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30 Day Countdown - Day 23: Must Win Game

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This streak needs to end at one.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl - Washington v Ohio State Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Our countdown to the opener against Eastern Washington continues. There are 23 days until the season begins, and I’m sure if you asked Chris Petersen to rank the games on the schedule from most important to least important, he would grab a napkin and a pen and quickly scrawl them down because that’s all he thinks about.

Wrong. But as fans, we love this shit.

Now, on to one of all-time great sports cliches: The Must Win Game.

California Golden Bears - Husky Stadium - 7:30 PM - September 7 (Week 2)

A bit of a rarity as the Huskies will play the Pac-12 conference opener in the second week of the season, marking two years in a row that the Dawgs will play an important game (non-cupcake game, per ESPN) early in the season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Cal at Washington
Justin Wilcox led Cal to a 7-6 record in 2018.
Photo by Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last year’s game at Cal was Halloween weekend and damn that game was scary; absolute frightening terror. I don’t want to rehash that, too painful. Too much like the Arizona State game in 2016. The offense was very bad (after the opening drive for a TD). The defense was very good, but unable to get the last stop of the game. Husky fans were treated to watching an inferior team kneel the ball in the closing minute.

Cal has a good team, especially on defense. Their offense is likely to be better than a year ago. Still, I certainly don’t expect the Huskies to lose this one. If they did, it really throws a wrench in their Pac-12 title hopes. It’s early enough in the year that the loss would be far from devastating with still lots of football to be played, but it’s still pretty much a must-win in terms of setting the tone for the year.

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USC Trojans - Husky Stadium - TBA - September 28 (Week 5)

I’ll be honest, the main reason USC is on this list is because I really like it when UW beats the Trojans. Besides that, it doesn’t make a tremendous amount of sense because it’s not a division game.

UNLV v USC
USC quarterback JT Daniels was sacked 25 times during his true freshman season. He also grows an atrocious goatee.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

But it’s USC. The measuring stick for the conference. Yes, that’s right I’m talking about a 5-7 team being the cream of the Pac-12. Southern Cal is most dangerous when they aren’t supposed to be great. Put them #3 in the pre-season poll and I’m not worried as much, but USC is ranked behind Kentucky and Army in the pre-season AP poll where they come in at #34. All that talent and tradition with low expectations is a recipe for a great season.

I hope USC is playing well —maybe top 10— and Chris Petersen is able to add a big win (signature perhaps) to his short list of them since taking over the Husky program.

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Oregon Ducks - Husky Stadium - TBA - October 19 (Week 8)

This game has everything you want in a must win. It’s against the co-favorite to win the North, it’s at home (also homecoming), and it’s Oregon. After all those years of losing, the Dawgs pounded bad Ducks teams two years in a row. But the streak ended there with a heart-breaking loss in Eugene last season.

Redbox Bowl - Michigan State v Oregon
Justin Herbert completed 18-32 passes for 202 yards and a pair of scores in the overtime win against UW last season.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Does Oregon continue on a new streak, or do the Huskies end it at one loss and start a winning streak of their own? This game comes a week after back to back road games at Stanford and Arizona, and before the first of two UW bye weeks. If “must win” means a game that will make us all sick to our stomachs if the Huskies lose, then it qualifies. If it means a game that likely decides the north, it qualifies.

Gotta have it.

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Poll

Which game most closely qualifies as "Must Win" for the Huskies in 2019

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    California
    (54 votes)
  • 1%
    USC
    (16 votes)
  • 90%
    Oregon
    (980 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (31 votes)
1081 votes total Vote Now