Washington and Washington State face off tomorrow in one of the least anticipated contests of the series which stretches back to before the turn of the last century.
Both teams are inept on offense and neither can stop anyone defense. Out of 119 teams in the BCS, the Cougars rank 112th in total offense and 118th in total defense. Washington sits at 110th and 117th, respectively, so we have all the ingredients for real stinker on Saturday in Pullman.
One thing about this series is that no matter what the teams records were going in you could expect an exciting game. It may be different on Saturday because Washington has been in a free fall ever since Jake Locker went down with a broken thumb against Arizona. That free fall accelerated after the beating they took against USC. It has been a foregone conclusion that the majority of the team has quit for the season and that could be good news for the Cougars.
Speaking of the Cougars they have been in a free fall of their own under first year coach Paul Wulff. They gave up 169 points during a ten quarter stretch earlier this year that included a 69-0 loss to USC and a 58-0 stomping by Stanford.
The main problems for the Cougars has been injuries. Kevin Lopina who will start Saturday after recovering from a concussion is the 5th Cougar QB to start a game this season. The Cougars were low on talent and depth to start the season at almost every position but the multiple injuries at every position have gutted whatever chance they have had of being successful this season.
The Huskies come into this game with a talent and depth advantage at almost every position. On paper the Huskies should win this game by a couple of touchdowns because Washington State is truly terrible. What the Huskies do not have is the advantage of a home field and emotion. Washington under Willingham plays as if they are sleepwalking or simply don't care. That should even up things for WSU who always gets up for Washington no matter what the surrounding circumstances are.
The goal for Washington is to come out fired up and simply get a win over the worst team in college football in 2008 so they can avoid earning that title for themselves. Who wants to walk through life being a permanent member of the worst team in Washington and Pac 10 history?
Willingham has shown one thing during his four years at Washington and that he knows how to suck all the fun out of football. Even when his team and his coaching career was up against the wall he failed to respond with any emotion. The quote below says it all for this Willingham coached football team.
"Coach really didn't want us to get too emotional,'' Gottlieb said. "He wanted us to approach it like it was any other game, so I tried to choke back the emotions a little. I was a little emotional, a little sentimental, but for the most part, I just tried to approach it like it was any other game.''
The players need to ignore the request to not get too emotional on Saturday. They need to come out fired up and ready to win. If Washington fails to do that they are going to lose to Washington State. The Cougars may be terrible but the team that wins on Saturday will be the team that still cares the most.