I don't know if I can take much more of this punishment ... 8 days is a short amount of time, but just long enough that it's more than a week. I feel like I've been waiting for years, and I actually think this count down ticker has made my waiting feel agonizingly longer ... it's like watching water boil ... well, I think you get the point.
Each football season has its trap games. They could come when a team, in anticipation of a really BIG game, overlooks the opponent the week previously ... Another trap could arise after your favorite team wins a game it shouldn't have. The nostalgia of beating a big time opponent inevitably lasts a week longer than it should, and your team, just days prior sitting atop the college football universe, gets dropped, face first, back down to earth ... the last trap game comes simply by underestimating a weaker opponent. Ask Oregon State about this one ... they're experts at losing these games.
Option #1 - Illinois
This game, played at Husky Stadium on September 13th, has trap written all over it ... well, sort of. It's Washington's most difficult OOC game this year, it comes without a bye week, and Washington has no business losing to the Fighting Illini.
Illinois is coming off a less-than-stellar 2013 campaign that started strong and competitive, and ended up petering out throughout the second half of the season. Who knows what to expect this year. The Dawgs beat them handily in Chicago last year, and they are much more talented ... but look out, if Illinois is anything they are inconsistent, and who knows which team will show up.
Reasons for: The Huskies could get caught up in the slog that is their non-conference schedule, come play like it's another day on the job, and lay an egg.
Reasons against: Coach Pete knows this will be his most difficult non-conference game, and, let's face it, Illinois isn't that great.
Option #2 - California
I can't get around this ... and out of all my picks for biggest trap game, this one is by far the weakest. Cal was just awful last year. If you don't believe me, go ahead and ask Sandy Barbour (and yes, her bio is still up on the Cal Bears website). Sonny Dykes' first season was a disaster, and him and his Bears will be trying to forget it ... although I don't think that's possible.
This game happens to be in the very best spot, at least if you're looking for a trap game. It on October 11, and it just so happens to be sitting between our games against Stanford and Oregon. Sure there's a bye week in between it and the Stanford game, but who cares! This is a trap game. If the Dawgs beat Stanford, you better hope they don't forget about the lowly Cal Bears. Even if they don't beat Stanford, they have Oregon the week after, and you can bet that the Huskies will have their eyes set on that game ... hmmm.
Reasons for: This game has all the makings of a trap game, with a big game before it, and a big game afterwards.
Reasons against: It's Cal.
Option #3 - Oregon State
This showdown on November 22 comes just one week after the Huskies travel down to the desert ... It could be a game against two ranked teams. Regardless, though none of you want to remember, the Husky rap sheet down in the desert the past decade or so has been, well, less than desirable.
It's been horrendous.
I don't care what the outcome of that game is (well, I want them to win), the following week against Oregon State is going to be rough. The Beavers are still licking their wounds after they were decidedly whomped on last year in Corvallis. The Beavs are also probably going to be underdogs, and that's what they excel at. On top of that, the Apple cup is looming the week after.
Reasons for: The Beavers, though they excel at losing to FCS teams, are really good at beating teams they shouldn't.
Reasons against: The Huskies should be able to remain tough throughout the final stretch of the season, and this is a home game.
The Verdict - Oregon State
I had to go with the Beavers. This game scares the tar out of me. The Beavers have a history of rebounding very well after a down year, and the Huskies will not have a bye week anywhere in sight. Add the added dimension of last years game, and, well, there you have it.