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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 7, 2007 at 3:21 PM

The pick — Huskies

Okay, so is there still some reason on that bandwagon?
We may all end up looking really stupid tomorrow, who knows?
But today, the future seems gloriously bright for the Huskies, who could get their biggest win of the Tyrone Willingham era against Boise State tomorrow.
There are lots of reasons to pick Boise State.
The Broncos have a veteran offensive line, including a left tackle (Ryan Clady) that may be as good as anyone UW will face this year;
— they have a solid and dependable running back in Ian Johnson;
— a proven offensive system and a fifth-year QB that while not experienced in game situations, is experienced in knowing the ins and outs of what is as complicated and diverse a system as there is in college football;
— a defense that isn’t big or full of NFL prospects but tends to make the big play at the right time (BSU forced 31 turnovers last season, including 20 interceptions);
— usually solid special teams (Boise State has blocked 29 kicks since 1999 and scored 14 special teams TDs in that span);
— and a knack for winning (a 77-13 record in the 2000s inspires a lot of confidence).
Despite their reptuation for trickery and gimmickry, the Broncos may have as much ability to just line up and run the ball down UW’s collective throat as anyone the Huskies will play this season.
Also, much of the reason for the optimism for UW this season is based on seeing the Huskies blow out a Syracuse team that could really be among the worst major college teams in the country — I honestly think the Idaho team that played USC might have been better. (I say “much” since there are some obvious reasons for hope that were there even before Syracuse — Jake Locker’s abilities, some improvement on both lines, etc.).
But then I come back to the fact that for as good as Boise State is, the Broncos are still a WAC team that has never won a game on the road against a team from one of the six BCS Conferences. And the fact that they have a QB making his first road start (which used to be automatic grounds for predicting an ‘L’ coming into Husky Stadium). And the fact that Locker really does look like he’s just that good, the kind of special player who makes everyone around him better.
There will be some big challenges for UW tomorrow:
— Locker is likely to have to make longer and tougher throws tomorrow against a BSU defense that likes to play man-to-man;
— the UW offense is likely to have to make some adjustments to a BSU defense that will have had a week to prepare for some of the new spread option wrinkles;
— UW’s receivers are going to have to handle bump-and-run coverage, not something they’ve always done well;
Louis Rankin is going to have to get some tough yards at times, something he wasn’t called on to do last week;
— the young kids in the secondary are going to be left on islands at times and will have to respond, or recover quickly if beat;
— the D-line will have to rise to playing against a much better offensive line;
— the special reams will have to make some plays under pressure, again something they didn’t really have to do last week in a blowout situation;
— assuming BSU scores a few times, UW will have to show it can bounce back from momentary disappointment.
I’m thinking that a fired-up Husky Stadium crowd filling the stadium on what will certainly be a gloriously sunny September afternoon will be enough to pull UW through. Call it Huskies, 35-32.

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