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Montlake, we have a problem.
By: Casey Anderson, 24 October 2002 

Now that the bulk of the Pac-10 schedule has arrived, it’s time to take off the rose (bowl) colored glasses.  Even the idiots on the Eastern SPorts Network are raving about the talent at quarterback out here in what they so cleverly refer to as the “wild, wild west”.  Well, heehaw for the Pac-10.  That’s a big ten-four, good buddy.  Unfortunately, it’s also a big uh-oh for the Washington Huskies.  Sure, the Dawgs may be one of the beneficiaries of this abundance of quarterbacking talent, but it also means that they have to play defense against one of the top passers in the country on a weekly basis, which is bad news for a Husky pass defense that is about to appear on the back of a milk carton at your local supermarket.

I read in the Seattle Times that the University of Washington has the highest football budget in the nation.  If that’s the case, then why not spend a few million more dollars and get Lawyer Milloy or Tony Parrish back in the secondary?  Anybody know what Dana Hall is up to these days?  Unrealistic?  How about playing Reggie on both sides of the ball?  While they’re at it, they might think about moving Paul Arnold back to running back…but I digress.

It was bad enough having Kyle Boller and Jason Johnson shred the Husky pass defense like a stack of Iran-Contra documents.  But then USC showed the rest of the conference that throwing the ball 50 times against the Huskies isn’t really necessary.  According to the Pete Carroll/Carson Palmer plan, opposing teams should simply adhere to a simple “Hail Mary” offense.  One throw, six points.

While watching the game last weekend, one of my friends was wearing a vintage 1985 “Purple Reign” t-shirt he bought from a thrift store.  Oh, sweet irony.  I cried at halftime.

In all seriousness, the situation is dire for the Husky pass defense.  They appear to be giving receivers a 10 or 15 yard cushion, allowing teams like Cal and Arizona 12-15 yard receptions at a furious clip, while at the same time giving up the deep ball to USC.  Alarm bells are ringing, Ricky.

Yes, I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.  The Dawgs are heading into the home of the Pac-10 leading (along with the Cougs) ASU Sun Devils on Saturday.  ASU is ranked 23rd in the nation after an impressive win at Autzen Stadium, while the Huskies have dropped out of the top 25 for the first time since 1999.  A week ago I laughed at the Sun Devils and now I’m terrified that Shaun McDonald is going to make Derrick & Greg look like Dharma & Greg. 

Am I panicking?  Absolutely.  I’m a fan, it’s my job.  When the Huskies blow ASU out by 30 points and hold them to 100-yards passing, then I’ll start talking about the Pac-10 title race again.  Until then, I’m going to quiver in fear every time an opposing quarterback so much as pump-fakes.  The Dawgs still have to play away games at Oregon and Wazzu after this weekend’s game at ASU, plus they have to play two home games against teams that completely dismantled the Husky D last year in UCLA and Oregon State.  The Huskies now sit at 4-3 and they haven’t won an away game in five tries.  The question I have is this:  When was the last time the Huskies beat a ranked team on the road?  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that in order to even have a chance at Pasadena, they’d have to do it three times in the next five weeks! 

Realistically, the Dawgs might be able to win one or (maybe, just maybe) two of those road games.  This weekend will be the most winnable game of the three, and the Dawgs are still 3˝-point underdogs!  So, the Huskies will probably finish the year at either 7-5 or 8-4 and will looking to finish somewhere between 3rd and 5th place in the Pac-10.  El Paso, anyone?  Or perhaps the Insight Bowl?  Thanks, but no thanks.  The way I see things, if I can’t spend New Year's day in Pasadena, I might as well spend Christmas in Vegas.  Fifth place, here we come.  I mean, hey, if we’re going to lose, we might as well do it from the comfort of the sports book at Treasure Island and perhaps win a few wagers in the process…                      

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