A few items for a Friday afternoon:
First, want to make sure you saw our story today on Lakes High tight end and defensive end Kavario Middleton, who is one of the must-get recruits from the state of Washington for UW’s Class of 2008.
As the story indicates, UW will have some stiff competition for Middleton, who lists the Huskies, Oregon, Arizona State, Cal, Miami and Michigan as his top choices right now.
Second, Husky Fan in New York raised some good questions following our discussion Thursday of the apparent severity of UW’s schedule, especially on my rumination on the Syracuse game (given his moniker, he may know a lot more about Syracuse than I do).
Everything he wrote about UW’s success as a road team last year is true. The Huskies were 2-4 straightup on the road last year, but 4-1-1 against the spread, beating the number in their wins over Arizona and WSU as well as the tight losses at USC and Cal. The Huskies also pushed against the spread at Oklahoma, losing 37-20 as 17-point underdogs. The only road game where UW underperformed vs. the spread was at Oregon, which has been Washington’s house of horrors the last few years, losing 34-14 as 16-point underdogs.
Under Willingham, the Huskies have been as good on the road as at home, going 3-7 on the road and 4-8 at home (as well as 0-1 on a neutral field, the loss to Air Force at Qwest Field).
So all of that would speak well to UW having a good chance at winning at Syracuse.
My only point is that it’s always dangerous to just chalk up a win in any road game, especially a season opener with a new quarterback — and despite the road success a year ago, the Huskies are still 4-17 overall away from home the last four years and haven’t won a road opener since 2001 (admittedly, all of those were against much stronger competition — Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, UCLA and Oklahoma).
And my point on Syracuse is that while it has been a bad team the last few years, the Orange has still been pretty hard to beat at home.
In 2005, when the Orange went 1-10, it was 1-5 at home. But three of those losses came by eight points or loss. And no team has scored more than 31 points in beating Syracuse at home the last four years, indicating that opponents don’t usually go in there and blow the home team out.
The good news for UW fans is that Syracuse returns just 10 starters overall and only four off a defense that generally played respectably a year ago
No question, this seems like a really good year to be playing Syracuse at Syracuse. But I think there are still reasons to be wary, though that’s nothing I have to tell Tyrone Willingham, who surely remembers well going into the Carrier Dome with Notre Dame in 2003 and emerging on the wrong end of a 38-12 score.
Lastly, following the discussion of the 2000 Oregon State game., somebody asked me the other day about former Oregon State tight end Joe Newton who is now with the Seahawks, and whether he has a legitimate chance to make the team. I passed that along to our Seahawks writer, Jose Miguel Romero, who reports that he thinks Newton has a good chance of becoming the third tight end after Marcus Pollard and Will Heller, who seem assured of the first two spots.
Here is the Seahawks’ official depth chart. Husky fans will note on there that Kenny James, Marquis Cooper and C.J. Wallace are all listed No. 4 at their positions.
A few items for a Friday afternoon:
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.