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Stuff and Shenanigans: “Millions of Apples, Apples for Me” ~Class of 2015

Thank you, Jake, Myles, and everyone.

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Hi, it’s me, your favorite slightly drunk (like, not at this very moment... just in general) millennial white girl. And I’m here to admit something which most of you have probably caught on to at this point if you have been paying even slight attention and have basic deduction skills. I’m here to admit that I’m exactly what Cougs like to accuse Husky fans of being. In other words, I didn’t go to UW. Holy motherflippin’ hammer of Zeus or Thor or whatever. Yeah. The horror.

Instead, both my parents met there at the UCU house (nerds!), and my grandparents met there at the Wesley Club when my grandpa’s bro-pal told my grandpa he was thinking of asking my grandma to the dance, and my grandpa lied and was like (and I quote) “Nah bitch I already asked her and she said yes” and then his inner monologue was like “Oh shit now I have to ask her oh noooo” and then he did and she said yes and then blah blah blah they had three crazy children and blah blah blah one of those had a kid who was me. And he took me to a Husky game when I was, like, three or something, and every time they scored six the crowd exploded. My ears hurt and I said it was too noisy, but from that point on it stuck. And my neighbor had been a coxswain for them back in Le Cold War, and my other two neighbors would play soccer there, and we’d go to annual Windermere Cups, and I’d go to annual UW softball camps (Coach Tarr is the greatest), and so on. And every Apple Cup in elementary school, me and two other Coug girls would dress the heck up and harass each other. It was flippin’ incredible. And I assumed, forever, that I would end up at Washington.

And then I didn’t.

I didn’t even apply. I wasn’t even interested.

If you’ve been paying attention the last three seasons, you’ll have figured out with your basic reasoning ability that I ended up right by Sea to Sky Country. Up north. Cursing Blue Jays and rich Whistler European tourists and pretending to know how hockey works and worshiping Virtue and Moir and Patrick Chan and James Paxton (up yours, Yankees) and the Arkells.

Which doesn’t, inherently, seem to have anything to do with this, at all, whatsoever. In fact, it sure does seem like I just wasted 300 words of your precious Tuesday time indulging in whatever the heck this was.

But fifteen hours before I left for my junior year in Vancouver — to move in with three people I didn’t know, in a house I’d never been to (don’t worry; they ended up being rad) — I went one house over to my parents’ college friends’ home to watch Washington play at Boise State. They were almost certainly going to lose. There was nothing really to look forward to.

Yet, for no rational reason, the scenario from earlier in the day kept playing over in my head, when I asked my dad who he thought Chris Petersen would start at quarterback that night: “Jeff Lindquist, I bet,” he said, to which I replied, “Yeah, you’re probably right.” We didn’t elaborate.

But something in the back of my frontal lobe or cortex or whatever part of the brain that does these things kept repeating, “Naaaaaaah.”

And — following a pattern I’ve since then learned to trust — I was right.

That little dweeb-y, elf-from-Lord-of-the-Rings-lookin’ dude trotted out from the sideline. Washington lost. Myles Gaskin was still a nobody who gained five yards on five rushes. It was an astoundingly, peak-Petersen, boring game. Somebody on Twitter posted, afterwards, that “Jake Browning is the guy who drives a Lamborghini in GTA five MPH under the speed limit.” Don’t ask me how I remember that one quote. Sometimes things just stick. The next morning I returned to Canada.

Despite not having cable, the mostly irrational sense of possibility that lingered after the Boise State game kept me tuned as often as possible to near-Soviet-quality illegal streams of Husky games on Saturdays that fall. I left with five minutes to go in the USC upset to catch a show in time before saying a Hail Mary a half hour later, prior to checking the final score. A fellow Washingtonian and I brought my computer out — despite what can only be called a “less than calm” Halloween party taking place simultaneously — to watch the Dawgs huck Arizona off a cliff three weeks later. (I left mid-way through the third quarter for another friend’s Halloween party, and the next morning there was dried beer on my laptop. It died two months later. Probably unrelated. Worth it, anyway.) Two Brits and a Californian and I skipped school to drive down to watch that year’s Apple Cup, with the added bonus of watching two recently-graduated frat bros from WSU and UW get in the lamest fight anyone’s ever witnessed.

In other words, if 2016 was the year of pure, unadulterated ass-kicking, 2015 was the year of having that blip of an instant where you realized things were about to get really fun, really soon.

After that season, looking at Washington’s upcoming schedule, the trajectory of teams, and then some, I realized: No matter how middling Washington had been this year, they were gonna win 10 one year from now. At least.

Not to take any credit, but this was before any national media gave a rat’s Bubonic plague-infested behind about the Dawgs. All they’d done was beat Southern Mississippi (shoutout Nick Mullens’ 49ers), gone 7-6, and beaten a Luke Falk-less Cougars. I wrote down my thoughts, hit publish on my newly-acquired administrator credentials at Pacific Takes, and went home. Ryan and Chris, in next week’s dots, wrote that some person over at Pacific Takes was giving their prediction for next year’s Husky season and was very optimistic.

Worth it.

It’s been fun since.

And it sure looks like it’ll be fun for a while.

So, to Jake and Myles and BBK and everyone else from that class: Thanks for bringing me back home.

A 42% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of “Absolutely Everything” but This Time in Quick Bullet Points Because I Used up a Bajillion Words Writing Everything Else

  • Oh man. If Joe Tryon keeps going in the trajectory he’s been on the last few games... That dude could end up killing next year. I’m not gonna say definitely, but it’s not unlikely that next year and the year after, he turns into the guy we all thought he could be.
  • For as good as WSU’s offensive line has been — and much of that is less about them and more about Gardner Minshew having a crazy quick release — I was surprised at how much Greg Gaines was able to bull rush a double team and win. As effective as he is, his role as a pure gap-stuffer combined with losing Vita Vea’s dominance has made his play more subtle this year. Granted, I’m just saying this based on the eye test, but he bullied what was supposed to be one of the best — if not the best — offensive lines they’ve faced this year.
  • While I don’t know the specific stats on this and could be wrong, the biggest executive difference — offensively — in this game that differentiated it from the trends we’ve gotten used to seemed to be Browning and Co.’s second and third downs, especially second/third and long or mediums. For me, anyway, this year and last have been characterized by not feeling that complete trust in things to go quite right once the ball’s snapped on second and third. Unfortunately, hitting 60 points on the regular two years ago has given me (and most of us, let’s admit) trust issues with anything less than insane offensive output, but the pure efficiency that the Huskies and Jake’s right arm showed Friday (totally on-brand) finally combining with the ability to create explosive plays (totally not on-brand) felt like that magic factor that they weren’t able to replicate most of this year. Even with a modest 28 points, that’s 28 points on nine drives (the one play, eight second drive to end the first half notwithstanding), in the snow, that would’ve been 35 had Bush Hamdan chosen to rub it in the Cougs’ face and drive Gaskin in instead of kneeling it at the end.
  • That, friends, is a points per drive of 3.111(etc.), better than the season average for teams such as West Virginia, Clemson, Fresno State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Boise State, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Oregon... I could go on. In fact, UW’s PPD performance on Friday was better than the season’s average for all FBS teams except for Alabama, Central Florida, Utah State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio, *ahem* Wazzu, Army, Houston, Memphis, and Georgia Tech. If you were counting, that would place Washington sixth among all power five teams if they had kept that up all season long. And if they decided to go for one last Myles Gaskin touchdown in Pullman instead of kneeling? 3.8889, or, better than all other FBS teams not named Alabama or Oklahoma. In other words, interception and fumble notwithstanding, the offense played really good. Even if the final score is decidedly “meh.”
  • Saw some Coug friends for the first time since the Apple Cup last night. They were, at the very least, not thrilled with how well Washington’s screen game worked out. Which reminds me: As much as I hope we don’t make those same mistakes with screen plays against Utah as we did last time, the execution of some of those — specifically Browning’s commitment to selling the other side of the field and Andre Baccellia’s patience — were glorious.
  • Oh, and special teams is still the wooooooorst.

Lines of the Week

Bush Hamdan now that Hunter Bryant’s back in business:

Jimmy Lake to Mike Leach re: his Air Raid versus Kwiatkowski/Lake’s defense:

And lastly, all of us who predicted a Washington win, pretending like we weren’t ever nervous about the whole thing:

Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.