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Mailbag: “Back to Football” Edition

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It’s better to walk in on both of your parents, than just one of them.

Washington v Oregon Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

First, some useless facts.

  • Walmart loses approximately $3 billion annually to theft.
  • There are more trees on earth than stars in the Milky Way.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964. He declined the award, as he had done to all official honors.
  • “Google” runs on 5,000 times more code than the original space shuttle.
  • A “day” on Venus (the time it takes the planet to rotate once around its axis) is longer than a “year” on Venus (the time it takes the planet to complete an orbit around the sun).
  • Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn.
  • The United Nations estimates there are more than 3 million shipwrecks (accidental and intentional) on the oceans’ floors.
  • The now-defunct $1,000 bill pictured Grover Cleveland on the front, and the words “One Thousand Dollars” on the back. It was printed in 1918.
  • The largest black hole, named “S5 0014+81”, is 40 billion times heavier than our sun.
  • The book that the Statue of Liberty is holding is called a “tabula ansata” (a tablet evoking the law), and has the date of the Declaration of Independence printed on it.
  • Apple makes approximately $2,000 per second.
  • A Virginia law requires all bathtubs to be kept out in the yard, not in the house.
  • The length of a flea’s jump is the equivalent of a human jumping the length of a football field.
  • A donkey will sink in quicksand, but a mule won’t.
  • The largest dam in existence was made by beavers. It’s approximately 850 meters long, and is visible from space.

To your questions.


Explain to me why USC is getting 5 votes in the AP Poll and Ole Miss is ranked #22 even though they have the same record, USC has better wins, and is playing better right now.

UWDP: Part of the reason is that polls, especially in this part of the season, are kind of a house of cards. Other than a very few select teams that have played and beaten other highly ranked teams (that have then gone on to remain “good”), you can nitpick just about everyone’s position in the rankings. Take a look at Wisconsin: they went from unranked to near the top 10 by beating an LSU team that largely appears mediocre right now, and then beating a Michigan State team that has turned out to be terrible. Other than that, Wisconsin’s best games have actually been close losses to Michigan and Ohio State. You can play the same game with Florida State, Oklahoma, and really, Washington.

Ole Miss has the benefit of having been highly ranked to start the season. They’re getting a lot of credit for beating Georgia, who was highly ranked at the time of their game. They also have been competitive in their three losses, especially in giving Alabama all they could handle before falling late.

USC is hurt by getting behind the 8-ball early in the season; it’s tough to overcome the slow start they had (same boat WSU find themselves in). USC’s best win is over Colorado, and the fact is that a win over a once-upon-a-time ranked Colorado just doesn’t have the same cachet as a win over a Georgia team that’s part of the ESS EE CEE.

Dirty Randy and Brian Thunder:

We're pretty new to the area but have a huge group of friends. We were all thinking about taking in a football game at Husky Stadium this Saturday. How many tickets are still available?

Patently Purple:

I realize the atmosphere won't be anywhere near what the Stanford game was, but I sure hope to have only a few thousand unsold seats and a lot of loud fans for this Saturday. How are we currently looking on ticket numbers for Oregon State?

UWDP: There are lots of tickets for sale through the ticket office. Just from looking at the map, I’d guess 5-7,000 or so. Probably another 4,000 or so on the secondary market. I’d guess attendance will be announced somewhere around 64,000. The stadium will probably be loud to begin, but I’m guessing it’s going to clear out pretty quickly if the score gets out of hand.


Will Rhaego's impersonator make another guest appearance?

UWDP: Only Ragu will be able to answer this question.


Which is stronger right now, the Pac-12 or the ACC? The South Division or the Coastal Division? Seems like the Coastal is still overrated even though each week they are beating each other like the South does.

UWDP: They’re fairly comparable, I think. The ACC has the benefit of three highly ranked teams (Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State), but as you say, the Coastal Division is cannibalizing itself in the same way the Pac-12 South is.

I’d say the Pac-12 South is tougher overall than the ACC Coastal. The Atlantic is better overall than the Pac-12 North, even if we all believe Washington is the single best team in either conference.

Denver Dawg:

Given that even really good teams sometimes have "that game" (OSU 1985, UCLA 1990, UA 1992, UO 2000 are the most notable UW examples), but also that exceptional teams are able to overcome "that game" (USC 1991, Cal 1991), what is the likely outcome in each of the last 6 games if this team only brings their B game? How about their C game? My thought is their B game is enough to beat OSU and ASU, and their C game is enough to squeak by OSU.

UWDP: I think the Huskies can win on Saturday against Oregon State with their “B” game, and probably beat Arizona State in a few weeks. Cal is also possible, but it would really depend how we arrive at that B game; is it the average of the whole team, or does each individual unit play to a B level? The Huskies could win any of their other games with a B effort, but it would probably take some help, in the form of those teams not playing at their highest level as well.

I suppose I’m agreeing with your take. The Huskies could probably lose to Oregon State with a “C” level as well, though.


Update on Benning Potaoe' (sp?)

UWDP: He’s played as a deep reserve most of the season, getting action in the first three games, and then against Stanford late, and then picking up a couple of tackles against Oregon as well. He didn’t see the field against Arizona, I don’t believe.

While I’m sure we’d all hoped to have seen some sort of flash from him given his stature as a recruit, he’s still young. It’s possible the coaches need some time to best see how to use him.


this team seems to be very focused, level-headed, goal-oriented, etc. every week. i have a feeling that's not just because the coaches were able to find only players who have that natural capability. are you able to shed light on the practice schedule each week? if so, what stands out to you as being the keys to getting these guys prepared for saturdays?

UWDP: I wish I could, but we just don’t get any specific information as to what practices look like.

I certainly agree with what you’re saying. I think it’s less a matter of what happens the two or so hours a day the team is on the field, and more the fact that the players believe what the coaches are telling them, and it’s translating into results on Saturdays. The players are no doubt talented, and the coaching staff knows what it’s doing. But there’s an underlying confidence this (and all good teams) have that comes from buying into the program wholeheartedly on both sides.


A little early for this question and by no means are we in the clear yet. But curious still. Who do the dawgs better match up against; OSU or Alabama?

UWDP: Oregon State, without a doubt. In fact, I’ll go as far as to predict a pretty comfortable win over OSU this Saturday.

Ohio State is like Oregon in its heyday, if the Ducks could’ve ever been a physical team. Alabama is like Stanford, except with speed and athleticism.

The Huskies probably match up better with Alabama, but there’s probably more variance from week to week in how Ohio State plays.


Can Brownings commitment to film study and being awesome rub off on QBs behind him?

UWDP: It certainly can. There was an article in the spring of 2015 about the offense running a 7-on-7 drill. I think it was Jeff Lindquist that was talking about how Browning, when he wasn’t the QB in at the time, would still drop back, read the defense, and make a “throw” without the ball. The other guys started taking those same “mental reps” soon after that.

It’s a great thing when your best players are also your leaders, and your hardest workers. That’s the sort of thing that can really elevate a team. Similar stories surround the defense from the 1991 team involving Dave Hoffman and Steve Emtman.


With talking to several fellow husky fans and reading most of the comments on this forum, there seems to be a foregone conclusion that this team will win out. Putting the Cart before the horse a little aren't we? I have literally heard friends say that we could beat Alabama. (I think this is a good team but still young and untested = not in the same ballpark as Alabama). How do we curb our enthusiasm and be more realistic as a fan base?

UWDP: Here’s the thing: there’s no way to marshal the expectations of a fan base. Set your own, and don’t worry about the rest. That’s always been my strategy.

I personally don’t think it’s approaching a foregone conclusion. I do think it’s realistic, though. Less than 50% chance, but not “winning lottery ticket” level. It’s fun to be the fan of a genuinely good team. It’s been a while. I’m going to enjoy it.

Anonymous again...:

Not sure why I'm going anonymous, but I'm a loyal reader of your blog - but not so much a commenter. This isn't even a question. Rather, I want to say thanks for your work writing about our beloved Huskies! I live overseas and don't get to listen to Softy roll on and on about the Dawgs. At this point in time, you are one of my main sources of Husky information. Thank you!

UWDP: On behalf of everyone, thanks. It’s genuinely appreciated.

There are a few of us left here that go back to the 2008 season on this blog, when it was mostly just a hobby board with a few regular posters. Chris Landon is one of those, and since he, Ryan Priest, and Jeff Gorman have taken over, this place has grown by leaps and bounds. They put a ton of time in here, as do the other writers (Lucas, Gabey, John, Ben, Drew, dilletaunt....RIP Kirk DeGrasse.....).


Rank the top eight college football teams as if you are seeding a four team playoff with four alternates.

UWDP: First four in:

  1. Alabama
  2. Michigan
  3. Ohio State
  4. Washington

First four out:

  1. Texas A&M
  2. Clemson
  3. Louisville
  4. This is tough, but right now I think Arkansas is better than any of the undefeated teams left, and better than the one-loss teams out there.

Depth matters:

Jake is great! But given what you know now, how many regular season games would this Huskies team win if KJ had been the starter all season? My sense is at least 8.

UWDP: I think the Huskies’ record would be exactly the same right now if K.J. Carta-Samuels was the starting QB. There might have been a bit less pizzazz in some of the wins, but I think the Huskies are comfortably undefeated right now.

I can’t really forecast how many fewer wins Carta-Samuels would have. With as dominant as the defense is, it’s possible the Huskies don’t have a game all year that the offense needs to win. And if they do, it could very easily come down to the running game taking control, as it did against Arizona.

I’ve said this before: I get that we haven’t seen a meaningful snap from him yet, but I’ve been incredibly impressed with K.J. Carta-Samuels’ poise this season. He’s improved tremendously from where he was at this point last year.


During the bye week, where were the coaches? I'm sure they hit the recruiting trail, but who were they targeting and what was the feel from their visits?

UWDP: I don’t follow recruiting particularly closely, so hopefully someone that does can chime in with some bye week info.


can you shed some light on the "no 1985's" reference?

UWDP: In 1985, the Huskies were very highly regarded coming into the season, even being picked as national champs by Sports Illustrated. The Huskies dropped their first two games that year, both to ranked teams. One of them, unfortunately, was the BYU Robbercougars that had somehow managed to steal the championship from the Huskies the year before.

Anyway, the Dawgs won their next five games. The Beavers came to town on a four-game losing streak, and were 38-point underdogs to the UW. The Huskies played a terrible game that afternoon. Up 20-14 with under a minute-and-a-half to play, the Huskies were punting from their own end zone. It was blocked by the Beavers, and the ball somehow managed to stay inbounds for a Beaver touchdown recovery. Oregon State held on for a 21-20 win, and the biggest straight-up win against the spread in college football history at that time. Special thanks to USC for falling to Stanford as 41-point favorites.


Whats your take on whether or not the seasons results vs the expectations affect a players decision when entering the Draft? For example if we win the North, does Baker go Pro? Or if we just miss the playoffs, does Qualls stay another year? Or is it entirely irrelevant and everything is based on draft position? That said, who do you think is leaving at this point?

UWDP: Team success certainly increases exposure for individual players. But the decision to leave early is usually based on draft position. There are examples of guys choosing to come back to chase championships or individual awards like the Heisman, and many cases of guys choosing to leave school too soon, based on the likelihood of them not even being drafted. But there’s usually reasoning that is only loosely tied to team success.

I’ve thought Sidney Jones is gone, since long before this season started. Probably Budda Baker as well. Unfortunately, I’m adding Azeem Victor and Elijah Qualls to the list of guys that are “more likely than not” to leave; before the season, I thought there was a chance either or both might, but they’ve both just played so well...


Is it time to not only give credit to Jon Smith, but start calling him one of the better play callers in the PAC?

Actual Ragu:

Are you concerned that BYE held us to 0 points? I think it's about time to start calling for Jonathan Smith's head again...

UWDP: It’s amazing how much Jonathan Smith has learned about the game of football in the past twelve months.....

I’ve actually been thinking about your question for a while, tomahawk. The whole time Husky fans were sharpening up their pitchforks the last two years, I’ve maintained that he hasn’t been the issue, and that he’s really just running Chris Petersen’s offense. To be intellectually honest, I have to keep that same perspective, I think. The offense has a great trigger man, it’s genuinely talented, and Jonathan Smith is doing a great job in running Chris Petersen’s offense right now. I wasn’t willing to give him the blame in the past, so I’m hesitant to give him too much credit now; I think it’s much more about the execution of the team than anything he’s actually doing.

That said, it’s nice to see him get his moment in the sun after the beating he took the last two years. It’s also funny to watch some Husky fans work pretty hard to avoid having to give him his just due.


It seems to me a key part of the UW Women's BB season is potentially Natalie Romeo. With our graduation losses and the existing roster, a newcomer with experience in the Big Ten with her talent would be a great addition to Kelsey and Company. She is a transfer from Nebraska due to a coaching change, and the UW was to petition to get her to play immediately versus redshirting. Do you know if that petition has been successful?

UWDP: The Huskies could definitely use a shooter, that’s for sure.

I don’t think there’s been an official ruling from the NCAA as of yet. They are notoriously slow in making these types of decisions; it could come tomorrow, or not until January. It’s tough to see how she has much of a case, though. If I had to bet, Romeo will probably have to sit out the season.


Is 2016 commit Jacob Kizer on the team?

UWDP: He didn’t enroll with the other freshmen this summer, and was thought to be greyshirting. He’ll likely enroll for winter quarter in January of 2017, and count against the 2017 recruiting class.

Actual Ragu:

Talk about these elite coaches: Saban, Meyer, Petersen, who rounds out the top 5 and can you take a crack at ranking them? Can Petersen out-coach these guys in a CFB setting?

UWDP: I have no idea if Chris Petersen belongs on that list or not. Based on real, actual achievements, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer probably do. I definitely think Jim Harbaugh is on that list. If consistency matters, Bob Stoops should be mentioned. He and Jimbo Fisher are also the only two other active coaches with national titles.

Dabo Swinney, Petersen, Kevin Sumlin, Tom Herman, Hugh Freeze, Bobby Petrino...tou can make the case for lots of guys depending on the criteria you want to use. Petersen holds up pretty well for the most part; it’ll take a few years of success at Washington to really take a spot on that list.

Yeah, he could win a game against any of them. He could lose, too.

Jon May:

I know this answer already but would like your take, how good are the Huskies without John Ross this season?

UWDP: Maybe not quite as explosive, but still really, really good.

Of the four guys on the team with 10 or more catches, would you have guessed John Ross is fourth among that group in average yards per reception? Me neither.

Ross is demanding a lot of attention from defenses. He’s become a much more complete receiver than I expected him to be so soon in his return.

Eye to the future:

What are you hearing about the scout team? Who should we look forward to seeing next year?

UWDP: Not a ton, unfortunately. Jordan Miller isn’t really a member of the scout team per se (more like a deep reserve), but he’s gotten mention as the next great corner for the Dawgs.

I’ve heard some other names briefly mentioned, but there’s just not much information out there. There are people with more than I have, so hopefully they’ll be willing to share below.

Oregon Dawg:

Speaking of 1985; what was the biggest upset UW ever pulled? 2010 Holiday bowl vs Nebraska; Miami in 2000 and USC in 2009 all come to mind.

UWDP: We’d probably need to set some criteria to get a definitive list.

Those are good ones. The Rose Bowl over Michigan in 1978, and the Orange Bowl over Oklahoma in 1985, might top them, just due to the stakes. At Michigan in 1984 was huge; I believe the Wolverines were ranked #2 at the time. Beating USC in 1981 would be up there. Ohio State came in as a top 10 team in 1986, and the Huskies just shredded them, 40-7. Florida in the 1989 Freedom Bowl was great, but that was really only a minor upset. USC came into the 1990 “All I Saw Was Purple” game ranked #5; that should be on the list. The Cougs came in to the 2002 Apple Cup ranked #3, and of course the Huskies won in triple overtime. They were top 10 again the next year, and lost again.


Colorado handled Oregon State fairly easily. This game was the only one so far this season that was a blowout against the Beavers. The Huskies should be able to do the same against them don't you think? That said, what are the chances Victor Bolden's will surpass his all- time PAC 12 record?

UWDP: The Beavers made the score look closer than it really was against Boise State. That was pretty much a blowout, but Oregon State has played a couple of pretty inspired games the last couple of weeks. I expect the Huskies will win, but I doubt they’re going to cover that huge point spread. Hopefully, Tristan Vizcaino puts some kicks into the end zone, so Bolden spends the afternoon watching them sail over his head.

Actual Rhaego:

Is Rich Rod done? Is this just a down year or a sign of the trend?

How will coaching carousel affect the Pac12? Think any coaches will get fired? RodRich? Helfrich? Will anyone be lured away to other schools?

UWDP: Arizona has just gotten crushed by injuries to running backs and quarterbacks this season. It’s mostly bad luck this year.

Arizona has invested money into facilities, and when that happens, fans frequently think that entitles them to wins. It just doesn’t seem very likely that Arizona has what it takes to become a perennial contender in the Pac-12, regardless of the coach. The love affair between Wildcat fans and Rodriguez is fading, and he’ll probably get fired sooner rather than later. Which most likely sends the Wildcats back to college football purgatory.

Jim Mora may get fired, if UCLA fans manage to raise the money to do it (which means his job is safe). If the death spiral continues in Eugene, Helfrich may lose his job (although I hope not). Coordinators and position coaches will certainly be poached (likely from Washington). Head coaches? Probably not.

Actual Rhaego:

Thoughts on next year's schedule?

UWDP: The out-of-conference schedule sucks next year.

Chris Landon Gekko Mojo:

I was wrong about a lot of things. Can the pound ever forgive me?


Actual Ragu:

I always found it fun when you'd share who was commenting/posting the most. Any current year standings to spurn on some competition for the end of the year?

UWDP: Has this ever been shared? I don’t think I’ve ever seen this information. I don’t know if SBNation tracks it or not.

Andrew M Smith:

To start, I just want to say that you and everyone else are doing a fantastic job on uwdawgpound. What is your sense for how Chris Petersen has been able to develop depth on the Huskies team? Our backups seem to get a lot of playing time and they still play really well, something we haven't seen nearly as much under previous coaches. Lack of attrition? Tremendous position coaching? Stellar recruiting? What's your opinion?

UWDP: In order:

  1. Everyone in the entire program, from the top down, is pulling the rope in the same direction.
  2. High level of talent.
  3. Good coaching.

Actual Ragu:

Big 12 didn't expand. Talk

UWDP: Money.

The Big 12 TV partners didn’t want to pay expansion escalations.

The Big 12 is going to blow up. The Pac-12 needs to get the best pieces (Oklahoma and Texas) or the conference will be perma-screwed.

curious husky:

Rank these teams in order of who has a better record at the end of the 2017 season: Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Colorado

UWDP: Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon State.

Actual Ragu:

Arizona's first Pac win? Oregon's first Pac win? (if they even get one)

UWDP: Arizona will beat Oregon State. Oregon will beat Arizona State.

Actual Ragu:

What do our DB's do better than other DB groups?

UWDP: Two things. Well, lots more than two things, but two main ones:

They are extremely physical and well-disciplined against the run. They’re like miniature linebackers out there.

They tackle very well against the short passing game; short plays rarely turn into long ones.


the ball's going to be heavier as the season progresses. weather conditions are real. we saw browning touch john ross and chico mcclatcher with perfect, long throws in the first game of the season. they haven't shown the same since. is the deep threat not really something browning has, or am i expecting too much?

UWDP: You don’t think so?

Off the top of my head, Browning hit a deep ball to Chico McClatcher on the first TD drive against Arizona, he hit a deep ball to Dante Pettis to set up the first TD against Stanford, and Pettis again to set up his first TD run against Oregon. There have been others, but those are the ones that really stand out.

If you’re expecting him to complete 70% of those passes, then yes, you’re expecting too much.

Actual Rhaego:

Predicting any upsets this weekend? What about ATS bets? I've got money to blow. Kidding, I have money that I need to EARN BACK

UWDP: BYU over Boise State. TCU over West Virginia.


Can someone with more time and familiarity with the various statistical sites do a little research and answer a question for me - how many total minutes have the Dawgs trailed this season? Are there any sites available that track such a stat and, if so, how do we compare nationally? Any idea what the record is for a full season? Just going off of memory, seems like the Arizona game may be the only matchup thus far this season where the Dawgs have trailed at all.

UWDP: I’m not aware of any site that tracks that stat for college football. But by my calculations, the Huskies have trailed for a total of 13:56 this entire season.

Of the 364 (I’m arbitrarily calling overtime at Arizona 4 minutes, with the Huskies leading the final two), the Huskies have lead almost 318 of them. That’s pretty amazing.

All for this week.