Agreeing With Braxton
By: Casey Anderson, Posted 22 November 2002
Two down, one more to go. Last Saturday I had the
pleasure of watching the Washington vs. Oregon game with two Eugene-native
Duck fans. After the Ducks took the lead 14-0, I twisted the cap off of a
cheap pint of whiskey, beginning to drown my sorrows in one of Canada’s
finest cures for the bitter loss. The snickering and Husky-heckling were
only just beginning. Or so I thought. In a matter of minutes my earlier
gulps in attempt to lessen the sting of defeat turned into impromptu fuel
for a touchdown dance…followed by several more increasingly less stable
touchdown dances to the tune of 42 unanswered points.
Whether these Duck fans liked my theory of Jason
Fife’s inability to complete a pass being directly related to his dire need
of a haircut, I can’t be sure. I am quite sure that they thoroughly
enjoyed my Bob Rondeau imitation, though, complete with Husky Stadium
siren. Especially the 6th time.
TOUCHDOWN WASHINGTON! WooooooooOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!
But we can forget about that now. Though the state of
Oregon has been vanquished, the War of the Northwest is yet to be won. Now
the jewel of the Northwest crown is upon us. The Apple Cup. Forget about
whatever www.com bowl the Huskies may or may
not end up playing at the end of December. This is the game of the year.
Forget about Michigan, Oregon, or USC. This is a game against a team that
is ranked #3 in the nation and led by a Heisman candidate at quarterback.
This opponent is most likely going to be the champion of one of college
football’s toughest conferences, and has a chance at the national
championship. This is an opponent of a much higher caliber than any
middle-of-the-road Pac-10 team like the Huskies will see in a late-December
bowl game. This is Washington’s bowl game. The Washington State
Cougars come into this contest nearly as highly touted of an opponent as
the Miami Hurricanes of the past two seasons. WSU’s only loss is at the
hands of the #2 team in the nation.
To win the Apple Cup this year, the Huskies
are going to have to play at least as well as they played against
Oregon. Turnovers will be key. The Dawgs cannot afford to give the ball
away and most likely need a takeaway or two to come out of this one with a
W. And Reggie must get the ball. Coach Neu’s move to line Reggie
up in the slot worked wonders against the Ducks, and would probably serve
well against Wazzu. Not only does the move free Reggie in the middle of
the field where he can use his size and speed to make plays, but it will
also get him away from WSU’s soon-to-be NFLer, Marcus Trufant. In
addition, the return of the option last week was a shot in the arm for
the ailing running game. UW needs to keep the option in the offense this
week, especially with WSU’s strong interior line. Getting enough rushing
yards to keep the Cougs honest will be critical, and those yards will most
likely be gained by going outside the tackles. Defense this week is all
about one thing; contain Jason Gesser. If he wants to stand in the pocket
and throw, I say let him. If he beats the Husky DBs, so be it. Gesser is
at his best when he is able to run and make plays, and the Dawgs have had
trouble containing quarterbacks this year. If that trend continues, Gesser
will pick the Dawgs apart. If the Huskies can contain Gesser and force
him to throw into coverage, Derrick Johnson just might be looking at a
couple of more INTs. The Dawgs are hot right now, and having an offense
that can throw ball gives them a fighting chance. As much as it pains me
to say it, though, the Cougars are looking like the better team this year.
Of course, they said that last year, didn’t they?
With all of that being said, I think it’s time to
engage in a little of what the Apple Cup is really all about. Talking
smack. The Washington Huskies ought to offer the Cougs a little
encouragement, a little shove in the back to head them in the tried and
true Wazzu direction. Let’s help WSU do what they do best: Coug it.
Falling from such a height, the Cougs will make a satisfying squish
when they hit bottom, won’t they? The best scenario would be a 9 a.m.
Michigan drubbing of Ohio State, giving the lowly Cougs the deliciously
futile idea that they do indeed have a chance at the Fiesta Bowl, only to
have their hopes and dreams crushed like the XX other Cougars teams who
have become Husky-fodder in the past century. The often-imitated,
never-duplicated UW Dawgs are and shall remain the only Northwest school
flying a national championship banner. Please excuse my sinister
laughter. BWA HA HA! That’s right Beavs, Ducks, and Cougs, the evil
Huskies will once again rule the Pacific Northwest. Dark Helmet said it
best in Spaceballs. “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb."