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Odds and ends: Dobie and LSU
Malamute, 6 August 2009

UW coach Gil Dobie (1908-1916, 58-0-3) didn't want to play WSU anywhere but in Seattle. When WSU balked after doing so for four straight seasons, the series took a two-year break in 1915 and 1916. It's a shame Gil Dobie, photo below, didn't clean William "Lone Star" Dietz's clock back in 1915 and end his quest for the Rose Bowl. Instead, Washington State beat Brown in the 1916 Rose Bowl and laid claim to the mythical national championship -- a sad happening, indeed.

During his stay at Washington, Dobie posted 42 shutout wins, holding his opponents to an average of 1.9 points per game. His players went full bore the entire game and refused to let up on anyone. Apparently, Dobie built up some enmities over time. “…he was loathed by opponents, who by 1911 resented the fact that Dobie was the one to dictate who played whom and on what days,” one historian wrote. “His thunderous victories were even felt and resented years later,” this writer continues.

Reportedly, the northwest schools dropped Washington from their schedules in 1915, “in an attempt to derail the dynasty.”

Dobie had to scramble for opponents in 1915. In that season he played California twice, whipping the Bears 72-0 in an away game. The next week at Denny Field, Cal played smash-mouth defensive football against UW, holding Washington to just eight positive gains the entire game, yet succumbed to the Purple and Gold 13-7. Washington fans carried Cal's Roy Sharpe off the field on their shoulders for his superlative defensive and offensive effort.

As a result of the disastrous 72-0 loss to Washington, Cal's 14th coach, James Schaeffer, was fired. He'd coached rugby at California from 1909-14 and then football in 1915.

In 1921, Enoch “Baggie” Bagshaw paid the piper for Dobie’s unrelenting effort at Berkeley, surrendering the same number of points Dobie had piled up on California -- Cal bagging Bagshaw with a 72-3 pasting -- in what was called a revenge game.

Dobie suddenly resigned after the 1915 season, but reversed his decision and coached the 1916 season.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorialized, "Tune up the sackbut, psaltery, harp and lute, and anything else that will make a noise, and let us sound a paean of joy over the return of the mentor whom we had mourned as officially dead."

The UW won the PCC championship in 1916; however, Oregon went to the 1917 Rose Bowl because of traveling cost considerations.

Washington State, back on the UW schedule in 1917, scored a 14-0 victory over Claude J. Hunt, who had replaced Dobie as head coach. The game was played in Seattle.

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One LSU fan wrote me,

“Richard, I read your article on the UW-LSU game in a little over a month. I agree with you that LSU does schedule cream puffs for the most part, but what you fail to mention how tough the SEC is. How many SEC teams have won the national title since ’03? Four. LSU is trying to do a home and away with North Carolina. The last top ten team that scheduled LSU in their regular season schedule was Virginia Tech I believe was ranked #9 at the time of the game and LSU won 48-7. The problem LSU has is no one wants a home and away with them.

“One last thing, your comment about the mythical national championship is hilarious. The school has 2 crystal balls in 6 years.

"I will be at the game Sept 5 and I really hope UW plays LSU with some heart, but I doubt it. If you go, you will see the passion and enthusiasm LSU fans bring to away games.”

I replied as follows:

The BCS poll is affected mostly by east-coast bias. The human voting is skewed somewhat and the computers are a joke. USC was shafted last year by the “mafia.” Obviously, college football needs a playoff system if it is to determine a “real” champion instead of a “mythical” one. I’m fine with the term “BCS Champion,” but, in my mind, just don’t call the BCS champion a National Champion, which is modern-day alchemy. (*)

LSU does a great job of recruiting. On average, your guys will be bigger, faster and stronger than ours, who will be shorthanded because of two mediocre transitional recruiting classes (2005, 2009). It will take more than courage for the Huskies to play with heart and for our fans to support them with enthusiasm the entire game. What I mean, for example, is that when you run into a bigger, faster, stronger guy on kickoffs, say – with your feet and heart erstwhile having pounded in your helmet on the run downfield – you’ll likely see double for the rest of the game and feel a tad queasy.

Being a Husky means being a real football fan. Believe me, it’s not easy supporting them, considering our current situation, i.e., 6 straight non-winning seasons. Some fans travel great distances to get to the games and, more often than not, as of late, it has been a long ride home.

Not only must we live with the 0-12 pratfall from last season, we must endure the bias of a local newspaper that is rewriting Husky history (though it hasn't caught up with Dobie yet) and, when the opportunity occasionally arises, slants its editorial opinion in favor of our cross-state rival. Reportedly, one of Washington’s former coaches felt the newspaper had an ongoing vendetta against him.

Claiming infidelity, our last coach, Tyrone Willingham, took the local media to divorce court.

The point is when the roof is caving in, every creaky board in the house of the Huskies sounds like the afterburners on an F86. Even Husky Stadium is in a sad state or repair.

I’m sure LSU fans in attendance will whoop it up; their purple and gold will glisten under the lights a tad more than our colors, which will begin to fade as exhaustion takes its toll on the Dawgs in the second half. Just don’t rub it in our faces or gloat too much after the game. Really, it’s poor show. It’s a rigged game after all, one scheduled to make money for the Huskies, who can’t afford to schedule patsies to beef up their won/lost record for the shameful pollsters who participate in all this BCS nonsense. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to poke fun at this charade, being a disgruntled fan. :)

Best wishes, thanks for your comments, and good luck in the game,

-rrl

P. S. Do you think this guy will buy my sob story? I doubt it. Go get 'em, Huskies. You can do it come September 5th.

(*) Calling the BCS champion the National champion is like trying to convert lead into gold using an alchemic formula instead of installing a playoff formula to brew a real gold medal.

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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