I stared writing this blog back in the dark days when Husky fans needed some hope and a positive look at things. That was at the start of Ty Willingham's second season as coach at UW. We only had two actual readers including myself back in those days.
Hair and Prrbrr were the first followed by T90 soon after that. During that time we have grown into a community with thousands of members supported by over 3500 unique visitors per day. I want to take the time to thank everyone who has supported the site.
I want to say congratulations to the team and to all of you who are fans of Husky football. This bowl game invitation is important to all of us. For the first time since 2002 we have something to look forward to that is football related during the holidays. We are emerging from the darkest days this program has ever experienced and the future is going to be bright over the long term.
These fifteen extra practices that are coming up don't really sound like much to some people. Believe it or not it will have a major impact on next season because it represents an extra spring camp for the football program. The NCAA has clamped down pretty hard on off season activities so getting these extra 15 practices is a crucial piece in the pie of getting better going forward.
Since 2002 the football program basically closed down after Thanksgiving and re-adjourned for winter drills in January at the start of winter quarter. You are looking at six weeks of down time before the team is back working together again. This year the gap will only be a little over a week. That makes a huge difference in the growth of any football program.
Washington is going to be breaking in either Keith Price or Nick Montana as the new starting QB next season. How important is an extra month of work with emphasis on the under class-man to these two guys? I really think it provides a solid foundation for this squad going forward.
For the seniors this extra month is the culmination of a dream come true. All of these kids went to Washington with the expectation of going to bowl games. Give credit to Jake Locker, Austin Sylvester, D"Andre Goodwin, Ryan Tolar, Cody Habben, Greg Christine, Cameron Elisara, DeShon Mattews, Mason Foster, Vic Aiyewa, Matt Houston, Brandon Huppert, Vonzell McDowell, and Nate Williams for sticking it out and seeing it through to the end.
For the coaches it is a stamp of validation that the program is going in the right direction. Keep in mind that if you haven't taken your team to a bowl game by year three of your contract you are either on the hot seat or fired. It gives this staff some important breathing room in the rebuilding. Bowl game invitations usually result in contract rollovers and extensions.
I know there are some fans out there who are disappointed with 5-7 and 6-6. I think if you look back at the previous two seasons there were obviously some missed opportunities against Notre Dame, ASU, and UCLA in 2009. BYU and ASU both come to mind in 2010.
If you are a fan focus on the eleven victories over the past two years rather than the thirteen defeats. Remember that just two seasons ago this team was 0-12. Focus on the fact that this team is going to be in San Diego over the holidays playing in the Holiday Bowl.
Another thing to focus on of course is Nebraska. The news of the Holiday Bowl invitation was tempered a bit with the news that we had to play a team that beat us 56-21 in the regular season. I am looking at it the way the coaches and players are looking at it...a chance for redemption.
I have a feeling that the Cornhuskers are not going to approach this game with the same type of intensity as Washington. I think going to the Holiday Bowl for a second year in a row and playing the Huskies again is a big let down for a team that figured on getting a BCS Bowl berth.
I like our chances in a rematch. I think Washington and Jake Locker have improved since September. I think Washington as a whole is playing with a higher level of confidence. I think Nebraska slid a bit in the second half of the season. I think Washington is still on a mission and Nebraska is just playing it out. Like i said I really like our chances despite being a 14 point underdog.
So Husky fans enjoy the emergence from the dark days of the past. We are going bowling and nothing beats that!