The UW Report: Washington and Wisconsin

Tim SeemanAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 05:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies rushes against Rahim Alem #84 the LSU Tigers on September 5, 2009 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Tigers defeated the Huskies 31-23. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Bleacher Report, it's been far too long.  Maybe it's my fault for not coming up with something to say.  Maybe it's the Brewers fault for not giving me anything to talk about. Who knows?  But lately, I've found something to write about.

You see, I go to a university that doesn't have a major college football program, Marquette.  By virtue of where I grew up, I had always been a Wisconsin Badger fan.  One of my earliest, though vague, memories is watching the 1994 Rose Bowl as a 5-year-old. Another early memory is attending a game at Camp Randall Stadium during the Ron Dayne years in Madison.

But this prologue isn't going to be so much about the Badgers as it is going to be about another UW, this time the one in Seattle.

I had been pretty close to some people up in the majestic northwest for the past couple years, and I kept an eye on the Huskies season of futility last year.  Zero wins.  Couldn't even beat Washington State.

Since that time, I've fallen out with those people I knew, and in a juvenile attempt to spite them from afar, I desperately wanted Louisiana State to crush the Huskies and make Steve Sarkisian second-guess his coming to the university.

But as the Huskies marched down the field on their first drive behind the talented-but-injury-prone Jake Locker, I couldn't help but to find myself getting behind the underdog.

When it became clear that the Huskies weren't going to hold on, I stopped watching and went to bed because it gets late in Wisconsin when teams are playing night games in Seattle.

I woke up the next morning to check the final score, and the Huskies only lost by eight points.  I found myself intrigued by the result and intrigued by these Washington Huskies.  With the intrigue generated by the Huskies and my already-existing affinity for another UW, I'm going to try and write up a dual UW article every week.


Excitement Following a Loss?  You Bet!

New head man Steve Sarkisian definitely gives the Washington football program an energy that it just didn't have with Tyrone Willingham as head coach.  His players fed off that energy and gave a good challenge to a tough team from the Southeastern Conference.

Another observation: Jake Locker and a handful of others on the offensive side of the ball for Washington can really play.  If the Huskies are to start rebuilding and accomplish what I think they can accomplish this season, it's critical for Locker to start every game for the Huskies.

I think the Husky revival starts in earnest next week against Idaho; all good things have to start somewhere, after all, and breaking a 15-game losing streak is a good spot to start.  Following that game, it will be up to Sarkisian and Locker to carry the momentum down to Southern Cal.

There are plenty of games the Huskies can win if they can continue to play the way they did against LSU.  A .500 record and bowl game eligibility certainly are not out of the question, and there are some teams that Washington might be able to surprise later this year (I'm looking at you, Notre Dame!).


According to Plan...Sort Of

The Wisconsin Badgers got off to the start they wanted following a disappointing 2008 campaign.  They opened up a 28-6 lead after three quarters over another group of Huskies, this one from Northern Illinois University.

The problem is the final score was 28-20.  That's right; NIU scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie the game after recovering an onside kick after pulling within eight points.

It's not exactly reassuring when you have to fend off a furious comeback from a MAC team on your home field.  In Big Ten play, the Badgers won't be able to afford final period mishaps they survived against NIU.

Fresno State rolls into Madison next week on a wave of confidence following a 51-0 blowout of UC Davis.  After that, Wisconsin plays FCS power Wofford.  The Badgers should win both games, but both teams, especially Fresno, will offer stiff competition.

Expectations are always high for the Badgers, but this looks like it will be another season in which the team falls just short.  Look for another Christmas week bowl game and for the Badgers to hold on to Paul Bunyan's axe, but don't be surprised when the Badgers finish somewhere in the middle of the Big Ten Conference.