My Perception of the 2008 Washington Huskies

Here’s a quote from today’s Bob Condotta post:

… the perception of what Steve Sarkisian has accomplished so far is based in part on that person’s perception of where the program was when he took it over — was it really of 0-12 caliber, or was it maybe more of a 3-4-win program that just had everything fall apart in every conceivable way in 2008?

I think it’s an interesting point for discussion.  Admittedly, my memory fails me as far as specifics are concerned, but I think losing Jake Locker in the 2nd quarter of the 4th game certainly constituted “everything fallng apart in every conceivable way.”  Let’s face it, Jake Locker WAS the Huskies in 2008 (and, yeah, he also WAS the Huskies his other three years, but that’s neither here nor there); without him, we didn’t really have a prayer of being competitive.

So, when you put it that way, PERHAPS the Huskies were a 3 or 4 win team.  After all, a top-flight quarterback is always going to be worth around 3-4 wins for your team.  What’s troubling about 2008 is the complete and utter lack of depth.  Football teams lose quarterbacks all the time; that doesn’t mean you just give up on your season and go home!  You’ve got to be recruiting backups, QUALITY backups!  Because of this, I would say, Yes, we were a zero-win team in 2008.  We were a zero-win team because we employed Tyrone Willingham as our head coach and primary recruiter.

But, let’s say for the sake of argument that Jake Locker DIDN’T get hurt … I still don’t know if I see 3 or 4 wins on that schedule; it’s probably the toughest Husky schedule I’ve seen in the last 15 years!  Start out on the road (the FIRST game of the season) against a ranked Oregon team?  What the hell is THAT?  Then, you’ve got three non-conference games against Oklahoma (with Sam Bradford, ranked in the top 5 in the nation), BYU (the infamous Jake Locker celebration game where we were penalized 15 yards after a touchdown because he tossed a football over his shoulder after scoring; the resulting extra point was too far away for our kicker to make), and Notre Dame (a painfully embarrassing drubbing).  Then, you’ve got an up-and-coming Stanford team; a couple of good Arizona teams, a better Cal team and a very good Oregon State team …

I mean, you’re basically looking at the potential for a 2-win team.  I think, without question, if Jake Locker were healthy we would’ve won the Apple Cup.  And there’s a  chance we would’ve taken down UCLA at home; but even then, it’s not like Jake Locker is out there playing defense.  We were run all over that day by the Bruins!  Let us not forget, we weren’t bad just because Ronnie Fouch was our quarterback; we had one of the worst defenses I’ve ever SEEN.

I’m pretty confident that, had Locker been healthy, we still would’ve been 1-11.  As such, I’m going to forever believe that Steve Sarkisian performed a fucking miracle with that 2009 team in winning 5 games.  And the fact that we won 7 games (including that Holiday Bowl over a better Nebraska team) last year, well, I’m more than prepared to start my own Church Of Sark.

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Sark my soul to keep …

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