I know I shouldn’t be concerned about this game, but I am. I know the Huskies are the better team, and I know this game is being played at home, but for the life of me, I can’t help but worry.
The Huskies are ranked 16th in the AP poll and 20th in the Coaches poll. They’ve been ranked ever since their week 1 victory over Boise State and I can’t even REMEMBER how long it has been since the Huskies have been ranked for more than one consecutive week in a season! A lot of people are making a big to-do about the Husky schedule so far (and, by contrast, poo-pooing Arizona’s), but has it REALLY been that impressive? Boise State isn’t good this year. Let’s call a spade a spade. This was never a team that was going to contend for a BCS bowl game. And they just blew a game against Fresno State for Christ’s sake! Will they even win their conference? And Illinois was a nothing football team last year who looks marginally better this year because they beat who? Cincinnati? Oooo! I’m shaking!
The fact of the matter is, the Huskies as well as the Wildcats have a lot to prove in this young season. And moreover, this game on Saturday will be the most important game either has played to date.
Arizona has a scary-good offense. Once they get rolling downhill, it’s hard to stop them. As has been proven in the past season and a quarter, it IS possible to get going against this Husky defense. I’m not worried that this will be a repeat of last year’s Wildcats game, but I am a little worried that it could turn into an Apple Cup scenario.
I think the Huskies are clearly the better team. But, you can’t discount an offense like that. The Dawgs should have no trouble scoring on this team. But, if this turns into a back-and-forth shootout that comes down to the final minute, will we be the lucky ones who have the ball last with the chance to score?
The key to any game when you’re playing a good offense is to get on top of them early. That isn’t to say that you want to make them one-dimensional, because frankly the Wildcats ARE one-dimensional anyway. You just want to have that cushion. You want to be playing with house money by the time they inevitably mount their comeback. Because they WILL mount a comeback. What you don’t want to have happen is to let them rack up the offense early, because I don’t know how good this defense is when it comes to adjusting to an onslaught of offensive activity.
I don’t know what the line is on this, but I’m taking the over. I think 80 points combined is a conservative starting point for this game. Which is a TOTAL bummer, because once again I will have to miss going to this game. Honestly, this is probably THE game you’d want to go to if you’re in it for offensive blood-lust. There might not be a single punt all game! Hot damn, that’s good football!
I think the Huskies are going to win and I think it’s going to come down to turnovers. I see the Dawgs getting a couple of first half turnovers, I see continuous scoring, and I see the Dawgs winning by a 1-2 score advantage when all is said and done.
At 4-0, likely barrelling into the Top 15, with a nationally televised contest down in Stanford on October 5th (which I WILL be attending, which will also be my first game of the season), you’re going to see some Husky Fever the likes of which you haven’t seen in over a decade. FOOTBALL!