25 days before we start dramatically overanalyzing snaps, making spectacularly uninformed judgements and calling out other teams for playing nobody. God, I love college football.
The goal of these Countdown pieces is to get your college football juices flowing ... and I’m not talking about the grease coming off of the bacon explosion you have on your grill right now. Some of the topics will be grounded in reality while a few others might be a bit more fanciful. Yesterday, we moved towards the former as Jeff looked at what the best road trips on the actual UW schedule might be. Today, we take a trip towards the latter by striking up a debate on what the ideal Husky road trip that the team is not taking in 2019 might look like.
The criteria for this debate can be anything you want it to be. For the purposes of narrowing the subject, I focused on a few specific rules:
- contribution of the game towards UW’s goals of getting into that CFP and beyond
- level of interest and/or personal investment that players and/or coaches might have
- attractiveness of the trip for traveling Husky fans
Here are the candidates:
1. We Want ‘Bama
We may as well get this out of the way. The truth is that a road trip to Tuscaloosa ranks subjectively well across all three of my personal criteria. A road win against Alabama would not only score extra credit points on the cards of all of the yahoos on the selection committee, but it would also shove a big, fat, toe-jam covered foot into the mouths of all of those on-air idiots who continuously stoke one-up driven conflict with our coaching staff (we’ll start with a-list idiots like Booger McFarland, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich)
Beyond the obvious, revenge-driven motivations that I shamelessly harbor, there are a few other more tempered benefits. At the top of the list is the idea that a win permanently and decisively eliminates the narrative that Chris Petersen can’t win a big game. Whether or not you agree with the sentiment, it’s hard to argue that it is not “a thing” now five years into a tenure with no wins over ranked OOC opponents. On the flip side, a loss in a hard fought game wouldn’t be viewed as all that damaging to the resume of a playoff contender. In fact, I would argue that the first team who will ever get into the CFP with two losses will almost assuredly have one of those coming at the hands of either ‘Bama or Clemson.
Beyond all of the on field stuff, Tuscaloosa is college football hallowed ground. Whether you are taking in the Walk of Champions, chomping down on a cheeseburger and grits at Rama Jama or downing a cold one at the Houndstooth, there is more than any one fan could possibly take in on a single game day. Beautiful September weather and a vibrant SEC vibe in the stadium completes the experience, even if a few Bubbas make fools of themselves in the process.
2. Touchdown, Jesus
Quickly, when was the last time Washington beat Notre Dame?
Trick question. The answer is never. In eight tries dating back to 1948, the Huskies have never beaten the Golden Domers. But it’s not even that UW has never beaten Notre Dame, It’s that they’ve really never even been competitive. Only twice in those eight tries has UW managed to keep the final deficit within single digits. In half of those eight contests, UW has failed to even score 10 points.
So, yah, the revenge angle is clearly established.
There really wouldn’t be a better time to catch the Irish than right now. They are fresh off of their first CFP season and have a coach who is entering his 10th season at the helm. Thus, they pose the challenge of a contender and the credibility of a coach who has been developing his craft for an extended time. This is no fly-by-night operation.
On top of that, Notre Dame is a fantastic road trip. The site is obviously a national treasure. From Rockne to Rudy, Theisman to Montana, and Tim Brown to Rocket Ismail, legends and Heismans have roamed those hallowed grounds. Visitors who make that road trip are greeted by knowledgable fans who are among the politest of all fan bases. Win or lose, you and your crew will certainly be invited to a stranger’s tailgate to commemorate an exceptional experience.
3. Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Valley)
Yeah, I admit it. I’m not over it. While there have been some shitty losses in the Chris Petersen era (Arizona, Cal and Oregon come to mind), none has done as much damage to the reputation of the program or to Petersen himself as the egg laid in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl. You can argue “comebacks” and ““won the second half” with me until you are blue in the face. But it won’t change the fact that the Husky D was Saquon Berkley’ed to death or that the lack of competitiveness in that NY6 bowl has lingered like the stench of soiled underpants around this Husky program at least in the eyes of the national audience. An opportunity to correct that debacle would be most welcome.
The Huskies have played three games against Penn State all time. They’ve yet to win one and have never tripped to Happy Valley. As such, Husky fans have likely never sampled one of the 100 flavors at the Creamery or rubbed a pig’s snout at the Tavern. These are great football traditions that Husky fans would surely enjoy.
a return “home” for Jacob Eason to play Georgia; rematch with an Urban-less Ohio State; a “D vs O” grudge match at Oklahoma.
The Choice: Penn State
I’m sorry. The Fiesta Bowl is an ugly smear on the ledger of Washington football that will linger until the Dawgs can clear it. A win in Happy Valley would not only clean the slate for bitter Husky fans but also provide for a great football experience for everybody.
If you had a scheduling do-over, what dream road trip would you schedule for UW in 2019?
This poll is closed