Washington Huskies: Why Beating Stanford Isn't a Bowl Eligibility Necessity
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Here we go again.
Once again the Washington Huskies are in what seems like a must-win game for bowl eligibility.
Seems like the name of the game for the on-and-off Washington Huskies who have championed the win every other week model.
This time the Huskies go into a key matchup with the Stanford Cardinal at a 3-4 clip, after beating Oregon State in thrilling double OT fashion, and suffering badly on the road at the hands of Arizona.
But, here's the thing. If the goal is for Washington to simply hit the .500 mark, it's not necessarily imperative that the Huskies clip the Cardinal.
Of course, I know what everybody must be thinking. With a meeting at Autzen Stadium with Oregon the following week, the Dawgs will be staring 3-6 in the face.
The Huskies aren't that bad. Instead, this is simply an unfortunate case of how the schedule has played for the Huskies.
After the gauntlet of difficult conference games that will end after the Oregon matchup, Washington will then enter the three-game run that will be, in reality, what defines their season.
But hey, don't get me wrong. For Washington to upset the 13th ranked team in the country on Saturday would be, once again, a huge yet unexpected boost for their bowl hopes, especially getting them back to .500, again.
It wouldn't be unprecedented this year. That is what wins on the road against USC and at home against Oregon State was. Season saving victories after disasters the week before. You could even throw the Syracuse victory into that mix.
But wins over USC and Oregon State only supplemented games that the Huskies should have won against BYU and Arizona State.
You see, before the season I had compiled a list of six games that I pegged as the most likely victories to get us to bowl eligibility.
Obviously, two of those games haven't worked out too well. Though, Sark's boys have risen to the occasion with unlikely victories against the Trojans and Beavers that made up for that.
The last half of my list of potential victories constitutes the final three games of the year for Washington. A win against Stanford would be huge because it could affix for a slip up against maybe, Cal in Memorial stadium. But a loss would be no reason for Husky fans to throw in the towel.
Is it really that out of the question for the Dawgs to finish the year on a three game winning streak? They dominated their final two games of the year last season against two of those three opponents, and lost to UCLA on the road by one.
Sure, UCLA beat Texas, they also have gotten blown out three times and will now be without Kevin Prince, again.
Washington State has been making steady improvements, but can still only tip their hat at their one point victory over FCS Opponent Montana State.
Cal smashed an Arizona State opponent that UW lost too, while also only losing to Arizona by one, but also got stagnated on offense and got blown out by a USC team that UW moved the football at will against. We don't know what Cal team we will get week in and week out, though, they have been most formidable at home, where UW will have to play them.
If these games had been sprinkled in earlier in the Conference schedule, we could be looking at a Husky team that would very well more likely would have continued the every other week win/loss pattern, and a Husky nation that would be very less inclined to freak out.
Yet, this is how the schedule has played out, with their four most difficult games all back to back. And in two weeks, we will probably be hearing radio analysts, angry fans, and writers questioning the heart, talent, and preseason expectations for these Huskies.
I'm sitting here telling you that this is what I expected, and that this Husky team is better than this.
Senior day against UCLA will mark the last time that Husky seniors will suit up in Husky stadium. It will also mark when the Huskies will start their run and prove what kind of football they really are, or aren't.
But hey, a win against Stanford wouldn't hurt either.
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