It's been a very strange month since the Huskies defeated Wazzu in the Apple Cup. The coaching turnover has created a great deal of uncertainty at Montlake, but hopefully Tui's leadership and overall Husky-ness will be enough to refocus this team on the task at hand: securing a 9th win and getting revenge on some Mormons.
I'm still pissed at the Fightin' Brigham Youngs for the infamous 2008 game when Jake Locker was outrageously penalized for a TD celebration, which resulted in a blocked extra point and a Husky loss. That terrible penalty call also resulted in head referee Larry Farina earning Douchebag of the Year honors.
Still pissed at you, Lawrence.
UW also lost at BYU in 2010 when Jake Heaps was their quarterback (remember when that guy was a can't-miss prospect? Spoiler alert: he missed). So the Huskies should be out for revenge in addition to a 9th win tonight.
Sophomore QB Taysom Hill is a legit athlete and fellow sophomore Jamaal Williams has been very productive in his young Cougar career. Plus most of their guys are 1-2 years older than other teams due to taking missions (i.e. pestering people around the world about Joe Smith and cosmology). Just look at this guy:
He actually grew that 'stache in the '80s.
That's Spencer Hadley. He's a 32 year-old, 14th-year senior with 3 wives ((like I wasn't gonna make one polygamy joke, c'mon, you know me better than that.)
On paper, UW is a more talented team than BYU, but could struggle after the emotional roller coaster of the last few weeks. Teams respond differently to coaching changes and uncertainty around the program: Boise State came out flat as hell against the Beavers and got rolled while USC jumped all over Fresno State and blew them out. It'll certainly be a testament to Coach Tui's head coaching potential if he can keep this team focused and motivated tonight. Especially now that it's been reported that starting safety Will Shamburger and starting guard Dexter Charles (arguably UW's best OL) won't be playing.
Speaking of Tui, he will be deciding on his coaching future after the game. The word around Montlake is that he was offered a position on Coach Pete's staff coaching tight ends. It's hard not to see this move as a step down for Tui, and the fact that he's waiting to announce until after the game makes me think he won't be returning to UW next year. I really hope he does though.
Tui showing off his "Husky Face."
Reports came out today that Justin Wilcox will follow Sark to USC. That sucks, but makes sense with Wilcox's good buddy Peter Sirmon going down there and USC moving on from their DC Clancy Pendergast. Wilcox worked wonders for the UW defense so hopefully former Boise State DC Pete Kwiatkowski (man that is a bitch to type) can keep the improvement going.
Then there's Tosh Lupoi. It sounds like he won't be returning to UW or going to USC. My feeling is he'll resurface in the SEC where recruiting violations and less-than-ethical behavior ain't no big thang. Losing Tosh puts a dent in recruiting, but ultimately, he might be more trouble than he's worth. Hopefully the former BSU coaches can develop into top-flight recruiters (I'm looking at you Keith Bhonapha and Jimmy Lake).
As far as tonight's game goes, I was surprised to see that the Vegas line has actually increased from favoring UW by 3 points to 4.5. The coaching flux and Husky injuries make me pretty nervous about this game, but ultimately I think the Huskies are galvanized from their "we all we got, we all we need" mantra and will come away with the victory. It's not going to be easy though, call it 30-27 UW.
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