Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Bowl Preview

 When the the Washington Huskies and the Nebraska Cornhuskers play in the Holiday Bowl tonight it will be the second out three meetings in a 12- month span.

The two teams created an intense rivalry during the 90's as they met four times from 1991 to 1999 with both teams winning twice. However, a Nebraska 56-21 win on September 18th has given the Cornhuskers a three game winning streak over the Huskies.

I posted my preview of the mid September showdown a few weeks ago but will do it again here.  

Same thing for my game recap. You can view it here.

The game turned out to be a disaster in many ways. The Huskies played bad defensively, offensively and on Special teams. More importantly at the time Heisman candidate Jake Locker had the worse game of his college career as he only accumulated 71 passing yards.

If the Huskies are going to upset the Cornhuskers tonight the Huskies will have to play better on all three phases of the ball. In Huskies wins this year Jake Locker has thrown 13 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions. In contrast, in Huskies loses the Locker has thrown four touchdown passes and five interceptions.

The Huskies have accomplished a lot of things this year. A road win for the first time since 2007, a three game wining streak for the first time since 2006 and lastly a bowl bid for the first time since 2002. Regardless on tonight's outcome the  Huskies should be proud of the way the Huskies season has gone. For Huskies fans its realizing how far this team has come in just under two years. Not many football programs would be able to go from a o-12 season in 2008 to a bowl bid in 2010.

For Nebraska, the Cornhuskers are coming into the game feeling a bit down emotionally. Nebraska had high hopes for the season. The team picked by many experts including me, to win the Big 12 title and advance to the Fiesta Bowl or even the BCS National Title game. With the Cornhuskers under achieving  this year and to end up in the Holiday, the Cornhuskers might not be in the game mentally which is good news if your a Husky fan.

Nebraska hasn't showed signs of a let down after a emotional games this year but anything is possible. Tonight's game also marks the last game for Nebraska in the Big 12. Next year Nebraska will move to the Big 10 where the Big 10 will become the New Big 12.

Coach Steve Sarkisian has talked all year about expecting to win. Well can you actually expect to win after Nebraska beat you by 35 points at Husky Stadium. Tonight the slogan should be "Expect to Compete" I expect for the Huskies to compete tonight. Nebraska is by far the more superior team and if QB Taylor Martinez plays like he did in Seattle in September the Huskies have no shot. My prediction will be the Huskies will play hard but will come but  will come up short losing 41-28.

The game will start at 7pm and will be on ESPN

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Huskies Look for Strong Start When They Take on USC

When the Washington Huskies (8-3) take on the USC Trojans (8-5) it will be the battle of the tempos. Washington an uptempo team, who likes to push the ball up and down the floor will go up against a USC team that likes to play in the half court.

Washington was ranked 17th at the start of the year, but since then has fallen out of polls, they could make a name for them selves with two good wins this week. That being said if the Huskies play poorly this week against USC and UCLA it could be an uphill climb for the rest of the year.

Last year the Huskies had high hopes going into Pac 10 play. However, an 1-3 start to Pac 10 play forced them to go 10-4 in their remaining fourteen games. Even than 11-7 was not enough to get the Huskies an At Large bid. Fortunately, the Huskies were able to win the Pac 10 tournament down in Los Angels to get the Huskies 11 seed in last years NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies were able to get to the Sweet 16 and gave West Virginia a run for their money during that game. The Huskies made it clear during the tournament run that they would be the team to beat in the Pac 10 for years to come.

The Huskies though will likely not have the success they enjoyed last year if the Huskies get off to another slow start this year in the Pac 10. When I first saw the Pac 10 schedule in July my first thoughts were that the schedule played into the Huskies favor. The first four games the Huskies play will be games they were 1-3 last year. The Huskies after taking on the LA schools at LA will host the Oregon schools. The Huskies should easily be able to go 2-2 in these four games but could also easily go 3-1. The Huskies next few games will consist of a road trip to the Bay Area schools, Cal an Stanford. Then another short home stand against the Arizona schools. After that the Huskies will have a date with the Washington State Cougars in Pullman. The Huskies should aim for 4-1 during these five games but still should be okay with 3-2. The Huskies next four games will be at the Oregon schools and home to the Bay Area schools. No question about it but the Huskies should go 4-0 during these four games. The Huskies last five Pac 10 games will be between the Arizona schools on the road than a three game home stand to end the year against Washington State and the LA schools.. The Huskies should aim to go 4-1 during those five games putting the Huskies at a 13-5 Pac 10 record.

If you add that to the 8-3 record now, plus the assumed win over Seattle U on February 22. The Huskies will be 22-8 entering the Pac 10 tournament at the Staples Centre, which is one game better than last year. With the Pac 10 being stronger this year I expect the Huskies to be around a 7 seed entering the Tournament but at this point its hard to tell.

For the game its self tonight. The winner  of the game tonight will be the team that controlls the tempo. USC is playing some good basketball right now as they beat Tennessee and lost to Kansas both on the road before Christmas.

The game plan tonight is simple for Washington tonight. Get C.J. Wilcox and Isaiah Thomas shooting the ball well and the Huskies win. However, the Huskies have been inconsistent shooting the ball all year and don't expect that to change. USC will play well and get offense from Jio Fonton and Nikola Vucevic. USC  will  be too big and too much for Washington and USC will win 75-59. Washington will struggle offensively all night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Huskies Looking to Take One More Step Further Against Nebraska In Holiday Bowl

When Steve Sarkisian took the Washington Huskies job in the after the 0-12 season in 2008, the word   rebuilding was not in his dictionary.

In Sarkisian's first two years as head coach the Huskies have gone 11-13 in 24 games. His team has been in  most of games at halftime and are 6-4 in games that are decided by seven points or less, including a 4-1 record this year.

The biggest thing that Steve Sarkisian has talked about to the team is "Expect to Win". That has been the slogan all year for Washington and when the Huskies take on the 18th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers a moral victory is not on the Huskies minds.

To describe how bad the loss was to Nebraska you can view by game recap here.

An upset win though is a tall order. Nebraska destroyed Washington 56-21 at Husky Stadium. During that game Taylor Martinez the scramble quarterback ran for three touchdowns with 19 carries and 137 yards. In contrast, Jake Locker was 4/20 for 71 yards one touchdown and two interceptions. For Washington to pull off the upset the Huskies will have to play an almost perfect game.

With Washington's bowl bid the Huskies will also be able to practice 15 extra times. Washington's Senior stars such as Jake Locker, Mason Foster and D'Andre Goodwin  stepped up in a big way for the Huskies, the practices are mostly to build for the future. Players like Colin Porter, Erik Kohler, Sean Parker and Jesse Callier should really benefit  from the extra practices. Not to mention Keith Price and Nick Montana, who will fight for the starting quarterback job next year.

The rematch will also give anther chance for the defense to show how much they have improved. Nick Holt said a few days after the 56-21 loss to Nebraska " the UW defense would love to play the game over again. " The Huskies defense will get their opportunity on December 30th. The question is have the Huskies defense learned enough to make the game competitive.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Not A Playoff?

Three weeks ago I was pretty sick and I was missing school. I was getting behind school so I was doing a lot of work at home. One of my assignments was to write a essay about something you felt strongly about. My teacher called them Freedom writing Journals. We had watched the movie and read the book.   The movie is about kids in California   who are involved in gangs and don't care about school. They get put in school where Mrs. Gruwell teaches them how to write really well. 

Since I am a big College Football fan I decided to write about the BCS system and why College Football needs a playoff. Enjoy! 

 Why Not A Playoff?

 The college football regular season is coming to the end and again there is some major controversy about who should be in the National Championship in early January. In most sports there is a playoff system that consists of six to sixteen teams depending on the sport. In college football there is something called the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The system is odd in many ways and it is time to get rid of the BCS because it is unfair, there are  great match-ups to be had with a playoff system,  and  there is loads of revenue to be made from a playoff system which would benefit other sports as well.

 Firstly, the BCS is extremely unfair because of a team’s schedule. It is better to have a hard schedule in the first part of the season than the last part of the season. For example, If you
have two teams with 11-1 records at the end of the season then the team that lost their game early on in the season would have a higher BCS ranking between the two teams.  In 2008 the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns both finished the season with an 11-1 record. Texas had already beaten Oklahoma during the season for Oklahoma’s loss but since Texas got upset by the Texas Tech Red Raiders, that opened the door again for Oklahoma to get in the National Championship game.  With a playoff system we wouldn’t have this problem because both Oklahoma and Texas would be in the playoffs. 

 Also, with a playoff system comes great match-ups that we wouldn’t see with the BCS. The BCS determines which teams get into which bowls. Therefore, we see the same games year after year in the same bowl. For example, the Rose Bowl played annually on January 1st is between the Pac 10 winner and the Big 10 winner. Consequently, it is possible for the same two teams to play two or three years in a row in the same bowl. With a playoff system you would have a variety of match-ups as the teams in the playoffs would be seeded differently each year. 

 Lastly. a playoff system would work better than the BCS because of revenue. If a team makes a bowl game, they get money for their school and conference. If you have a playoff of 10 teams you could possibly be in four extra games. These playoff games would have the same hype and attention as a bowl game. If your team keeps wining in the playoffs your team keeps getting on TV. Therefore, your school would make even more money. For example, the Boise State Broncos are a very small college which has a powerful football team. They get punished every year for being in the Western Athletic Conference  (WAC). This team would really benefit from extra nationally televised games against teams that are in major conferences. Also, the more revenue a team brings in helps that school keep other lesser sports running. College football brings in 85% of all revenue which helps all sports, not just football.

 In conclusion,  college football needs to implement a playoff because the BCS is unfair,  there are great match-ups to be had in  a 10 team playoff,  and there is lots of extra revenue to be generated from tv and other sources currently unavailable.

The Essay got a 5/6. I thought I did a pretty good job on it. If I controlled College Football I would have a 1o team playoff. 10 teams would be a good number because currently they're five BCS Bowls. However, the teams in the Tournament would be the AP Top 25. That makes sense to me because a team like Uconn does not deserve to be in a BCS Bowl. In Contrast, Boise State does deserve to be in a BCS bowl but they're not. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Huskies Will Go On A Holiday In Late December To San Diego

The Washington Huskies late serge at the end of the season to finish bowl eligible has given them a chance to revenge their mid September loss to Nebraska. The opportunity comes as the Huskies and Cornhuskers were picked to face off in the Holiday Bowl on December 30th in San Diego California.

The decision for the rematch is very odd. Very rarely do you see two teams play twice in one year. Furthermore, when the game was so lopsided on Nebraska's side but the selection committee was faced with a tough decision. The committee could of made Arizona and Nebraska fight it out for the Holiday Bowl. However, those teams played last year in the Holiday Bowl and Nebraska destroyed Arizona 33-0.

If you are still confused I will lay it out for you.

  1. Oregon went 12-0 and got a National Championship berth on January 10, 2011.
  2. Stanford finished 11-1 and they deserve a BCS berth. So Stanford was put in the Orange Bowl. 
  3. Washington finished 6-6 and 5-4 in Pac 10. 
  4. Arizona ended up 7-5 but 4-5 in Pac 10. 
  5. USC finished Bowl eligible but is serving their first of two years of being band from any bowls.
Washington finished with a better conference record than Arizona however, with Arizona dominating Washington on October 23rd in Tuscon 44-14 and Arizona having a better overall record than Washington the Alamo Bowl decided to pick Arizona instead of Washington. 

The situation will work out fine. Washington will be more likely to land recruits in San Diego than in San Antonio where the Alamo Bowl is played. Also, Washington will find out how far they have came since losing to Nebraska 56-21. 

Here is my preview I wrote for the game in September. Here it is.

If you want to take the topic about why the Holiday Bowl is a better fit for Washington than the Alamo Bowl is because Washington will travel better to San Diego than they would have to San Antonio. San Antonio is less of a tourist destination than San Antonio. You could make an argument that Huskies fans would travel anywhere because the Huskies are in their first bowl since 2002 but in the long run the Holiday Bowl is a better fit for Washington. Don't forget the Huskies basketball team plays at USC on December 29th and at UCLA on New Years Eve.

It doesn't really matter what bowl game the Huskies are in. What Steve Sarkisian has done is truly amazing. He has took an 0-12 team in 2008 to a bowl game in 2010. The fan base is extremely critical sometimes of what Sarkisian does. What the Husky fans have to realize is that most schools would take five to ten years to get to a bowl and Washington has done it in two years. Mission accomplished Huskies fans.

I would also like to say something I have wanting to say for a long time. " USC fans will not be going bowling this year but Washington will!"

I will continue to have more on this big game next week sometime.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Huskies Get Bowl Eligible With 35-28 Win Over Cougars

It wasn't how the Huskies would have drawn it up at the start of of the season but the Washington Huskies are going to a bowl game for the first time in eight years following their 35-28 win over the Cougars to win the Apple Cup.

In a game that had everything Washington got off to a quick start scoring on their first possession to lead 7-0. After Jeff Tuel couldn't get the Washington State offense going, Washington made it 14-0 following Jake Locker's 7 yard scamper. It looked like Washington would cruise to their second Apple Cup victory in a row. The Cougars had other ideas. After Loker threw a pick in the en zone, Jeff Tuel got his offense fired up and went for a touchdown to only trail 14-7 at Halftime. 

Coach Steve Sarkisian at halftime got the Huskies to regroup. On the Huskies first possession Jake Locker on a third and five would find Jermaine kearse for a 66 yard Touchdown pass to regain the 14 point lead. Washington State though would battled back. With 5:53 to go in the third quarter Jeff Tuel would trim the lead back to seven with a 16 yard Touchdown pass pass. It would remain that way to the fourth when Chris Polk went for a 57 yard touchdown run to give the Huskies a 28-14 lead. After the Cougars scored twice in a row Jake Locker and the Huskies offense went on a legendary drive to save the Huskies season and maybe Coach Sark's job. With 44 seconds to go on a 1st and 21 Locker found an open Jermaine Kearse for the wining touchdown. 

It is said in sports sometimes big time players make big time plays. In Saturday's win no Husky made bigger plays than Chris Polk. He ran for 284 yards on 29 carries with two touchdown runs. His effort could only be described as clutch. His 284 yards sits second all time in Huskies history.

When people talk about rivalry games not many people mention the Apple Cup. On Saturday we saw a classic example of how any team can beat any team on any given day more so in rivalries. I think why the Apple Cup is so intense is because most years there is so much on the line. There is bragging rights, bowl berths and in the past Rose Bowl berths. Also, in other rivalries such as Florida - Florida State those are not the only big football schools in the country so you don't get that many close games. But in the Apple Cup the winner is the best football team in the State. 

For Washington State, their fans are feeling sad after another tough season. Paul Wulff in his three years with the team has gone 5-32. The bright side is that the Cougars have a very exciting quarterback who could easily be playing on Sunday's after his Senior year. Tuel this year passed for just under three thousand yards this year and should reach that milestone next year as Tuel will be one year more mature from a football standpoint and his offensive line should be better. For me there was no sock that the game was as close as it was.

For Washington a bowl game means everything. Sarkisian despite his questionable play calling should be the Huskies coach for at least the next two years. Also, with the bowl game Washington will get to practice 15 extra times. This may not seem like much but this should really help players like Chris Polk, Quinton Richarson and Kieth Price as they will be important players for next season as they could use some much need reps.

However, the talk in Seattle is not about next year. On Sunday it was revealed that the Huskies will get another shot at redemption versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Washington played brutal in the 56-21 loss in Seattle on September 18th. The Seniors on the Huskies team would love to go out with a epic upset on December 30th.

I will have more on the Nebraska game as the month progresses.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Huskies Versus Cougars Preview

The Huskies travel to Pullman with one goal in mind and one goal only. To win the Apple Cup and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2002.

Yes, it has been that long. Eight long years of not going to a bowl could be over with a win over Washington State. The Cougars have had another long season under Head Coach Paul Wulff. Wullf is 5-31 as the Cougars head coach and a loss in the Apple Cup could cost him his job as it wasn't too long ago the Cougars were an ordinary Pac 10 team fighting for a bowl game year in and year out.

Steve Sarkisian the Huskies head coach on the other hand will oppose him on the opposite sidelines today. His 10-13 record as the Huskies head coach has the Huskies fans excited about the teams future. A 5-7 record last year followed by a possible bowl game this year would show how much Sarkisian has turned this storied football program around following their 2008 season where they went 0-12.

However, a loss to a 2-9 Washington State team would have the Huskies fans wondering is Sarkisian the right man for the job. The Huskies have not shown any consistency in Sarkisian's time here in Washington. They have played extremely well at times but have also played pretty sloppy at times.

This should be a major concern for Huskies fans. Washington State's record of 2-9 doesn't show how hard this team has competed. Except for the Oklahoma State, Stanford and Arizona State games, the Cougars have competed really hard which is a positive to their football program. Washington has to be ready for anything as Washington State has had had three weeks between games.

Jeff Tuel the Washington State quarter back will try to spoil Washington's bowl hopes by himself. With his team ranked 117th (out of 120 teams) in total rushing yards, Tuel will try to beat the Huskies with his arm as well as his legs. Tuel not known for his running ability though he did run for 79 yards on 18 carries in the Cougars upset win over Oregon State.

Washington defense has really improved over the past few weeks. They have only allowed one offensive touchdown in the last two games. The Huskies will face a much tougher task than last two weeks as the Huskies have faced buck up quarterbacks the last two weeks. Jeff Tuel is a much more dynamic quarterback than Cal's Brock Mansion and UCLA's Richard Brehaut. The defense as a unit needs to step up as a team to stop the passing attack as the Cougars have some wide receivers that could make it a long day for Nick Holt and the Huskies defense.

Even though the Huskies are the favorite to win the Apple Cup this game will not be a walk in the park for the Dawgs as over the years there has been many upsets. The biggest one came in 1982 when the Washington State Cougars knocked off the #5 Washington Huskies. The Huskies came into the game as overwhelming favorites. However, the Cougars came out victorious 24-20 to knock the Huskies out of the Rose Bowl.

The forecast in Pullman tomorrow is for it to be cold with temperatures hovering and mid 20's and no snow. The weather should give the advantage to the Huskies as they have the better running game. When the Huskies give the ball to Chris Polk 20 or more times Washington is 3-0. It could be a big day for Polk as the Cougars rush defense is very young  this year and needs improvement. Polk will try to reach the 1000 yard plateau for the second consecutive year. The running game will be essential for the Huskies wining the rivalry game.

My prediction is that the Huskies will take care of business today and will win the Apple Cup for the second year in a row. .Jake Locker will play smart football and Chris Polk will have a big game with two rushing touchdowns. Jeff Tuel will do what he can do to keep his team in the game but it will not be enough. The Huskies will win 27-17 and will get a good effort from there Special teams. The game is scheduled for a 4pm start and will be televised on Versus.