Still lots out there. …
— For instance, there is this interview with ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd by Nick Daschel of Buster Sports (which strikes me as a dream pairing for many Husky fans right alongside Turner and Willingham or Hedges and Richardson.)
Anyway, asked if the Huskies “can ever get close to what they once were” Cowherd says no, which, of course, is ridiculous. One problem here, of course, is defining “what they once were.” From the question, I’m not really sure what is meant. If they are referring to 1991, then no, nobody is going to do that every year — even USC hasn’t been doing that every year. But if what is meant by that is getting back to what UW really was during the Don James era, then there is no reason the Huskies can’t be that again.
What the Huskies really were under James was a really good program that in its best years could compete with the best in the nation, but also had lots years when it was in the lower reaches of the Top 20. UW averaged 8.5 wins per season under James, for instance. Okay, so they now play 12 games a season, so make that nine wins a year to accurately compare. And that’s pretty much what UW continued to be for the next decade under Jim Lambright and Rick Neuheisel, averaging 7.7 wins per year in that span despite battling the impact of probation for some of that time.
So really (to sound like the guys at Saturday Night Live)? UW can’t ever “get close” to being a program that can win eight-nine games a year? Again, that’s ridiculous. If operated correctly, there’s no reason UW can’t be a team that wins that many games a year. That’s basically what Oregon (8.2 wins per year under Mike Bellotti) and Cal (8.4 under Jeff Tedford) are now. Yes, UW has some challenges (notably the stadium, something that to me is overblown in terms of its impact on whether the team wins or not) but there is absolutely zero reason UW can’t be just as competitive as Oregon and Cal.
Also kind of ridiculous is his statement that one reason for the dip is the lack of talent in the Seattle area. The problem has been getting enough of it to stay home, not that there hasn’t been enough of it to make UW competitive. That isn’t, hasn’t, and never will be UW’s problem. There’s more than enough here to win with the tried-and-true formula of getting the best players in the state and then getting the rest from California-Hawaii, etc. Some bad coaching the last few years shouldn’t be viewed as fatal flaws in the entire enterprise. He says Troy has had better athletes than UW the last five years. Maybe so. I haven’t done a personnel comparison of the two schools having no compelling reason to ever think about doing so. But again, comparing anything to the worst five years in modern school history — during a time the program was shaken by a major scandal that set-off a coaching merry-go-round that is at the root of Washington’s downwfall, not that there isn’t enough talent in the Seattle area — doesn’t really seem to make much sense. (And I seem to remember ESPN being in existence in 2000, when the Huskies finished No. 3 in the country, and heck, maybe even in the dark ages of1991. Did they have cable then?)
I also think Cowherd will have lots of company this year in anointing Taylor Mays the best player in the conference this year. He’s not exactly breaking news there. And maybe he noted that Mays is from Seattle, that apparently notorious under-producer of football talent?
— Sticking with ESPN personalities, Bruce Feldman used a pretty questionable source as the basis for the lead to his latest blog post, speculating which teams could be the most improved in the country this season. He lists UW No. 6 and also has UCLA at No. 5 and Stanford at No. 9.
— And more from ESPN — Ted Miller ranks the backup QBs in the Pac-10 and has UW at No. 8.
— Miller also has this on another transfer from Oregon, though this is one that had been rumored about for months.
— I missed this last weekend, but UW commit Tevin Carter ran a surprisingly fast 200 in the LA City Section prelims, according to the LA Times.
— Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News writes about the news today that the coaches won’t release their end-of-season ballots, which I agree is a bad move.
— Finally, here’s a long Q-and-A with LSU coach Les Miles. The Tigers will be the first opponent for UW next season, coming to Husky Stadium on Sept. 5.
All for now.
Still lots out there. …
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