Friday, November 15, 2013

Define Important...

A million apologies to the Husky Loyal Army for my absence over the last few weeks. The Husky Loyalist has some other things going on in his life, and sometimes the most important thing in life (this blog) needs to be put on the back burner. Alas, here I am, a month later and our Huskies are in a very interesting situation. 6-3 (3-3) with the chance to upset a very good UCLA team on the road. UCLA has been so good, in fact, that despite their back-to-back losses to Stanford and Oregon (remind you of a team we know), they are sitting at #13 in the nation according to the BCS standings. This is a very solid team.

The Bruin defense is led by an outstanding foursome of linebackers which include Anthony Barr, possible All-American, and Bellevue’s own Myles Jack. Jack was a prime target of the Huskies this time last year, and while many thought he would choose the school closest to his home and a program which is on the rebound and ready for big things, instead he chose UCLA. It’s not my place to bring up any kind of Judas comparisons, because that just wouldn’t be fair to the young kid (I guess that technically counts as bringing up a Judas comparison, oops, ah well). Jack has been a great player for the Bruins all season as a Freshman linebacker. So impressive on defense, in fact, that  when UCLA was banged up at the running back position this last weekend they decided to use Jack as a running back for six plays. What did he do? Not much. Oh wait, that’s right, he went off for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns on SIX carries, one of which was on a 66-yarder for a TD.

 Look, I am very happy with the personnel at the University of Washington, we have a solid team with a bright future, but if we are going to start winning Pac-12 North division titles anytime soon we have got to lock down local talent like this guy. Having said all that, I don’t think Jack will be a factor on offense today. Yes, he was effective last week, but it was a gimmick, and we will be ready for it. Plus, even 18-year-old kids slow down after that much playing time on both sides of the ball. I don’t see UCLA pushing Jack into a situation where he ends up not being effective on either side of the ball. That just leaves star QB Brett Hundley. This guy is pretty dangerous as well. He doesn’t line up on the other side of the ball as well like Jack, but he is enough to handle on offense. He has the size and speed of a Marcus Mariotta, but without the weapons around him. I feel like he can either put up monstrous numbers against us, or do nothing at all. Nothing in between that, trust me.

Our defense has really come together this season despite a couple of blips (see fourth quarter against Oregon and not showing up against ASU) and can shut down a good QB like Hundley. Our offense really does seem to be clicking, don’t you think? You know the kind of clicking when you are playing beer pong and the cups look bigger and bigger while the ball gets smaller and smaller, and the girl watching is getting more and more impressed with your ability to not only drain shots but also come up with witty comments like “it’s not how you make the shot, it’s what you do with it when you put it in”. I really like this offensive system the Huskies are playing in and it makes the team as a whole better. It will be tough to get behind those linebackers, but Sark will have something ready for them.

I have mentioned in the past how it appears the Huskies have way too many “direction of the program” games, I am sorry, that’s just where we are at. Sitting at 6-3 when we could or should be 7-2 stings and it has come down to a game like today that tells us whether or not we are close to beating good teams on the road and finishing in the upper echelon of the Pac-12. Lose, and all of a sudden we are looking at a very strong possibility of ANOTHER 7 win regular season, that just can’t happen with this team at this point. Win, and in my eyes it makes up for either the Stanford or Arizona State loss and it gives you the confidence to go into Corvallis next week and finish this season on a 5 game win streak and 9 wins (assuming we beat WSU, I mean, come on). It’s possible. It has to be possible, because that is what Sark and his team have told us.

Expectation and reality have often been adversaries when referring to the Huskies, why can’t we have a season where the expectation of a 8/9 win season plays out? It’s what the players deserve, it’s what the coaches deserve and Dawgfather dammit it is what the fans, the Husky Loyal Army, deserve. Come home in three weeks against Wazzu with something to play for. Show us and the nation we haven’t wasted nights crying with 14 beers around us and cheese dip clinging to the end of our socks while your wife debates whether or not to sleep at her sister’s place. Let us know that all this passion, all of this love for the Huskies, means something. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Look who's coming to lunch...

What has been your favorite response to, "we are gonna make it a decade on Saturday"? I mean, don't you just hate this team and their fans so much? We understand the Cougar Complex, it is simple for us to understand that they don't have a lot to celebrate in the middle of nowhere so when there is any kind of success (like, a first down kind of success), then they freak out and bring the incoherent "in your f*****g face" comments. With the Ducks, there is just something about the way the team conducts its business and who their fans are that make you just want to pour gasoline all over your body and look for the first smoker wearing one of those Oakley sweatshirts Duck fans love so much. Phil Knight is like the dad of that rich kid you hated so much growing up. You know, the kid that got any and everything he wanted and his rich dad wasn't around very much so he made up for it by buying him the coolest crap. And then you finally meet the dad and he is the cockiest little punk you have ever met. That's what Phil Knight is like to this team, and this team is that stupid son that everyone loves until you get to know him. For instance, I have a lot of friends spread out across the country and they love the Ducks and their uniform crap and all that. But if you are in the Pac-12 or moved into the Northwest and started to get to know the Ducks and their fans, you know you hate them (enough of the metaphors and analogies for now). The reason this rivalry is so heated is because there seems to be such a difference in the type of people associated with either program. I am not saying that Husky fans are not without dumbasses, trust me, there are quite a few out there unfortunately. Whereas the Cougar fans are like that annoying little brother who you tolerate, Duck fans are like your wife's ex-husband; you just don't like anything about them. Everything they do just pisses you off and most of the time you can't even pinpoint why it pisses you off.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gut check? Not really

It cannot be overstated how big of a win this would be. What I think is being understated is that this would not be a devastating, end of the season loss. Despite the early successes of the 2013 season, the Dawgs are on the road against an undefeated, top 5 team. Oh and by the way, it is an undefeated, #5 Stanford team that the Huskies are playing on "The Farm". The Cardinal offense rumbles and bumbles, and the defense is as stout as a team can be. In fact, with the SEC becoming the Pac12 in terms of focus on the offense, Stanford has more of an SEC type of play than any of the SEC teams right now. There is a lot of attention being paid to this game here in the Northwest, down in the Bay Area and even across the country. Special stories, expert opinions, not-so-expert opinions and predictions have flooded the media scene; all of which is relatively new for these Huskies. Of the many predictions, most are in favor of Stanford but there are quite a few people out there that think the Dawgs can win this. What I think is being lost, though, is that this isn't a do-or-die game. I know that this program is done with the days of "good losses", but we also can't expect to win some of the toughest games of the year because we have had a good season so far. I do think that the Huskies CAN win this game. We have the elements to put together some impressive schemes and strategies that will give any team fits. Executing these schemes and strategies is a whole other ball of wax, though. If the Huskies execute and win, would you believe the Dawgs could be a top ten team?! On the other hand, if we lose but show that we were worthy adversaries, wouldn't that mean something, too? If we show that we can hang with the Cardinal today, does that give us a better chance against Oregon at home next week? These are the questions and takeaways we will be looking for after this game ends. I have been praying like a good boy all week that we give Stanford hell today, and I hope it works. But I am not going to be disappointed with a "good loss" because we can still accomplish a lot this season without this.

Look, I am an optimistic, unrealistic Husky fan like the rest of you, but I don't want to set myself up for being the depressed, unhappy Husky fan I become when I think that we should win a game and we don't. I will be streaming this game on my phone while at a wedding today, so drinks will be free. I will be covered to celebrate either a historic win or "good loss".


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wet, Windy.....Win

If you haven't looked outside today either you are still struggling to get passed that hangover you deserve after partying too much at your high school homecoming game you were too old to go to, or you are like lots of Seattleites who keep the windows closed up until spring when the sun comes back out. Spoiler alert: it is disgusting outside. The Husky Loyal Army from across the country knows this weather, we grew up in it, walked through Red Square on the way to class in it and urinated in an alleyway on a late, Thursday night for the first time in it. This is what we live in. Husky teams practice in this weather and know this weather very well (they also grew up in it, go to class in it and pee in alleyways in it) and are much more prepared than the Arizona Wildcats. We all looked at the forecast and saw heavy rains, strong winds and thought, "The tailgating is going to suck, but atleast our team just increased its home field advantage." And to a certain extent, you are right. This is exactly the kind of thing we need when playing a team who is used to 90 degrees and a dust storm (named a Haboob, yeah, that's right, a Haboob). My biggest issue with a game like today's with this kind of weather is the Husky balance of offense calls for the team to have an effective passing game to free up the running game, or vice versa. Arizona has a STRONG rushing attack led by Ka'Deem Carey. I mean, one of the stronger rushing attacks in college football coming in at 14th in the nation. Arizona has relied on their rushing all season against the worst non-conference lineup I have ever seen (see Northern Arizona, UNLV, and UT-San Antonio). Good offense is good offense, so there is something to worry about there. Contrarily, the Wildcats have one of the worst passing attacks in college football, so they will be running the ball 3 out of 4 plays. What does this mean for UW? Well, for one, if you go back and click the hyperlink that will tell you Arizona is ranked 14th in the nation in rushing, falling just 4 spots below at #18 are the Huskies. We can run. We can run real well. On top of that, we can pass in a multitude of ways that will allow us to spread the field and open the middle up for Bishop Sankey to do what he does. On top of that, the head coach of Arizona is Rich "I now suck" Rodriguez. He does not care about defense. UW is going to run and pass all over it. On defense, the Huskies will get to load the box to dominate that rushing attack led by Carey, and it is starting to look like UW is in good shape.

I made my prediction in the season preview, and I am sticking by it. I would've liked for the weather to be better so we could pad some stats for Keith Price and Sankey, but I will take a lower scoring rout of Arizona and the W; taking UW to 4-0 and a showdown with a likely undefeated, top 5 Stanford. Here is to celebrating tonight with a urination session in an alleyway off of the Ave.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Big step forward?

Can this team win on the road? The big question that the Husky Loyal Army has gone back and forth on coming into this season. One of the major frustrations of the past decade has been the team's inability to win the games they are expected to win, and simply executing on the road. Road wins have been tough to come by as the Dawgs have only won six away from Husky Stadium/CenturyLink since Sark has taken over. And outside of the USC upset on the road, those were all games we were "supposed" to win. The oddsmakers are calling this a neutral site game.....give me a break. The crowd will overwhelmingly be in favor of this upstart Illinois team that has taken down an FCS team and a Cincinnati squad who hasn't been good since Brian Kelly left them at the prom to go hang out with the cool kids who have an after party at their parent's lake house (Notre Dame). Yet a lot of experts are seeing some strengths in the Illinis that we all didn't expect. I picked UW to win this game before the season started and I am still confident the Huskies, with their new and improved hurry-up offense and shut down defense, can win this game. What will be so important for the Loyal Army is coming away from this game with the idea that this Husky team can FINALLY win away from home, and have the confidence to win with the brand of football we have become accustomed to at home. You know the kind of confidece when you are about four drinks deep and have that good buzz going and you feel like you can do just about anything or talk to anyone? You know, you're at the bar, you have had an IPA, two coors lights and a shot of well rum. The girl in the corner of the bar who you thought was way out of your league 45 minutes before you started drinking all of a sudden is right up your alley. I am talking about that kind of confidence. THIS IS A GAME WE ARE SUPPOSED TO WIN. The experts think so, the fans think so, Dubs the Husky mascot thinks so, but most importantly the Husky players should KNOW that they should win this game. Keith Price has to KNOW that Nathan Scheelhasse has the razor ready to shave off one of his eyebrows.

Friday, August 30, 2013

2013 Season Preview

Well, you probably thinking to yourself, "Loyalist, isn't it a little bit too late to be coming out with a season preview the night before the season is supposed to start?!?" A valid question. But I say to you, do we really know what our team is going to look like in Spring, early Summer, or even after Fall camp? Here we are about 24 hours away from kickoff for one of the most important Husky campaigns we have seen in years, and you tell me whether or not what we found out at 10:00pm on August 29th, 2013 has any relevance on how the season could play out. If you don't know what the announcement was, you were probably on vacation or slipping on your toe shoes when the announcement came out last night. Needless to say, a certain All-American will not be playing in tomorrow's Boise State game. Some of you out there say it was fair, others say unfair. Some say it will make a huge impact on the game, others say he didn't have very much impact on the bowl game against Boise State last year, so he won't matter tomorrow. That is why you do a season preview the day before the games start. Regardless, we are in for an incredible season of football, a new stadium, and hope that Husky football is back. Here is my game by game breakdown of what I think will transpire this 2013 college football season.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Quack, Quack, that was whack...

It has now been a full day since learning about the "sanctions" brought on by the NCAA against the University of Oregon Ducks....I am still angry. On a day we saw DOMA stripped down, Aaron Hernandez arrested for murder, and one of the craziest days at Wimbledon in history, I figured the football Gods would give us a program-destroying recommendation that would shock the world. Instead, the only people who are shocked are Oregon's rivals (and most importantly the Husky Loyal Army).

When Oregon recommended a slap on the wrist, I figured it was a slap in the face to the NCAA who have given out harsher penalties to babies wearing the wrong colors at a diving meet. Yesterday we learned that Oregon football would lose two scholarships, go on three years of probation and lose a score of recruiting visits (an amount that Oregon didn't even use all of last year). And the coup-de-grace, the clincher, the biggest joke of the investigation and its outcome? FORMER coach Chip Kelly is not allowed to coach college football for the next 18 months............really, I'm not joking.

The biggest punishment handed down to Oregon who have cheated for the duration of their "Duck Dynasty" is to not allow their former head coach to give up millions of dollars and return to college football in the next 18 months. Nice work, NCAA. I have generally defended the system that regulated college athletics, but this may have brought me to the other side. After seeing how badly they treated USC, somewhat deservedly so, how badly they messed up the University of Miami investigation, and how they handled the misguided attempt at punishing Penn State; we now have this.

I am not sure there was a single Oregon fan who was disappointed in the findings. In fact, I bet you a million bucks there were thousands of Mallard fans who were ready for much worse sanctions and were going to tell us why it was stupid that their team was getting punished for something every other school is doing. The owner of the "Ducks Dominance Dlog" (which I just made up) would have said something along the lines of, "Bro, we are banned from a bowl game?!? That's dumb. Alabama recruits 45 bros, and only keeps 25 of those bros after spring practice, and nothing happens. God Kelly reaches out to someone for help, a disciple, and we can't go to a bowl game? I'll be in my trailer home if you need me."

This doesn't change anything when it comes to being rivals with Oregon other than we have yet another reason not to like this program. In fact, when we finally beat Oregon this year in our new stadium, we will know that there were no asterisks or anything else that could take away from a potentially monumental win. There is nothing we can do about it, this is a final ruling, but this gives us plenty to think about going into a season that could change everything for the Huskies.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Spreads are out.....not too bad.

One of the most exciting elements to start the lead up to the college football season (which is already just 82 days away) is the release of the spreads for each college football game. It is almost completely unfounded, irrelevant, inaccurate and pretty stupid if you think about it, but at the same time really awesome. The spreads themselves have zero impact on the games, but it reminds all of us loyal fans that football is just over the horizon and thus begins the "summer season of projection". That's really all these spreads do, but isn't it fun? Every fan across the country is happy, sad, angry, confident and sometimes indifferent about each of the spreads for their respective favorite team. While I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard some of the spreads for the powerhouses across the country, which for some reason did not include the Huskies, I thought about the opportunity the Huskies are being presented for this season. We have great talent, great coaching, a new stadium and buzz going into this season, and the opportunity to turn some heads. Here are my thoughts on all of these spreads:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oh, Oregon, thank you for being you.....

News has just come out in the last 24 hours that the University of Oregon football program has recommended it should go on two years worth of probation and strip one scholarship away each year for the next three years. I really am not sure how to take all of this in. My first reaction was, "THANK YOU FOOTBALL GODS, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED!!!" Seeing the Ducks in this unenvious position really does make me feel good deep down inside. I know the Huskies haven't been angels when it comes to NCAA regulations in the last couple of decades, but the timing of the Ducks success and this investigation just make this feel so slimy and blatantly egregious. I mean, there has got to be a direct correlation between the Ducks going from the middle of the Pac-10 to national title contenders year and year out, all while committing to questionable recruiting practices.

Friday, February 8, 2013

As the recruiting dust settles.....NICKNAMES!!!

Another year of recruiting has more or less come to a close and you have to feel good as being part of the Husky Loyal Army. Great class. Really, really good class. Besides Daeshon Hall being as cool as the guy at the gym who wears those shoes with toes, we more or less closed the recruiting season landing in the top 20 nationally with all of the major recruiting sites. In fact, we landed as the number 14 team according to, pretty freaking good. And, most importantly, we are ahead of the Ducks in most experts eyes and the #2/#3 Pac-12 team as well. Yes we lost Hall. Yes we couldn't steal Nico Falah (see my comment regarding toe shoes). Yes Eddie Vanderdoes teased us right up until 5:00pm. And yes the Robinson Twins turned out to be as loyal as Bill Clinton (you know, goes away for a little...but comes home when he realizes he'll make more money if he sticks with his first). BUT, there is a lot to be excited about with this class. Awesome defensive line class, amazing group of receivers, solid offensive line pick ups and a QB of the future. There has not been a lot to be excited about with Husky football over the last few months, but this is where it turns around. A veteran team with a favorable schedule and a great crop of players on their way in with a new stadium. This is starting to feel pretty good.