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Mailbag: “Hazardous Tree Removal” Edition

Ooooooh, man.....

Washington v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A few facts about Stanford that any Stanford fans visiting this site can correct, add to, or simply shoot down:

  • Victoria’s Secret was founded by an alum of Stanford’s Graduate Business School. The first-ever Victoria’s Secret was opened in Palo Alto, in 1977.
  • There was once a lake on Stanford’s campus, called Lake Lagunita. This translates to “Lake Lake.” It’s now dry, but the land is still referred to as Lake Lagunita.
  • Leland Stanford, Jr. University was named for the deceased son of California governor and U.S. Senator Leland Stanford and his wife Jane, who had died of typhoid fever at the age of 15.
  • The campus sits on over 8,100 acres of prime real estate in the Silicon Valley, making it the sixth-largest campus by area in the United States.
  • The irrigation system for this vast campus utilizes more than 2,700 automated valves.
  • “What to do in case of an earthquake” instructions are posted on each study carrel in the various libraries.
  • Stanford students have a long tradition of fountain-hopping in the 25 fountains located throughout campus.
  • The motto of Stanford University is “Die Luft der Freiheit Weht,” which is a German quote (eschewing the traditional Latin) from Ulrich von Hutten meaning “The wind of freedom blows.”
  • The mascot “Cardinal” comes from the scarlet red school color, and was made official in its singular form in 1981. After dropping “Indians” as a mascot in 1972, the school didn’t have an official mascot for several years. Students suggested “Robber Barons” as a reference to Leland Stanford’s past, among other ideas. The Tree had been adopted by the band during this this time, and remains the “unofficial” mascot.
  • The Director’s Cup, given to the University with the most overall success in all sports over the course of a year, was officially awarded for the first time for the 1993-94 seasons. Stanford finished second that year, to North Carolina. It has won the cup every year since.
  • The person wearing the “Tree” suit for Stanford football games is given a breathalyzer test prior to games, after poor behavior (and a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit) led to suspending the use of the mascot for a period in 2006.
  • Lisa Simpson wasn’t willing to attend Stanford University because it’s not Ivy League.
  • There are more bikes registered on campus at Stanford than there are students enrolled.

Okay, those actually sucked. So let’s just move on.


During the last game, the running back carries were 24 for Gaskin, 11 for Coleman, 4 for Dotson. Do you think the distribution will drastically change with Coleman's success?


Lavon Coleman gets more carries now, right? Or was Arizona's D inherently worse against Coleman's as opposed to Gaskins?

UWDP: Lavon Coleman had a great game, when the Huskies absolutely needed him to have one. And style-wise, he showed that he can be a great complimentary back to Myles Gaskin.

Just like with the early season schedule, though, it’s dangerous to overreact to small sample sizes. It was a game that should earn him the lion’s share of the backup carries, but Gaskin was the guy that ran for over 1,300 yards in nine games with starter’s carries last year.

The Huskies don’t run a ton of plays each game (in the low 60’s, I believe). Jake Browning is still going to get 30 or so pass attempts plus a “rush” or two. Myles Gaskin is still an amazing running back, even if he hasn’t had the start to the 2016 we’d expected to see. Coleman is going to get his touches, but I don’t think the Huskies are suddenly going to feed him the ball more than seven or eight times a game based on the results on Saturday evening.


Why are our Kicker and Punter so bad?

UWDP: Cameron Van Winkle missed two 40+ yard kicks, but even with those misses, he’s still at 78% accuracy for his career (he was over 80% prior to Saturday). He’s only missed one kick in his career less than 40 yards, and that was largely due to a bad hold.

He was the most accurate kicker in Husky history coming in to this season. One game certainly doesn’t mean he’s “bad.” If it comes down to a 41-yard field goal for the win on Friday, I’m fairly confident he makes it. It’s a lot easier to remember the misses than the makes.

The punting is a little scary right now. The average per kick is just “okay,” but it’s really looked dangerous the last two games. The coaches really seem to like the rugby-style kick. I give Tristan Vizcaino credit for maintaining composure in the face of the rush, but giving up a block against, that would be bad. It’s not just the kicker’s problem though; the blocking needs to be better, with the quickness.


We just faced a running back with speed & shifty, ankle breaking moves...the QB wasn't shabby either. Are any adjustments in order to limit the success of another dynamic runner in McCaffery?

UWDP: Christain McCaffrey certainly has some moves in the open field, but he’s not the same type of runner that Brandon Dawkins or J.J. Taylor were. Overall, he’s better, but he’s more a combination of speed+power+above-average elusiveness as opposed to speed+superior elusiveness (without the same power). McCaffrey is the better running back (and runner), so I’m in no way attempting to sell him short in any sort of comparison. Just that there are things he does better than break ankles...

The adjustment is to break down better when making tackles. The Huskies’ defenders didn’t have the best positioning on Saturday. There isn’t some sort of dramatic schematic adjustment to be made here. Play better football, which fortunately, has been the hallmark of the Washington defense of late.


How do we matchup with Stanford's ogre personnel? A true 3-4 with Qualls, Gaines, and Vea? Bear fronts to fight power and trap blocks?

Over / under on Mccaffery's rushing yards?

UWDP: The Huskies really haven’t matched up with opponents’ personnel all that much under Pete Kwiatkowski; they’ve basically played in their nickel package around 75% of the time, regardless of the opponent. While that’s usually been a 2-4-5 look (two down linemen, four linebackers, five defensive backs), they’ve also showed some 3-3-5, with Greg Gaines, Vita Vea, and Elijah Qualls on the line. That could be a more common look Friday, if the Huskies stick with their tendencies on defense to play nickel.

Big beats little, that’s certainly true. But fast beats slow as well. If the big bodies of Stanford’s line can’t make it to their blocking assignments, they can’t block them. Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria might be the best tacklers on the team, but the next five best all play in the secondary.


Are you guys gonna bring back Husky in the nfl weekly updates? I enjoyed reading those.

UWDP: It was a nice feature, true. Anyone that wants to volunteer to take on the task on a weekly basis would be welcomed by everyone here.


Prior to this year, many predicted UW to go 10-2 with loses to Oregon and Arizona. What is it about Arizona that made this a projected lose in the preseason. Based on winning in Arizona does the outlook for UWs season look better or does the fact arizona was diminished by injuries take away from the luster of our first road win?


Was this win a "we can win tough battles" or "we aren't as good as we thought we were"?

Was that Arizona's offense coming alive or our defense not executing or what?

a fan:

I know it seems like the huskies struggled on saturday, but there's a few things I'd like to point out.

1) Arizona has beaten a top 10 opponent at home 4 times since 2010.

2) Playing in the desert has always been hard for the Huskies (Btw, I think this game might have ended all that).

3) Besides a couple of lucky plays by Arizona and missed field goals by Washington, it seemed like the Huskies had control most of the second half.

Pulling out a win with these three factors is good, am I right?

cool as the other side of the pillow:

should I feel strangely confident going into this week's matchup with Stanford? My simple justification is that UW has struggled in the desert, it was the first week of classes, late kickoff game, first time seeing similar caliber of talent and Arizona knocks off a top-10 team every year under Rich Rod. Oregon has struggled in the past, as has Utah and ASU. I saw the matchup as the first PAC-12 road conference game where the dawgs showed some grit to pull out a W

UWDP: Arizona played a fairly inspired football game on Saturday. The Huskies didn’t play their best, particularly on defense. Arizona made some plays in the fourth quarter to put the game into overtime, but it really felt to me that the Huskies had control of the game in the second half, but just barely failed to make a couple of plays on offense that would’ve put the game in to the “comfortable win” category. I give credit to the playmakers on Arizona’s offense. But the homeruns that the Wildcats hit were as much an issue of largely simple mistakes made by the defense as opposed to something fundamentally in Arizona’s favor.

A lot of people put a lot into the losing streak in the state of Arizona. I really don’t think it was any sort of factor to the team, but it’s nice to get a road win in conference play, no matter where it is. And Arizona isn’t a “bad” team by any stretch. Rich Rodriguez is a pretty good coach. It’s a good win, even if it didn’t have the style points I’d liked to have seen.

The Huskies learned more about themselves on Saturday than they did in the first three games of the season. And it came in a win. Last year, the last five years even, I’m not sure that would’ve been the case.


Do you like turtles? I like turtles.

UWDP: You told everybody that you asked a really good question, but this is the only one I found, Joe. Sorry if I missed that whizzbanger you were talking about.


What's more perplexing.. ? Is this the Jake Browning we will see over his tenure as UW's QB? Or is it, why is this offense still having these kinds of games w/ brutal play calling in crucial situations?

UWDP: Jake Browning’s passer rating was 152.6. His adjusted quarterback rating was 79.9. There was more on the table for him too....What do you think was wrong with his game on Saturday? He could’ve avoided a sack or two, and the pick was bad. What else?

What was wrong with the play calling? The team rushed for 351 yards, at almost 7 yards a carry, and scored three TD’s on the ground. A power running game - isn’t that what people lambasted Jonathan Smith over in 2015?

Please explain.


How comments are actually deleted by mods weekly; just round average.

UWDP: I’ve no idea. Maybe four?


Has anyone on the pound been accused of or convicted of plagiarism, forgery, or illegal impersonating of any kind?

UWDP: Accused: Yes, no, yes

Convicted: No, yes, no


Why the hell do you run a counter play (VERY long developing) on 4 and 1. Not once but twice?? Absolutely idiotic

UWDP: Against an attacking defense, it’s actually not a bad call. Especially since the counter action can get them moving one direction, which allows the blockers to use the defense’s momentum against it. And that pause sort of has the effect of a draw play on a passing down - it gives the runner the ability to use overpursuit against the defense.

It wasn’t my favorite call, but I think it’s more due to the results of the play. I can see the logic in running it.

Grumpydawg: he as bad as he looked last night?

How does a 330 lb dt wrap up and begin to drag down someone 100 lbs lighter and magically not make the tackle?

How many sacks did Browning take against a three man front from Arizona?

Where was azeem Victor? Did he forget to get on the plan?

For a preseason all American pick.... Budda looked terrible,. How do you let that receiver get behind you?

What other options do we have at kicker?......the van Winkle saga needs to be over. Not a D-1 kicker. Plain and simple

UWDP: You sound grumpy, dawg.

Psalm Wooching basically is what he is at this point. Players on the defense far better than he is failed to step up on Saturday. Wooching needs to play better this Friday, same as the rest of the defense. But he’s going to be more effective against Stanford’s physical style than Arizona’s speed and deception offense.

Vita Vea was held on that play. But yes, he still should’ve made the tackle. He didn’t wrap up, and couldn’t find anything to grab around Dawkins’ shoulders. Going for the ball was a mistake after that; he should’ve tried to slide down to Dawkins’ waist. But, he was being held....

None. He did take four from the Wildcats’ blitz, though.

Azeem Victor was on the plane, and on the plan. He played fairly well on Saturday. As for Budda Baker, he was on the wrong end of two highlight plays. Plays he usually makes. It happens. I’m sure he got his fair share of criticism from the coaches, and I’m sure he’ll play better on Friday. Because he’s a good football player.

Does anyone remember that chip shot All-American Chuck Nelson missed in the Apple Cup that would’ve sent the Huskies to the Rose Bowl?


Between last season and this season, is this looking more like the fall of the ducks or a bump in the road?

UWDP: As atrocious as the Ducks’ defense was last year, they were still probably the most dangerous team in the conference - when Vernon Adams was healthy. Without him, that probably would’ve been a 6-6 type team.

As tempting as it is to write off the Ducks after the last two games, I’m not willing to do it quite yet. Their offensive line has been mediocre, but it’s more a matter of youth and inexperience right now. Royce Freeman is still on the team, along with a couple of very fast complimentary backs. The receiving corps is talented. And while Dakota Prukop isn’t Vernon Adams, he’s several steps ahead of the players backing Adams up last season.

Oregon could collapse, but I still think they’re likely to be a seven or eight win team - merely a “relative collapse.” I don’t think Mark Helfrich is the long-term answer at head coach, but I also don’t think the fall, when it happens, is going to be as far as Husky fans hope. What will be really interesting to see is what happens when Oregon goes to hire a new coach. I can’t think of a program that’s benefited from stability and internal continuity as much as the Ducks have in the last two decades. We’ll see how attractive a job it really is to a true outsider.


Pretend to be an unbiased east coast sports fan: Between UWs four games and Stanford's three games, which team looks better?

UWDP: When you take into account the schedules each team has played, and the way Arizona was able to create big plays against the Husky defense, I think Stanford has been a better version of Stanford than Washington has of being the Huskies. If I’m being unbiased...

Stanford’s defense has been impressive, but the UW offense is the best the Cardinal will have seen this year, by a decent margin. It remains to be seen how the Husky defense responds to the number of huge plays it gave up - and at critical times - last week. At this point, I have to think that that game was an anomaly and not a new normal.

The difference between the two teams is pretty small right now. Stanford has earned the benefit of the doubt based on what is now a fairly long run of sustained success. Washington doesn’t have the same sort of credit. They’re going to have to take it on the field.


It seems to me that the difference between the Gaskin and Coleman runs (in the last two games anyway) are that Coleman is running down field hard into the hole, whereas Gaskin is waiting for a hole. Am I crazy? Are we blocking better when Coleman gets the ball? Is it something else completely?

UWDP: Lavon Coleman has certainly run the power play well the last two games (although I don’t put a ton of stock into the Portland State game, for obvious reasons).

Against Arizona, the power was simply working no matter who the back carrying the ball; Gaskin had a couple of nice gains, as did Jomon Dotson. It was Coleman who had the biggest night.

I think there are a couple of things at play here. The offensive line blocked that play later in the game better than they did early, for one. Several of the less-effective runs with Gaskin were zone blocking by the line; the offensive line didn’t have much success with this, and none of the backs gained much in the way of positive yards. Gaskin was the one who had most of these carries, however, so he had the most opportunities to not look great. Of Coleman’s 11 carries, seven were power runs; the other four went for a total of seven yards.

Third, the timing was just a little bit better with Coleman on the power than it was Gaskin. Whether the issue when Gaskin was in was due to the line or something that Gaskin was (or wasn’t) doing isn’t 100% clear, but the point when the pulling guard makes his block and the back hitting the hole just wasn’t the same. Not as often.

Coleman’s play on Saturday night was huge for the Huskies. It’s great to see him do well, and I have a lot more confidence in him than I did at the start of the season. But the Huskies are going to need Myles Gaskin to be the Myles Gaskin of 2015 starting this week.


Based on what I saw last night,. This is a 7 win team, just how overrated do you think they are?


Based on our dismal performance last night.....over\under on McCaffrey rushing totals- 250yds

UWDP: Looking at the schedule, I’m not sure I see much more than one more win, much less the three required to get to seven. Maybe if the Dawgs catch Oregon State on a bad day...

I doubt the Huskies hold McCaffrey to -250 yards rushing. I think that would be some sort of record. I’ll take the over.


Possible blasphemy: If UW had to change either its mascot (huskies , not Harry) or its color scheme, which would you choose and what would you change it to?

UWDP: Yes, it’s blasphemy.

The Huskies have been the Huskies for almost 100 years now, dating back to 1922. The official school colors of purple and gold are even older, dating back to 1892. Changing either of them isn’t even a consideration.



Every week the Huskies win they go down one in the rankings. So if they win the national title, will they then be unranked?

UWDP: Or negatively ranked.


I will be at the game, near the northwest corner with all of the season ticket holders and recruits. Are there any recruits of note that will be there?

UWDP: Word is that Foster Sarrell will be in attendance on an unofficial visit. Outside of that, hopefully someone that follows recruiting more closely than I can add some more information.


I tried to build comradery with the away game meetup. I was burned. What did I do wrong?

UWDP: I don’t know, Ragu. For my part, I hate watching football games I care about in bars. No sound, and too many people that aren’t there to seriously watch the game. I’d much rather watch the game alone than watch in a bar. There are around 13 or so chances a year to watch the Huskies play football. It’s serious business, not a social event. For me, anyway.


Do we know if there's a theme on Friday? "All I Saw Was Purple" seems appropriate.

UWDP: It’s a celebration of the 1991 national championship team. The 25th anniversary. It sounds like a lot of them will be at the game. Should be a great halftime ceremony.


Was it just me or did the O-line's performance on Saturday vs the Cats seem pretty solid, all in all?


What led to the improved OL play?

UWDP: The offensive line played well, particularly in the second half, and particularly in the run game. Pass protection was pretty good, but they did struggle at times in the face of Arizona’s near-constant blitzing.

About the only reasonable criticism outside of that would be the false start penalties; I believe there were four, and two of them really hurt drives.

Arguably the biggest factor is that Arizona’s defensive line 1). Isn’t great, and 2). Is incredibly small. The smallest the Huskies will face this season. The Dawgs had a distinct physical advantage, and to their credit, took advantage of it.


How would Mrs. Brad describe your GameDay experience?

UWDP: Awesome. Amazing.

She’s a great fan - intense, knowledgeable, and loud. But she tends to curse quite a bit. Way more than me, in fact. I love watching games with her.


Since it's a Friday evening game, and traffic should be brutal, when should I leave Bellingham in order to get to the game in time for a couple hours of tailgating? And is the Northgate shuttle still the best option coming from that direction? Maybe commenters will be able to help me out more, but I'm going to ask the smart people first...

UWDP: Leave now, just to be sure.

Friday traffic, with a game to boot....I’d calculate how long it would take you to get to Seattle, and then add an extra hour in there. And then I’d add an extra hour. Maybe two.

Here’s some travel information for you for Friday’s game. Yes, it looks like the Northgate shuttle is an option, but not until 3:30 pm, which likely won’t get you to the stadium until after 4:00, if tailgating is on the agenda...


How does the pass rush improve?

UWDP: The Huskies are almost loathe to blitz, so the rush pretty much comes from the linemen. For the most part this season, they’ve done a pretty good job, I’d say. Against Arizona, they managed a couple of sacks, but forced Dawkins to move a number of times. Tackling was a bigger issue than pressure Saturday, as they left at least a couple of sacks on the table in Tucson.

Pressure is going to come from coverage for the Huskies for the most part.

Getting a healthy Jaylen Johnson back will be a big addition. He’s not as physically imposing as Greg Gaines or Vita Vea, but he’s a quicker, more agile athlete. If nothing else, he adds starter-quality depth to the defensive line rotation. That’s going to make everybody better.


What are the next steps for program development?

UWDP: With only a few exceptions, the first-line talent at Washington is good enough to win the conference. In some cases, it’s still young, and only the passage of time will correct that; a healthy Chris Petersen program is built in large part on continuity and experience, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

The next step right now is building depth - the kind where you don’t even realize a starter is off the field because his backup doesn’t miss a beat. Right now, it’s still a little weak in a few places.

The pinnacle is simply increasing the overall level of recruiting to the “consistent top ten class” level, while maintaining the other hallmarks of Petersen’s program.


What does the 2-deep look like next year?

UWDP: It looks pretty good.

It’s hard to know who’s going to end up leaving early, but the back half of the defense is going to look drastically different in 2017, for sure. The Huskies have recruited well at defensive back, but the outlook is a little less clear at linebacker right now. We’re going to have to hope the coaching staff can do the same things with the young’ns on the roster now that they managed with Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria.

The offense could be the strength of the team next year regardless. The skill positions will be veteran-laden, and there will be a lot of experience returning on the line.


Do we get all our hype back after we beat Stanford by 2 touchdowns??

UWDP: 27-13. A blowout.

Yeah, that’d do it.


Was the defensive performance and aberration, or is there a weakness that Arizona took advantage of? While I think teams that run right at the Husky D can have success, I simply did not see the Arizona QB having that much success.

UWDP: I think a few things.

  1. Rich Rodriguez is a good football coach, and his teams can always score points. In a down year for the Wildcats in 2015, they still averaged over 37 points per game, good enough for fourth in the conference, and only a half-point out of second. In 2014, the Wildcats finished the regular season at 10-2, and south division champs.
  2. Arizona isn’t actually a bad team, even though they’re going to have a rough go until Nick Wilson is healthy enough to play. Dawkins will make plays against just about everybody.
  3. There aren’t any really “bad” wins in the Pac 12, and there aren’t an easy outs. The conference isn’t necessarily as strong as others at the very top, but it’s very tough in the middle and at the bottom (for whatever that’s worth).
  4. The Huskies weren’t exactly ready for the increase in talent from their non-conference schedule to even a middle-of-the-road Pac 12 team. Particularly on defense, and particularly as it relates to speed. The defense seemed like it was just a half-beat off the first half of the game, in terms of angles and finishing tackles. The defense played like it was their first game of the year instead of their fourth. The good news is that a lot of the things that hurt them are fairly easily correctable.
  5. The Huskies can play a lot better than they did on both sides of the ball.

Give Arizona credit; they played hard all game long. The Huskies controlled most of the second half, but made enough mistakes to keep themselves from being able to shut the door. I have a lot of confidence in this defense.


When was the last time a Husky / Stanford football matchup carried this much importance? Which team won that game and who were the key players?

UWDP: There have been some good games in the series, but many were before my time. In 1978 and again in 1980, unranked Washington teams went in to Palo Alto and beat ranked Cardinal teams. In 1982, however, the 2nd-ranked Huskies went again, and fell this time to an unranked Stanford team.

In 1986, a 12th-ranked , Husky team lead by junior QB Chris Chandler knocked off the 18th-ranked Cardinal, again in Palo Alto. In 1992, the 2nd-ranked Huskies crushed the 15th-ranked Cardinal in Seattle 41-7 to claim the next week’s top ranking, only to follow it up with a loss on the road against Arizona the next week as junior QB Billy Joe Hobert was suspended in the days leading up to the game.

In 1993, the 12th-ranked Huskies opened up the Jim Lambright era with a 34-14 win over a 15th ranked Stanford team behind a huge rushing attack spearheaded by Napolean Kaufman. The Dawgs held the Tree to 35 yards on 34 carries that day. It was also my first game as a student, a tidbit that my belong in the “Useless Facts” section...

In 1995 in Palo Alto, senior QB Damon Huard led the 24th-ranked Huskies to a big win over 16th-rated Stanford, 38-28.

In 1999, Pac 10-leading (and 25th ranked) Stanford came into Husky Stadium, but left with a 35-30 loss as the Huskies briefly took control of the conference race. The Huskies were led by a QB with a funny-sounding last name (I think it was German...maybe Dutch) that I can’t quite remember right now. As I recall, he had a good game, though.

In terms of rankings, the 2001 matchup comes the closest to this game - Stanford came in to Seattle at #10, and the Huskies were #11. Sophomore Cody Pickett led the Huskies to a 42-28 win that day. Stanford had two good running backs on that team, and after trailing at halftime, tied the game in the fourth quarter on a Brian Allen TD run, and two-point coversion pass. The Huskies answered with a long touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a Willie Hurst TD run. The Husky defense took the ball away almost immediately after the score, and Hurst added another TD run in the final minute - his third of the day, all in the second half - for the final margin.

In 2006, a winless Stanford team came in to Husky Stadium, while the Huskies had lost five straight. All the Huskies needed to do to gain bowl eligibility in Tyrone Willingham’s second season was beat this hapless Stanford team, and then win the Apple Cup the next week. Instead, these two anti-juggernauts combined for 59 yards rushing and 387 yards of offensive offense, as the Huskies fell 20-3 in one of the worst football games I’ve ever had the displeasure of attending.

In 2009, the Huskies gained their first national ranking since the early parts of the 2003 season, but were bludgeoned by the Cardinal in Palo Alto.

I’m sure most people remember the 2012 game at Century Link Field, when the Huskies stunned the 8th-ranked Cardinal behind Bishop Sankey’s long TD run in the 4th quarter.

2013 featured the 15th-ranked Huskies at the #5 Stanford; the Huskies largely dominated the game on both sides of the ball, but were hurt by a handful of poor special teams plays. Keith Price turned in what might’ve been his best game as a Husky, but a last-ditch drive ended when a fourth down catch by wide receiver Kevin Smith was overturned on review, and the Huskies fell 31-28.


I was at the Arizona game. Is it legal or ethical to use the stadium loud speaker to generate fan noise?

UWDP: I don’t know what the exact rules are on this. Typically, the stadium’s sound system ceases music and/or noise when the offense breaks the huddle; that might be due to rules. Teams have been accused of piping crowd noise through the stadium sound systems on occasion; the Ducks were during their win over Michigan State in 2014, for example.

It’s certainly bush league, especially if it was done when the Huskies were at the line of scrimmage, trying to go through their cadence. My guess is that it’s not “legal” at that point, but I don’t know for sure.


The Stanford game on Friday seems like the biggest home game for the Huskies in I don't know how long. Oregon in 2013 (#2 v. #16, GameDay, eventual Heisman winner, etc.) seems close, but otherwise we're talking about games in 2001 or before. Is this really the biggest home game for UW in 15+ years?


Is this Stanford game considered one of if not the biggest game in the past decade or so in Husky Football? Are there any games that even come close to being this huge in the past 10 to 12 years for UW?

UWDP: In the past decade it certainly is one of the biggest, either home or away. The 2013 games against Stanford (on the road) and Oregon (at home, with Game Day broadcasting from the UW) are in the conversation.

If we take it back more than a decade, the Apple Cups in 2001 and 2003 in Husky Stadium would be in the conversation, as well as the 2001 game against Stanford. And stretching Nick’s 15+ gets us to the Miami game here in 2000....


why are the Huskies a favorite vs Stanford?

UWDP: It’s a game between two good-but-not-quite-great teams, and Washington has one of the best home-field advantages in the conference in cases like this.

The betting line has actually moved slightly in Washington’s favor this week, which means money is coming in on Washington winning and covering the spread. To see what Vegas actually “thinks” about this game, look at the betting line when it closes; the serious gamblers typically bet late, and research has shown that the closing line is one of, if not the most, accurate predictor of college football games.

OsidePup (tent):

When was the last time that UW defeated the consensus pre-season pick to win the PAC Championship.

UWDP: I don’t know for sure, but my guess would be USC in 2009.

CO Dawg:

Crystal ball time. Project top 4 teams in the PAC-12 in 3-4 years... Is it outlandish to view UW, Stanford in the North with Utah and CU in the south. as I look at the PAC those are the 4 teams that stand out as being football Teams. Built on Balance, attention to detail, discipline where as the rest of the PAC seems to either be system teams (i.e. lots of offense but no defense) or like UCLA lots of talent but lacking in technical precision and discipline

UWDP: I’d agree on Washington and Stanford in the north; I don’t want to discount Oregon too early, but the odds are that if they fire Mark Helfrich, they won’t actually do better than him. Not that they can’t, or won’t, but it’s statistically unlikely.

Utah has had a fairly amazing run of consistency with Kyle Whittingham as the head coach, but it’s worth noting that they actually haven’t done anything. They play good defense, but have yet to put together a commensurate offense. There’s potential this year, but the same could be said for 2015, when they started off hot, but faltered down the stretch.

I think Mike MacIntyre is the most undervalued coach in the conference, but I don’t think the Buffs are at the sort of level you’re predicting. Mostly because they aren’t recruiting well enough to take that sort of step (same as Utah, really) at this point. I think both Utah and Colorado will continue to make noise in the south, but I don’t think there’s anyone actually poised to consistently run the division.


I love Les Miles - thoughts on where he might end up? Any chance he ends up at one of the CA schools?

UWDP: I really don’t think Les Miles is going to be a hot commodity this next offseason. For one, he’ll be 63 years old. Two, he was fired for a lack of imagination and development on the offensive side of the ball, and that isn’t likely to be the recipe in college football today.

There’s no way he ends up at a California school, partly because only one of the jobs is going to be open this season, and USC isn’t going to hire a guy that was just fired for failure. He’s a east coast/rust belt coach. If he’s actually coaching in 2016 (and not working a TV booth), he’ll probably have to take a step down in prestige; someplace like Kentucky, North Carolina State, Minnesota, etc. Not necessarily those places specifically, but I will be absolutely shocked if he’s given the keys to an established football school next year.

Frankly, at his age, he just might be done.

Darin Johnson:

Rank these from least surprising to most.

Quality run-blocking from the OL. In fact overall quality OL play.

Defensive struggles with a mobile QB.

Difficultly stopping the run in general.

Lack of downfield passing success.

Apparent breakout game by Coleman vis a vis continued quiet from Gaskin.

Poor tackling.

Two missed field goals(!). Extra credit: how big a problem is this on a scale from three (this too shall pass) to 162 (no more field goal attempts this year).

I will give the correct answers in the comments.

UWDP: Okay, least surprising to most...

  1. Two missed field goals. On your scale, it’s a 47. Concerning, but too small a sample size.
  2. Quality run blocking from the OL. Arizona’s defensive line is tiny, and the Huskies offensive line has shown the ability to block for the run.
  3. Lack of downfield passing success. Jake Browning missed out on a couple of huge plays here; the one to Ross that was pass interference should’ve been thrown to the middle of the field. He also missed a big play to Dante Pettis by waiting too long to throw the ball.
  4. Defensive struggles with a mobile QB. I expected Dawkins to be able to make a play or two, but not nearly as many as he did.
  5. Apparent breakout game by Coleman vis a vis continued quiet from Gaskin. There’s a small sample size factor here; Coleman did almost all his damage on four carries. Gaskin actually had good success when he ran that same power play, but not to the same degree. The surprise here was how much the offensive line struggled with zone blocking. Virtually all of the “short” runs were zone plays, for both Gaskin and Coleman.
  6. Difficulty in stopping the run in general. The schoolyard breakdowns are frustrating, but not the end of the world. But prior to getting hurt, J.J. Taylor was getting pretty consistent yardage. I don’t think the Huskies’ defense was quite ready for Arizona’s speed, and too often they seemed like they were just a half-step out of position.
  7. Tackling in general. Geez, guys....Just make the play.


Chris Petersen and Jake Browning take on David Shaw and Christian McCaffrey in a 2-on-2 Cornhole match. Best 2 out of 3. Who wins and why? This question, and your answer, may or may not be symbolic. If it matters, they are playing on the purple and gold boards.

UWDP: Two quarterbacks (one current, one former) against an overweight former wide receiver and a running back, in a game that involves throwing things...

No brainer, Petersen and Browning in two straight. It would be a long game, though, as everybody would use the entire 40 seconds on the play clock.

It’s time, folks. Be there, be loud, wear purple.