Ezra Shaw - Getty Images
What thoughts are going through that USC player's mind?
"I'm not surprised, not everything lasts
I've broken my heart so many times, I stopped keeping track
Talk myself in, I talk myself out
I get all worked up, then I let myself down
"I tried so very hard not to lose it
I came up with a million excuses
I thought, I thought of every possibility
"And I know someday that it'll all turn out ..." - Michael Buble
Who: Stanford @ UW
Where: Century Link Field, Seattle, WA
When: Thursday, September 21, 2012, at 6:00 pm Pacific Time
Tune in to ESPN to catch all the action!
The Dawgs and the Cardinal are a close 40-38-4 in a rivalry that more or less started in 1920. The first two games of the series were real barn burners, with Stanford taking the first game 3-0, followed by a much closer game which ended in a 0-0 tie. (Note: In 1929 there was yet another 0-0 tie ...) The team that holds the longest winning streak is Stanford at 10 (from 1967 - 1976 ...); that was one rough decade.
That decade paled in comparison to the complete and utter dominance by the Huskies. They proceeded to go 20-2 over the next 22 years ... all the way until 2003.
Unfortunately, the Cardinal has really had its way with the Huskies since then, with the Dawgs sole win after that immaculate streak coming in 2007. The last 2 years have been particularly inebriating, with Stanford winning by a combined 106-21. Some say the Cardinal has gotten into USC's head ... well I think the Cardinal has gotten into UW's head too.
Both teams are coming off a bye week. I have seen many arguments on both sides regarding how the bye week will help one team more than the other ... I say: "WHO COULD POSSIBLY KNOW THAT!!!?" The bye week could help the underdawg more, and nobody would know it after the game if the underdawg lost 45 - 10. But hey, questions without answers are the best ones to argue about! That's why lawyers have jobs.
I like how Sark has decided to take a slightly different approach in preparing each week, though there is a high probability that Sark's comments were just well-aimed semantics that obviously worked their magic on my feeble brain. But really, when you get down to the bottom of it, preparation is really about us anyway.
These kids are really young, and, quite honestly, they just need to prepare themselves for game day regardless of the opponent. Once that preparation routine is in place, and the kids come in with the "I'm going to eat you now and crap you out after the game mentality ... even if you're USC" mentality, the coaches will start seeing the production they want. Right now, it's a mental game for the young guys, and for the old ones too.
0 - the number of points the Dawgs scored at home 2 years ago against the Furd
1 - Stanford's national rank in rushing defense
1.6 - the average yards per rush Cardinal opponents are putting up this year
3 - the number of rushing TDs Stanford has allowed this year
4 - the total number of TDs Stanford has allowed this year
5 - the number of touchbacks Stanford has forced this year on kickoffs
8 - the number of sacks Stanford has tallied this year
24 - the number of penalties UW has had so far this year
41 - the average number of yards Stanford is giving up on the ground per game this year
113 - the average number of yards per game UW is gaining on the ground this year
174 - the average number of yards per game UW is giving up on the ground this year
Questions Needing Answers
Offense: Will our ground game get more forward yards than backward ones? How long will Keith Price have, on average, to throw the ball when he needs to? Will there be any new injuries on the offensive line? Will throwing to set up the run even work? Doesn't that require decent pass protection? Will ASJ get tagged with one or more holding penalties this game?
Defense: Even if we stack the box with 8 guys, can we still stop the run? How many sacks will we be able to get this week? When will Danny Shelton start eating the opposing linemen? What dazzling stuff are we going to see out of "Shaqillicious" this week?
Miscellaneous: When will the clown stomping end? Does the Harbaugh effect still work since Jim is in San Francisco? Who's bringing the chainsaw this week?
Come on UW, we've known each other for so long ... and yet, I feel like I haven't met you yet. Show me who you are this week, and it better be good!