It's Apple Cup week in the Northwest and for the first time in a long while the game is going to be played the weekend after Thanksgiving. I like the Pac Ten trend of later games, it keeps the season going another couple weeks which is fun. It gives us alternatives to what is going on in the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 which have conference championship games.
I like the new Pac Ten contract with ESPN. This year we get a classic Thanksgiving night game between USC and Arizona State in a game that has BCS Bowl implications. This is bowl type exposure for the Pac Ten on a night when most of the people in the country are going to be looking for a football game to watch together. I would like to see the Pac Ten play a game each Thursday night on ESPN in the future. It makes a lot of sense from an exposure point of view. A package of ABC, ESPN, and Fox Cable makes a lot of sense.
Last year Willingham cost his team a winning record by taking the steam out of them before the Stanford game by announcing that some players were being asked to graduate before their eligibility had expired. This year he had no surprises, all the fourth year seniors have been apparently awarded another year in the program. Juan Garcia is contemplating going pro and says he will make his mind up before the team heads to Hawaii. Most think he is leaning toward staying another year. Next year would be Juan's 6th year, and he already has one degree, and is close to completing a second. Pretty good job for a kid who barely got in school, and it shows you how a football scholarship can change your life if taken seriously.
Big Aloha Surprise
I had my 49th birthday this past Saturday. We did things pretty low key this year. We watched the game on TV, and then went out to dinner.
At dinner Kate handed me a small box to open. In it were four Husky Football tickets for the Hawaii game. I was pretty surprised, and was happy to learn that one of my best friends from high school was also going with us.
So we are going to be in Honolulu for the game!
Hopefully for my 50th we will be in Pasadena for a Husky Rose Bowl Game!
When Washington State, and Washington adjusted schedules this year so each team could have a bye the Cougars ended up on the short end of the stick. Coach Doba said he doesn't want to play another home game against an opponent other than Washington on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The Cougars only drew 23,000 to the game which was played in very ugly weather. I have a suggestion, why don't the Cougars play their annual Seattle game later in the year? The weather is better, the facilites are better, the attendance is better, and most of the students are already over in the Seattle area on vacation. It isn't like the Cougars are playing marquee out of conference opponents in Qwest early anyway.
Bud Withers has a nice story from the Cougar perspective going into the Apple Cup.
Having just stumbled out of the woodshed after its 52-17 crunching at the hands of Oregon State on Saturday, Washington State might be in need of a little historical boost. Here's as much as we can do: Last time the Cougars came to Seattle for an Apple Cup as about a six-point underdog? (They're a 5 ½-point 'dog Saturday.) Oh, 1997, when WSU thwarted the Huskies, 41-35, and thus partied on to its first Rose Bowl in 67 years. The bad news is, this team isn't bringing Ryan Leaf. (The good news is, that's also a bonus for civility, goodwill and good manners.)
Every week Nathan and I talk a little Husky football in his PI Sports Blog. We finally had some positive things to talk about after a nice win. I have to tell you it was difficult to be positive after Oregon State
John: Were you surprised how dominant we were running the ball on Saturday?
Nathan: Shocked. Absolutely shocked. I know the Cal D isn't the second coming of the 85' Bears but I thought they would be better than they were. The Dawgs' offensive line was as good as we've seen in several years.
Nathan also writes about the smash mouth running game the Huskies used last week to beat California.
The last 24 hours of fan chatter have been very interesting to me. I had a few e-mails from readers about the blocking on the offensive line and an interesting comment on Monday's blog post about it, too. UW fans loved the traditional, run-it-down-your-throat style that Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano used against Cal.