It’s Win Out Or Bust. That’s what we’re looking at right now. And, if I were a betting man, I’d put all my money on Bust.
I didn’t watch a single second of that game on Saturday. I spent half the day at a friend’s house playing a board game called Terraforming Mars, which was fun and complicated and probably not something you want to be hammered for when you’re first learning how to play. After that, we rented the movie Mandy on demand. Those things probably aren’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, but they’re squarely in the middle of mine. Even if you hate board games and insane Nicolas Cage movies where he’s on a kill-crazy rampage for the last hour, they’d both be preferable than what the Huskies were offering over the weekend.
I did follow along on Twitter, so I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. The Huskies scored on their first drive of the game and then did jack shit after that. The drives went:
At that point, the Huskies pulled Jake Browning for Jake Haener and I thought, “Here we go.” Now, as I said before, I didn’t watch a lick of this game (I DVR’d it, but once I knew we lost, I went home and immediately deleted it), so I couldn’t tell you how the offense looked. But, I think I can understand. Given what was still at stake, my first choice would’ve been to let Browning stay in there and try to work through whatever it was he was working through.
However, my second choice would’ve been – if you’re going to pull Browning for Haener – just let Haener finish the job!
Now, obviously hindsight is 20/20, and you see what happened: Haener’s first drive resulted in a pick-six, to allow Cal to go up 12-7 (they missed the 2-point conversion). So, that was a disaster, and if they’d let Browning play the entire game, my hunch is the Huskies would’ve won that game. There were still a lot of variables left to play out, and for all I know Browning would’ve done the same thing and threw a pick-six of his own, but that’s just how I feel. I think the coaching staff uncharacteristically freaked out and made a poor decision and it cost us the game.
At which point, Coach Pete should’ve just owned it. He let Haener start the next drive, which resulted in a punt, and after that Browning was back in the game. I have another hunch that’s probably wrong, but I’m gonna tell it to you anyway: I think if we would’ve left Haener in there, he would’ve eventually calmed down and driven the Huskies down the field on our final possession to score the game-winning touchdown.
I wish I had whatever Infinity Stone that allows you to turn back time so I could witness all of these different theories in practice, but that’s neither here nor there.
In the world we’re all living in, the end result is that the Huskies lost. We’re out of the Top 25 rankings (which we absolutely deserve) and I don’t know what to think.
This week, we host Stanford at 6pm on the Pac-12 Network. It’s our punishment for being two worthless teams who lost games they should’ve won. The Cougs did the impossible by going down to Stanford and beating them 41-38, so now THEY’RE in the driver’s seat. But, Washington still has shotgun.
It starts with somehow finding a way to bounce back and beating Stanford this weekend. Then, we get two weeks to prepare for a home game against the Beavs. After we destroy them, we have to somehow go into Pullman and rip the hearts out of the chests of every Coug fan in the world.
I’m not saying we CAN’T do it, but it sure seems like a longshot. It’s fortunate for us that the Ducks lost again over the weekend to make all this possible, but losing to Cal definitely makes me start to think our shit stinks a little bit more than it did earlier this season. My confidence is at a 4-year low for this program. I can’t help but feel rattled that these last two years have been complete and total disappointments and I’m starting to worry about my longterm outlook on this Jake Browning era.
A little success is a funny thing. It doesn’t scratch the itch you think it’s going to. Rather, it just makes you hungrier and hungrier for more and more success. Sports are weird.