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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 6, 2007 at 9:12 AM

Thursday links, Willingham’s staying edition

Here are our two stories for today’s paper on the events of yesterday:
— a news story that includes some quotes from Todd Turner you didn’t hear at the press conference, notably talking about how he had numerous meetings the last few days with key campus officials and others close to the program before the decision was made;
— and Jerry Brewer’s column saying the Huskies did the right thing.
I almost wrote that this would at least quiet the debate on this topic for a while now that the university has made its decision, but obviously nothing will really do that until the Huskies start winning games.
The first chance next year figures to come at Oregon on Aug. 30, as UW is still working to change its schedule to put the Ducks game up front (nothing official is expected on that for a little while).
No better way to show the program is getting back on track than by winning at Oregon — while a loss would be the ultimate tough way to start the year, losing to a most heated rival before September.
I’m reminded that Oregon has always proven critical in judging UW coaches:
Don James got what he considers one of the biggest wins of his career there in 1977 when UW beat the Ducks in Eugene 54-0 which came after a 1-3 start and put the Huskies on the road to the Rose Bowl;
— I always thought one of Rick Neuheisel’s biggest wins was a victory over Oregon at Husky Stadium in the Pac-10 opener in 1999 as a loss would have made the Huskies 1-3 while the win instead propelled UW into staying in the Pac-10 race all season. And his win at Oregon in 2002 is one of the defining moments of his career and one that makes his tenure look a lot better as without it, UW would have likely suffered a losing record that season;
— and who knows what might have happened to Jim Lambright had he not lost to Oregon four times in his last five seasons? Simply reverse two of those and he might not have been fired when he was.
So the debate will continue with each side really getting no new tangible evidence to state its case — this year’s recruiting class doesn’t really figure to change much in tone now — for nine months. At the least, next year’s season will have a clearly defined theme.
OTHER LINKS:
— In the wake of the decision, John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury news points out that Willingham and Charlie Weis have the exact same number of Pac-10 wins the last three years.
— Finally, CoachesHotSeat has an interesting take on UW’s decision to retain Willingham as well as a not-so-optimistic take on next season.

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