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Old Guys Smoking Cigars: A Roundtable

With Jack Follman's trilogy on the greatest Husky non-conference wins now in the books, some of the Dawg Pound's most ... eh ... experienced gents chime in on the real answers to the debate. The Gekko moderates.

Hopefully, you've enjoyed the debate that has accompanied Jack Follman's three-part piece on the greatest Husky non-conference games in history. Debates like this are typically pretty difficult because the author, and many of the membership of the blog, are too young to fully appreciate some of the more historic games and personalities. Fortunately, we have some members of the Dawg Pound that are far more elder than I and, in fact, can remember the day that Red Square was just a square and Eugene was affectionately known as Skinner's Mudhole (not to be confused with "Skinner's Stinkhole" which was, in fact, a double entendre that references both the University of Oregon and Skinner's actual bunghole). Thus, the opportunity to settle the debate once and for all exists.

The esteemed Old Man's Committee consists of the following:

  • Jim "Husky57" Wingard - Not to be confused with the famous steak sauce, Jim is one of our most senior Husky Dawg Pound members. Jim, ever the loyal Husky, enjoys short walks on the beach with his faithful oxygen tank and senior discount night at Denny's.
  • John "JohnB" Berkowitz - The original founder of the Dawg Pound and a noted Duck hunter, John B is known for his world travels, his brash style and for frightening unsuspecting children with the old "pop my dentures out of my mouth" trick.
  • Kirk "KirkD" DeGrasse - Software guru by day, Husky fanatic by night, Kirk is known to many of you as the only person on the staff that "actually knows his shit." Little do you know, he's not really that smart, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.
  • Brad "SunDodger" Johnson - The SunDodger is so old that he remembers the days when the Huskies were the actually called the Sun Dodgers. He enjoys nothing more than educating younger Huskies on the origination of the name: "You see, young Dawg, the sun doesn't often shine in Seattle and, so, UW students were known as 'dodgers of the sun." Due to Brad's stellar insights, I've started the petition to change his moniker from the aforementioned "SunDodger" to the preferred "Captain Obvious."

There is your panel, ladies and gents. I will moderate. Let's begin.

Gekko Mojo: Jim, let's start with you as I've got concerns that you may not stay awake long enough to finish your reply. By the way, if you start to get tired, just turn up the volume on the Golden Girls rerun you are watching. That should help. Tell us Jim, what was your favorite Husky non-conference (not counting bowls) game of all time?

Husky57: Probably would have been Heinrich/McElhenny 1950.

GM: That's great Jim. I also loved McElhenny. "Shake the hand of Hustlin' Hugh," my gradfather always used to say. Great honor for me when I finally did get that opportunity. But my question was about games.

Husky57: Why didn't you say so, young man? Quit wastin' my time. I ain't getting younger here.

GM: I did say so.

Husky57: 1959 ... I was just out of Army, UDub 44-8 over Wisconsin. That was a blowout for the ages. Then there was 1960 — UDub 17-7 over #1 Minnesota. Voting took place prior to Bowls so UW was left out in cold. That was just the beginning of UDub getting screwed by the man. That game was played in a whole different era where anything went. Minnesota had a nose guard who would hack the center in the neck after the snap. Whining to the refs back then was as worthless as putting water in a gas tank, so UW practiced that play and nullified the effectiveness. 1965, UDub 21-23 at Ohio State in Columbus. Donnie Moore racked up an incredible amount of yards in first half. I listened to that one the car radio, so my memory is not complete. Moore was a sad situation. Kicked off the team as a sophomore for what today would not even be an offense, a social no-no in those days. I'll let you guess what happened there. He was a high school heavyweight wrestling champion. Would definitely have been an All American. Jim Owens knew of Moore's background but also knew USC was his second choice. Terrible waste of a statue. Anyway, those were the most memorable games. By the way, why are we doing this on email? Don't you remember when you had a party line and operator dialed your number for you? A three digit phone number. Telephone hung on the wall. I needed a chair to answer. Damn, those were the days.

GM: Jim, what's an operator? And I thought Party Lines were something that only pervs and insomniacs called into, am I right? Anyway, thank you for the stellar history lesson. You may go back to your pudding. Kirk, over to you. Jim just gave us plenty of games many of which were played before you were even a twinkle in your daddy's eye. What's the best non-conference game of all time?

KirkD: Yeah, those were all well before my time — I'm at the mercy of the history books for those games.

Still, I've been fortunate enough to live through the most successful modern stretch of Husky football (as well as the worst, but I'm going to try and forget about that) and got to see a lot of big wins. It's hard to narrow them down, but the three that stand out the most to me are '91 at Nebraska, '94 at Miami, and '00 at home vs. Miami.

GM: Three? Can't you stick to one?

KirkD: Can't you get a life? Now let me finish. Everyone knew that the '91 Huskies were extremely talented and had a shot at running the table that year, but we also knew that Game No. 2 in Lincoln was the key game of the season. That was back when Nebraska was still Nebraska, a top-five program that was a measuring stick. Win that game, and a perfect season was quite possible. I was on a road trip with a buddy at the time (Fall quarter was still a few weeks away from starting) and watched the game at a sports bar in San Francisco. Things were looking pretty dicey late in the 3rd quarter, as we trailed 21-9. But then the floodgates opened as timely turnovers, a bold 4th down call and an explosive 81-yard TD run by Jay Barry all added up to an impressive 36-21 UW win. Most remarkable to me is that we rolled up 618 yards of total offense on the vaunted Husker defense, including 335 on the ground. People talk about the defense on that '91 UW team and tend to forget just how good the offense was.

GM: The '91 team ... can't go wrong referencing those guys. Why not stop while you are ahead?

KirkD: Excuse me, lizard breath, did you say something? Anyhoooo ...

The Whammy in Miami was special for a lot of reasons, and I don't think I need to go into a lot of detail about it. My favorite moment was watching the folks that were maintaining the sign along the playing field documenting their home winning streak having to remove the '59' they had already placed there in anticipation of beating the Huskies.

GM: That was classic. Let me guess, there's more!

KirkD: The 2000 season was a magical one, and the win over Miami that year just keeps looking better and better in hindsight. That Hurricanes team was ridiculously talented, stacked with future first-round NFL picks, and far more talented (on paper) than the UW. But the Huskies that year were so much better than the sum of their parts, and that game was a fantastic demonstration. The crowd was also on their game - while it wasn't quite as electric as the '92 home night game vs. Nebraska (a game that just missed the cut for this list), it was probably No. 2 in games I've experienced.

GM: When you vote on election days, is it an all-day commitment for you? Is it that tough to decide?

KirkD: If I had to pick just one, I'd go with at Nebraska in '91 due to the importance that win played in the quest for the National Championship that year. It also depresses me to think of how few big non-conference wins we've experienced of late. Time to turn that around starting August 31 ...

GM: Brad, over to you. Kirk gave us three modern era victories, including the landmark victory that ended Miami's record home win streak and the big Nebraska matchup in '91. You are older, wiser and more beautiful than Kirk. What do you have for me?

SunDodger: Thank you for the compliments, but you kind of set the bar low with who you compared me to. And, just to be clear, the only things older than KirkD are Husky57 and dirt. The wins over Nebraska were great. Particularly the one in ’91 that was the catalyst for an undefeated season and a national championship. The one in ’92 was memorable simply for the noise in Husky Stadium — I was a senior in high school for that one, and I remember leaving the stadium with my ears ringing. But for me, for personal reasons as much as anything, that win over Miami in 1994 goes down as the biggest non-conference win. In ’91 and ’92, the Huskies pulled out monumental, season-changing wins. But the Dawgs, if not the favorites, were expected to be in those games and to be competitive.

GM: Something tells me you are going to keep going, aren't you?

SunDodger: Shut up and enjoy my brilliance. In 1994, the Huskies were coming off a nice win over Ohio State, but also were on the heels of a lackluster 7-4 season in 1993, and no one in their right mind was expecting the Huskies to go into Coral Gables and end the longest home winning streak in NCAA history. But that they did, and it was the centerpiece of one a greatest "collegiate" weekends I had at the UW. It started with a concert my roommates and I went to on Friday night at the Seattle Center on Friday. On Saturday, the game was largely a bust early, so we went and got pizzas at half time. We got back just as the third quarter started, and watched that monumental, largely fluky comeback, and ultimately, a great win that was the probably the high point of Lambright’s career as a head coach. My roommates and I went to the roof of our apartment as the clock struck zero and screamed our heads off, along with the rest of the University District. People were everywhere in the streets howling. What a scene. We capped off the night with a great party (one of many that we used to pay our rent that year and in future years), and after imbibing in several libations, threw some frozen fish we had caught that summer during a camping trip off of the roof of our apartment into the pool of the frat next door. Savvy readers will know the location of my apartment based off of my telling of these events ...

GM: Truly a remarkable story. Especially the part about catching frozen fish. John B, Mr. Dawg Pound himself, is here. John, save us.

JohnB: There have been a lot of great in season non-conference wins over the years. You guys have already mentioned the majority of them but the most famous and my favorite has to be the Whammy in Miami back in 1994. You travel 3,000 miles to play a dominant and legendary squad as a 14-point underdog, and you put a 38-20 whooping on them to end their 58-home-game winning streak. This was a pretty good Miami squad that featured future hall of famers Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis on defense. Even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was a starter on that stellar Cane defensive line. The Huskies actually trailed at the half but they just came out and blew Miami out of the stadium in the second half. What I remember most about this game was the hitting down on the field. Washington just started knocking the snot out of Miami. It seemed like Hurricanes were getting de-cleated and going airborne on almost every play. One Hurricane after another was being carted off the field in the second half.

The Jammi German hit is a classic.

This game was the best of Lambo. The scholarship limitations hadn't really hurt the team yet so this was him playing with pretty much a full deck of cards for the last time. He was going up against Dennis Erickson who he had known and competed against most of his life. It had to be very satisfying for him to notch a win against a friendly rival.

GM: Nice work, JohnB. I smell what you are cooking.

Thanks to all of our Old Guy contingent for helping us wrap up this offseason debate. It seems pretty clear that the Whammy is the game of all time.

Husky57: You dumb kids have no idea what you are talking about.

GM: All right, Jim. Time for your meds. Anyway, thanks to our panelists and to you all for enduring this piece. And remember, if you don't like Jello now, you better develop a taste for it. Trust us.