Who doesn’t love a good road trip?
Piling into a minivan or an SUV, stocking up on Red Vines and Red Bull, fighting over which satellite radio station will be imposed on everybody (hey, the Garth Brooks channel is new), and hoping that your buddy was generous with his Old Spice deodorant.
Road trips are the spice of life for Husky fans. Only by visiting the gameday experience of another are we able to judge the quality of our own. Along the way, we learn valuable insights about PAC-12 brethren. For instance:
- Arizona State really is the party school of the PAC (or, maybe, it was)
- Parking for a USC game is a life-or-death experience
- Don’t look sideways at a WSU cop lest you desire spending a night in the lockup
- Oregon fans have become the bandwagoniest of all bandwagon fans in conference
That’s good stuff right there. But it is only the beginning. There is much to be discovered when you follow your Dawgs on the road.
If you are considering a Husky road trip this fall, and I think you should, then this is the 30-Day Countdown article for you. Where should you go? Let’s look at the options.
Oregon, Oct 8th
This is the game that many Husky fans already have circled on the schedule. The "streak" is the most frustrating legacy from Washington Football’s "years that shall not be named" that has yet to be extirpated. Could 2016 be the end of that legacy? The possibility hasn’t seemed as plausible in many years as it feels today.
For Husky fans that have never made the trip, the possibility of taking in the grandeur of Autzen Stadium makes the game even that more appealing. If you also consider how much more friendly the Oregon crowds have become (not surprisingly as the seats have grown more expensive), the prospect for a pleasant road trip experience looks good.
Utah, Oct 29th
Utah and Washington represent what will most likely turn out to be the two best defenses in the PAC. That they will meet up in Salt Lake just a few days before Halloween is a frightening notion in its own right.
Kyle Whittingham has crafted one of the most physical teams in the conference. If the SEC were to adopt two teams from the PAC and pit them against each other in an exhibition, this is the game that would result. For those Husky fans who love good, old-fashioned, grind-it-out, slap-your-gramma-in-the-face kind of football, this is a game that you won’t want to miss.
But what about the venue? Many Husky fans don’t know about Rice-Eccles Stadium and what Salt Lake has to offer. As a football venue, RES is known for its intimacy, the passion of the student section (the Mighty Utah Students Section and Former Utah Students Section are a reminder of what the gameday atmosphere at UW once was), and its beautiful setting at the base of the Wasatch mountains. As a city, Salt Lake isn’t exactly the kind of modern, diverse, mountain city experience that you might find in Denver or Boulder, but it isn’t short of opportunity. Interesting restaurants, a wide range of microbreweries and, of course, mountain getaway opportunities galore await you should you decide to make the Utah game your road trip of the year.
Arizona, Sept 24th
Speaking of streaks, you might not have yet heard that the Huskies haven’t won a game in the state of Arizona since before most of you sprouted hair in places that most respectable people cover with modest clothing.
Well, maybe not all of you, but you catch my drift.
Tucson doesn’t boast the most grandiose of facilities and, personally, I’d prefer a trip to Tempe if I had to choose one. Still, this could be a game worth getting to. While September can still be quite warm in the desert, the overall climate is sure to be more agreeable than the cool, damp weather that is typically rolling up in Seattle by late September/early October. From a game perspective, UW’s domination of Arizona a year ago could be a foreshadowing of the kind of effort you might get from the Dawgs in the return trip. There are definitely worse ways to spend a Saturday than watching your Huskies throw a monkey off their backs in dramatic fashion as you sip on a margarita and consider where you will play golf the next morning.
I know that there are a lot of you—and by "a lot," I mean just about all of you—who feel that this is the year that Washington is going to end the Oregon streak. While I may not exactly share the same level of confidence, let’s suspend disbelief for just a moment. Suppose that Jake Browning goes off for four TDs, Myles Gaskin shreds Oregon’s rush defense for 200 yards and Azeem Victor slobber-knocks Dakota Prukop so bad that they end up finding bits and pieces of him as far out as Corvallis. Yes, let’s suppose UW wins big.
Are you going to rush the field and dance on the O? Are you going to demonstrate your lack of mastery in the art form of inappropriate sign language as you mock the home team? Are you going to shake hands with the Oregon fan next to you and commend him for a game well-contested? Will you head out to the local watering hole with the expectation that you’ll be greeted by Duck fans with warmth in their hearts as they buy you a beer and reminisce about the glory days of the storied rivalry?
Forget about it. I’m going to Utah where the women are strong, the men are good-looking and the children are above average.
Whoops. That’s Minnesota.
Nevertheless, the Utah road trip is a great opportunity for Husky fans to see how their team matches up against what I consider to be the most physical team in the PAC, to take in the sights of what is supposed to be a glorious gameday setting, and to...errr... "cheer" on former Husky future legend Troy Williams.
See you in Salt Lake, Dawg fans.