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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 23, 2007 at 6:35 PM

The pick. …

Before I unveil the pick, I’ll pass along an interesting comment I heard from Don James on KJR I heard as I was driving home.
Groz asked James about Gary Pinkel and James pointed out he (James) was on the hiring committee in 1998 following the firing of Jim Lambright and how all of UW’s current problems could have been solved if the Huskies had just hired Pinkel then “instead of that guy from UCLA.”
That’s one of the most overt comments I’ve ever heard from James about Rick Neuheisel.
Anyway, on to the Apple Cup.
Unlike other games, we do a big full-page preview for this game and I don’t want to just repeat that here, so I’ll briefly reprise my position edges with some condensed comments.
QB — WSU. You’d pick Jake Locker if this were a draft, but hard to know at this moment just how what happened two weeks ago will affect Locker, so this edge goes to Alex Brink for tomorrow.
RB — UW. Pretty easy there with Louis Rankin doing what he’s done and WSU hit by some injuries,
WR — WSU. Maybe WSU’s biggest edge in this game. I think Brandon Gibson may be the most underrated player in the Pac-10. He’s the only 1,000-yard receiver in the conference (he has 1,043) yet seems like nobody ever talks about him.
OL — UW. This is going to UW but WSU’s unit has been a lot better than people thought it might be heading into the year. But the way UW has run the ball of late indicates that the line has gotten a lot better.
DL — UW. This is a place where both teams have struggled this year, but UW is coming off a solid performance against Cal.
LB — WSU. This is a solid group for the Cougs led by rising star Andy Mattingly, and UW still misses too many tackles here.
Secondary —- UW. Neither group has been great, and we’ll find out a lot about UW’s unit when it takes on a Cougar offense that loves to throw the ball. But Darin Harris has added a lot to this group — there aren’t as many missed tackles and the coverage seems better.
Special teams — UW. Both teams that have struggled all year in this area — they are ninth and 10th in kickoff returns and kickoff coverage and each in the bottom five in punting. Anthony Russo, however, has become a dangerous punt returner and Ryan Perkins is solidifying Washington’s kicking. PK Romeen Abdollmohammadi has been much improved for WSU of late, hitting his last eight. WSU’s punting has been better since going to a rugby style.
So add that up and I get UW winning 35-27. Still, in my pick for tomorrow I point out that while all the trends seem to favor UW — mostly, UW’s win of Cal last week and WSU’s blowout loss to Oregon State — only three Apple Cup games since 1994 have been decided by 10 points or more, and the last five have been decided by a total of 21 points.
As someone else I saw just wrote somewhere, week-to-week results in college football can be vastly overinflated. What’s good one week can be bad the best. So I expect another tight one tomorrow, but I also expect UW to end up winning this one.

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