By Derek Johnson
I'm actually feeling a bit optimistic about the Dawgs.
Never mind for now that the UW athletic department is $15 million in debt. Never mind marketing blunders like Crazy Larry. Or the limp-wristed “No Pity for the Kitty” button campaign from last week.
Never mind that Portland State coach Bruce Barnum literally cashed UW’s game check at halftime, expressing worry it would bounce. Never mind the past fifteen years of Mark Emmert, Tyrone Willingham, Drunk Sark, Todd Turner, Scott Woodward, Jen Cohen and all the incompetence and mismanagement that has destroyed Husky Football as we once knew it and loved it.
I’m trying to find that love for it again. That inner flame. And I hope it starts this week versus Stanford.
Watching the Arizona game, I was never too worried. Even though Washington’s Death Row Defense played more like minimum security inmates. Even though another backup quarterback had a career day against the Huskies. And even though the game went into overtime, I just knew the Dawgs would win.
Why wasn’t I worried? There were two reasons. For one, we have a saying on the Hardcore Husky message boards: “DickRod gonna DickRod”. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez seems to have just enough of that bumbling ineptitude that there was no way his Cats were going to pull it off without more firepower.
And second, there is a sense of athletic talent on this Husky team that we haven’t seen in years. Not the Sark BS that Softy liked to over hype. But real, honest-to-goodness player development. It hasn’t all come together, but it’s there.
Looking at the big picture, the scattered remains of the Husky fan base have suffered enough. The time is now.
The Huskies played ugly in their 35-28 win over Arizona last Saturday night. There is lots to fret over. But they toughed out a conference win on the road. That does mean something.
The 1984 UW team was inducted recently into the Husky Hall of Fame. But I remember that team, ranked #1 in the nation, fighting for its life to beat lowly teams like Oregon and Oregon State. Had Hardcore Husky existed, there would've been irate posters screaming for QB Hugh Millen to throw himself off the Aurora Bridge (Which of course I would’ve deleted and sent PMs telling posters to knock it off).
These ugly games happen more frequently than we wish to admit. Especially as we yell at the TV at seeing a backup QB run 79 yards for a touchdown.
This Friday night will be huge for Husky Football. A win over Stanford pushes the Dawgs to 5-0. With rival Oregon looking like crap and the overall state of the Pac-12 looking like warmed over vomit, the conference crown is there for the taking.
A loss to Stanford might feel like we’re back at square one, longing for a glorious tomorrow that never comes.
But I’ve got a good feeling.