in play here. We'll see if this trend continues going forward and if it can be attributed to something.