Yes. Oregon Week. It is once again upon us which means Duck fans get to come over here and parade through our ranks noting an extended streak of dominance that is unlike any in the history of our long rivalry. Thanks to nine straight victories, the heathens from Stinker's Mudhole (or whatever it used to be call) have clear and unquestioned bragging rights, despite a rather pathetic all-time record of 38-51-4 against UW.
And it really hasn't been close.
This has been a pretty satisfying run for Duck fans who, despite nearly a decade of dominance, have managed to hold on to the burning embers of unjustified hate for so long, that it has come to define them. Far removed from whatever incidents inspired it, Duck fans hate just for the sake of hating. They lever their hate to recruit new fans and to breed more hate. It's a self-fulfilling cycle of hatred that is not diminished by their success but, rather, fueled by it. I'm not sure college sports has seen anything quite its equal (though I imagine Auburn / Alabama is close), but it is a phenomenon that knows no end.
Unfortunately, this "sports hate" as our friends at ATQ like to call it has some unintended consequences (and, by "unintended" I do mean unintended by BOTH SIDES of the rivalry). Oregon fans will use terms like "Hate Week" and "Fuck Washington" in their dialogue as loosely as we will use terms like "hello" and "how's it hanging, Lear". These are pleasantries in their dialogue. Are they meant to provoke? Sure. Are they meant to blatantly insult. Mostly not. However, after a long streak of gashing losses to our rivals in the South, I fear that our tolerance for even the most banal provocations has started to reach its limits.
As such, I'd like to remind you that there is a lot of good things to debate and discuss here. We have a ton of really great Duck fans that are visitors here and they want to talk sports and engage in a little friendly ribbing. That's great - it is encouraged. To those of you that will engage in comments that are meant to provoke or ridicule (including passive aggressively), just be warned that we will shut that down quickly. This week is the first week in many years that there is genuine interest in what the outcomes of this game might be:
Good morning Seattle. @CollegeGameDay excited to head to U-dub for 1st time! Got a beautiful backdrop picked out. Can Dawgs bounce back?— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) October 6, 2013
This game is drawing national attention. ESPN College Gameday is visiting Husky Stadium despite the game being carried on another network. There are boatloads of reasons to be interacting with each other. But sniping isn't going to go very far, so please avoid doing so. In addition, please be mindful of our DawgPound decorum rules keep the language clean (at least until the game thread) and ignore trolls. Also, remember, that the Ducks have earned some bragging rights. Let them have their moments and we'll remember to pay it back next year.
Now, on to the Dots.
- The come-down from last Saturday Night's all-out slugfest is still in process for many a Husky fan. There are dozens of story lines that are still lingering. Among them is the decision by the Pac 12 officiating crew to reverse a ruled-catch. I can honestly say that the ball looked like it was trapped.
Did not see evidence for that reversal to seal Stanford W. Been puzzled by replay booths decisions at 2 big night games..— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) October 6, 2013
The ruling there certainly didn't cost us the game (that was on Special Teams) but it cost us an opportunity to make a comeback that the Dawgs were earning. The Pac 12 officials ought to be proud.
- CBS's Bruce Feldman had some nice words for both the Cardinal and the Huskies in his analysis of "the meaning" of the game to both teams. He also made note of the fact that Steve Sarkisian's comments about how the game ended "read worse" in print than how they were communicated ... a reminder that the context of the spoken word often doesn't translate in print.
- Speaking of which, calm down Ben Gardener and Shayne Skov. No matter what you did or didn't do, nobody is accusing you of anything more than legal gamesmanship.
We got the dub, UW is a hell of a team period. If I'm having docs look at me on the sideline I'm not faking it. Grow up, n watch the replay— Shayne Skov (@ShayneSkov11) October 6, 2013
Skov didn't take a dive, I didn't take a dive. Never have never will. Stay classy Washington— Ben Gardner (@BennyG49) October 6, 2013
For what it's worth, I don't think either Stanford player faked their injury, but I also don't think they did much to hustle off the field...which I think was what Sark was eluding to in his commentary.
- Despite the loss, the national perception of the Huskies remains mostly unchanged if not slightly more impressed. The Sporting News' Matt Hayes thinks that the Huskies should take a lot of confidence out of Palo Alto.
- Ted Miller says that sometimes, close does count.
- Andy Staples chimed in with some positive words of his own, leading with the Stanford / UW game in the lead of his weekly recap column (Andy also alludes to the fact that he couldn't see whatever it was that the refs saw to overturn the last play).
- The AP's Ralph Russo called it a "statement loss" for UW - implying that the perception of the quality of the program undoubtedly was boosted in spite of the outcome
- The Daily UW has seen enough to conclude that the Huskies are an upper echelon team and that their "fighting spirit" has got them there.
- Anybody who watched Keith Price play on Saturday night would agree that it was among the most gritty and gutsy single game performances ever seen by a college QB. Price was under pressure all night and took hit after hit (after hit, after hit) but was still unstoppable. Despite injuring his right thumb in the third quarter, Keith put up his best game as a Husky (Baylor included) by throwing 33-48 (69%) for 350 yards and two TDs in a game where he got sacked 5 times. In doing so, he earned an ESPN Pac 12 Blog helmet sticker and totally outclassed his much more heralded rival, Kevin Hogan, who was held to a paltry 12 completions for 100 yards. One blogger suggested that Keith Price may be playing at the highest level of all Pac 12 quarterbacks. This may be a defensible position until we see what Marcus Mariota can do against a defense that poses a little more resistance than a wet tissue.
After a game like this, there are some characters that I'd like to make a shout out to ... just to recognize them for their efforts against Stanford.
- Keith Price ... #TrueLeader
- Bishop Sankey ... ran like a true "war daddy" against a nasty and physical opponent
- Shaq Thompson ... electric playmaking in run support and in coverage
- Marcus Peters ... one of the two best cover corners in the Pac 12 right now
- Justin Wilcox ... my favorite Duck ever (Akili Smith is second)
- Danny Shelton ... go back and watch the game again and you'll see what I mean. Wow.
- Hau'oli Kikaha ... could we have hoped for anything more after two knee surgeries
- Travis Feeny ... welcome back, son
- Darrell Daniels ... you lost the play on the penalty, but you gained our attention and respect
- Kasen Williams ... outrageous athleticism that will show up in a lot of NFL draft reports
- Travis Coons ... a fake with Shaq leading and the Punter initiating contact on a tackler? Priceless
- Kevin Smith ... hot and cold, but a gamer all the way
- Evan Hudson ... we saw you in there scratching and clawing. Not bad for a converted TE
- John Timu ... nothing got past him all night - 3.8 ypc is all that Tyler Gaffney could muster
- Marques Tuiasosopo ... not sure how you did it, but thanks for bringing KP back
- Duck Week is finally here. Yay. If you'd like a history on the Duck / UW rivalry told from the other point of view, check out this lengthy treatise. There is some slandering of UW going on in there, but it is an entertaining read.
- The Oregonian's beat writer, Jason Quick, has a "first-look" at the Oregon / UW game and offers his prediction for the outcome. Guess who he is picking.
- One player that won't be impacting the game is former Oregon TE, Colt Lyerla, who has left the team. Ted Miller is calling this "addition by subtraction" and Oregon fans, who just one month ago were arguing that Colt was among the best TEs in the country due to his freakish athleticism, seem to now think that the loss is minimal. Regardless, I think this is a pretty ballsy move (and one that earns high respect) for Coach Helfrich who, in my opinion, is showing a certain backbone that not even Chip Kelly could muster when dealing with the likes of Cliff Harris or Kiko Alonso. Count me among who think the Ducks are actually more formidable with a man like that running the ship.
- Finally, a little fun for those of you that have had the experience of attending a real University. The Oregonian's Terry Richard has been doing a Pac 12 College Campus tour and documenting it for Oregon's top selling newspaper. His conclusion? There isn't a better campus anywhere than UW.
Question of the Day
I'm not ready to dive fully in to Duck Week quite yet. My question for my compatriots: is it possible to be satisfied with a loss to Stanford knowing that we outplayed the nation's fifth ranked team on both sides of the ball? Yes or no? and Why?