It seems like it’s been an eternity since UW played a football game. In some ways, it kind of has been. The game against Cal was never close, and the week before that was the ASU debacle. Throw in the bye week, and it’s been damn near a month since UW has really played a competitive game. So I’m excited to see them get back on the field this weekend, even though it’s against a Colorado team that may fold as easily as Cal.
Here is why I’m excited: besides the fact I just want to watch the Huskies play, this is the stretch that is going to make or break the Sarkisian regime. Traditionally the Huskies under Sark have started strong (4-0 this year) struggled during the middle part of the schedule (Stanford, Oregon and ASU – yikes) and then rebounded to become bowl eligible. So far, this season is shaping up no differently, with one exception. The remaining four games allow for the Huskies to make a serious statement about who they are.
There was no shame in losing to Stanford or Oregon. The ASU game was an unmitigated disaster, but ASU also might just be really good. UW came out and throttled Cal as they should have, and then went into their bye week. The last third of the season features two teams that the Huskies should beat handily at home in Colorado and WSU (although strange things happen in the Apple Cup; I’ll get to that another time) and two tough albeit winnable games on the road against UCLA and Oregon State. It’s those two games that really provide the opportunity for the Huskies to show that they have truly improved and that Sark can continue to take us onward and upward.
UW hasn’t won in Corvallis since 2003 when Charles Frederick had something like 250 all-purpose yards and they haven’t won in Pasadena (at least against UCLA) since 1995. UCLA and Oregon State are good teams. But the Huskies are just as talented as they are, maybe even more so. The opportunity to win those games on the road is there. The question is: does Sark deliver? Does he get his guys ready to win on the road in November? Or, do they curl up in the fetal position and watch another season slip away while wondering “what if?” All of this becomes moot if the unthinkable happens and we somehow lose at home. Assuming the Dawgs hold serve in Seattle, the remaining two road games are going to define the Sarkisian era. They are either going to cement him as the long term solution or they are going to heat up his seat for the 2014 season and even raise questions about whether or not he should return at all.
Bring it on. Bow down and go Dawgs.