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Bring on the Pac-10
By: Casey Anderson, 28 September 2002


I never thought I’d be so excited to see the California Golden Bears.  It really is quite amazing that in a three game stretch, starting with San Jose State, each team the Huskies have played has been progressively worse!  I wonder if there’s been a stretch of three worse opponents in NCAA history?  Oh, silly me, I forgot about the Division II schedules our brothers from the state of Oregon have played so far this year.  But I digress.


As far as Division I-A opponents go, I’d say that Barbara Hedges would have to employ Sherlock Holmes, Encyclopedia Brown, Fred and Wilma from Scooby-Doo, the entire cast of the defunct “Cop Rock”, and a team of monkeys working around the clock in order to find three more pitiful opponents.  No offense.  Is it mathematically possible to have a three-way tie for the #117th ranking?  If San Jose State, Wyoming, and Idaho were all to play each other, the result would be mind-boggling.  The Earth would probably explode like the Death Star. 


For curiosity’s sake, I tried a foolproof scientific experiment to determine which of these three NCAA cupcakes has the most frosting.  When in doubt, there is one infallible way to determine a team’s quality.  Video games.  The trusty X-Box and EA Sports’ NCAA Football 2003 tell no lies.  I simulated the entire 2002 season, allowing the computer to control all 117 teams, including our beloved Dawgs.  The Huskies finished the regular season 11-1, with a rematch bid to the Rose Bowl against Michigan.  See!  The X-Box really does know its college football!  Anyways, the Huskies beat SJSU 45-17, and Wyoming 46-10.  The Idaho Vandals (drum roll please!)…lost to the Huskies 90-6!  We have a winner (or should I say loser?).  I hope everybody in X-Boxland bet the Dawgs to cover the spread.


So, the all-powerful Microsoft X-Box agrees that the Huskies’ competition hasn’t quite been up to snuff of late.  That doesn’t make the games any less fun to watch.  Actually, I think we are witnessing the birth of a Husky legend.  No, not Reggie Williams, although he is undoubtedly a superstar talent.  What we are seeing now is the emergence of Cody Pickett as one of the best quarterbacks in the country.  As I sit here on Friday night before the Idaho game, I’m just going to go ahead and say that Pickett will throw for his fourth-straight 300+ yard game.  Last season Cody was good.  This season he is becoming great.  With such a talented receiving corps returning next year, I’m anointing Mr. Pickett as a bona fide Heisman candidate in ’03, Washington’s first since Steve Emtman ten years ago.  While Oregon’s Jason Fife will be posing in Times Square, Cody Pickett will be down the street, sporting a tuxedo at the Downtown Athletic Club. 


As Pickett’s stock steadily rises and the receiving corps continues to steamroll the opposition, I think that Rich Alexis has been somewhat of an enigma to this point.  Sure, he’s averaging over 100 yards per game, but he is still having some trouble running between the tackles.  Also, Alexis seems to spend much of the game averaging only two or three yards per carry until he finally reels off a 65-yard touchdown run.  Because of this, I feel like his stats are a bit skewed.  Perhaps Coach Neuheisel and the crew felt the same way, because they set up some interesting plays for Alexis last week against Wyoming.  While Rich had his least productive day of rushing with 95 yards, he also caught seven passes for 55 yards.  I think this was a great move by the coaching staff.  Knowing that Alexis has been better running outside than up the gut, they got him the ball on screen passes and short routes, allowing him to use his ability to break tackles and make defenders miss.  The result was 150 yards of offense for Alexis against Wyoming. 


The days of the bruising Pac-10 defenses are fading in the rear-view mirror.  As it stands, UW’s passing game is the cream of the Pac-10 crop, and if the coaching staff can continue to find creative ways to run the ball, there’s no reason Washington won’t find themselves taking their second trip to Pasadena in three years.  And, just in case you wondered, according to my X-Box the Dawgs will win the Rose Bowl 36-6.  Bring on the Pac-10!


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