A three game win streak on the heels of a three game losing streak sets the Huskies up for a chance to finish strong with an almost certain opportunity to play in yet a third straight bowl game. Only lowly Colorado and currently dysfunctional WSU remain on the schedule and between them have a total of one win in league play. Needless to say the new coaches at both schools have struggled in their first year in the Pac-12 Conference. Quite by coincidence I traveled to Pullman earlier this year and watched these exact two teams play against each other. It was a terrible game by two obviously struggling teams and I knew immediately that both staffs were in for a long rebuild as both programs had slipped so much in developed talent that they were not going to fare well in this league. I was right because neither has won a game since Colorado literally stole a one right out from under the Cougar’s noses way back in September.
By the luck of the draw the Huskies were stuck with the hardest schedule in America yet somehow Coach Sarkisian and his staff have kept the ship floating and now have an opportunity to be the favorite in a two game series that could help define the picture of Husky football for some years to come. A quality ending to this season would further indicate Coach Sark has this program advancing in a special direction. Already sitting on a quality recruiting class the Huskies could use another 15 practices that comes with a bowl and they could obviously use a convincing win over Colorado to further prove they have taken that next step in becoming an upper echelon team in this conference. Go out and win the ones you’re supposed to! That’s what good team do! They go on the road and take care of business. They’ve proven it to themselves when they beat Cal on the road following their great upset over Oregon State. Last Saturday they took it to a physical Utah team and won with grit and toughness so they have to believe they can finish this season strong. They will need to do the same things in this game by running the football, stopping the run, being solid in the kicking game and winning the turnover battle. Oh, and getting another solid game out of Keith Price will help as well. Price played probably his best game of the season against Utah and another strong performance here would go a long way towards finishing this season on a positive note.
As wonderful as the Husky defense played against Utah in holding them to under 200 yards, they will need to bring a similar effort starting this coming weekend in Boulder. The Buffaloes have struggled this whole year and rank at or near the bottom of almost every statistical category. They have been particularly vulnerable on defense where they regularly give up over 500 yards and 45 points per game. They are still trying to find the right combination of players and consequently have only their victory over WSU to show in the win column. So, at 1 and 9, Colorado is clearly one of the bottom feeders of this league and Washington will want to give a positive performance to impress both Bowl games and potential recruits.
Now granted it could snow but even the 10:30 am starting time shouldn’t affect the Huskies who regularly practice at 8 in the morning. Should it snow or be lousy weather the Huskies would at least be used to it by the time they finish their season in Pullman the day after Thanksgiving.
Coach Sarkisian always preaches “the games to remember are played in November” and his Husky teams always seem to get better as the season goes on. The Huskies will be favored on the road for the first time this year and cannot afford to be looking past Colorado. They have dug themselves out of the hole and some embarrassing losses to Oregon and Arizona when they gave up 52 points a game but they have kept the faith and have a chance at their best season in ten years.
Currently the Huskies are sitting on 18 committed kids for next year and if Washington could finish with a five game winning streak they would do a lot to hold on to those they’ve got and could add about a half dozen more for another infusion of talent. There is still a lot to play for and the players know that the “good” teams go on the road and win the games they’re supposed to. Don’t they?