Bowl-Starved Huskies, Success-Starved Locker Need Win Saturday
Probably Joni Mitchell did not write “Big Yellow Taxi” with college football in mind, but really, don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
In a previous lifetime, Husky fans didn’t worry about whether their team would go to a bowl game. They worried about which one. Former head coach Jim Lambright, a defensive genius and heir to Don James, was fired after leading the 1998 Dawgs to the Oahu Bowl, partially because UW fans thought the Oahu Bowl was as beneath us as beating Oregon State by any less than three touchdowns.
Now, after seven seasons without a postseason appearance (despite the fact that the number of bowl games has grown 40 percent in that time), Husky fans would be thrilled with any bowl. Beef ‘O Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl? Sign us up, and pass the Nachos ‘O Brady (TM).
Teams need at least a .500 record to make a bowl game. The Huskies are 4-6. So they’ll need a win Saturday at Cal to keep their hopes alive. The Dawgs are a 7-point underdog against a Cal program that’s in disarray. A 48-14 blowout loss to Stanford in “The Big Game” has Cal fans disheartened. Their once potent passing attack was already bad with disappointing senior Kevin Riley behind center–then Riley got hurt. Replacement Brock Mansion, a junior, hasn’t thrown a TD pass in any of his three starts, and has tossed 4 interceptions.
The Huskies’ biggest weakness is their pass defense, a weakness that Cal ought not be able to exploit. Meanwhile, Husky QB Jake Locker is said to be recovering from a fractured rib. The senior is not only playing for his final chance to get to a college bowl game, but for his financial future. A disappointing senior season has cost the talented Locker millions–once a consensus top 5 pick and thus guaranteed tens of millions, Locker may not even be drafted in the first round.
A Husky win would set up a very interesting Apple Cup a week from Saturday in Pullman. Washington State would be able to knock the Huskies out of a bowl with a win, which would pretty much make their season.
Game’s at 12:30 p.m. at Cal, watch on FSN.
NOTE ABOUT A HUSKY TEAM THAT IS ACTUALLY GOOD: Also on Saturday, at 10:00 a.m., the Washington women’s soccer team plays for a spot in the NCAA Tourney Final Four. The unranked Huskies have had a Cinderella run through the tourney, upsetting #2 Portland on penalty kicks in round 1, and #16 UC Irvine in OT in round 2. Their quarterfinal game is at #18 Boston College; you’ll apparently be able to follow it on a GameTracker, accessible here.