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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 4, 2009 at 5:14 PM

The pick — Tigers

Before we get to the reasoning on the pick here’s something I meant to get to earlier this week — some financial numbers that may help explain why the Huskies wanted to schedule a team like LSU in the opener.
Consider that UW will get $285,000 from ESPN for this game. Next week’s game against Idaho, which will only be on FSN regional, will net UW $125,000.
Consider further that reserved tickets are $70 for tomorrow’s game, as they are for USC, Oregon and Washington State. Next week against Idaho? $55. With about 40,000 season tickets sold and another 7,000 or so to students, that means probably 20,000 reserved tickets or so were purchased for tomorrow’s game (there are also some general admission, which run $35 for tomorrow, $30 for Idaho).
That’s another difference of at least $300,000 in income for playing a game against a team like LSU instead of Idaho. And it’s likely more, but I’m being conservative with the numbers and rounding off. You can easily assume, however, that it’s at least a half-million more to UW for playing LSU tomorrow than Idaho next week (and I’m not considering parking and concessions and all of that, which also will be greater for LSU with more people in the stands).
I know it’s not breaking news that a lot of these things are done for the money, but still thought it worth pointing out in the debate that still seems out there about playing games like this.
As for tomorrow, while I completely understand and appreciate the optimism that UW fans — and I have no doubt the program is in much better shape today than it was a year ago — it’s a lot to ask to come out in the first game for a new coach and coming off 14 straight losses to beat a team like LSU.
Fall camp was mostly a positive for the Huskies — the team stayed healthy, identified a couple of rising players in James Johnson and Desmond Trufant, among others, and made some nice moves (such as Johri Fogerson) to shore up some other spots. The team looks better now than it did four weeks ago.
But question marks remain — the O-line shuffle this week indicates some concern there and it loomed as one of the bigger question marks anyway; the secondary is far from settled; and the kicking game (particularly Erik Folk) also remains an uncertainty until proven otherwise. And while there’s reason to be optimistic about other positions, it has to be kept in the perspective of coming off an 0-12 season. It’s not all going to get fixed over night. If you listened between the lines this week to some of what Nick Holt had to say — such as talking about how the team will have to be careful how much pressure it brings up front to protect the secondary — I think he’s trying to send out the subtle message that this remains a work in progress.
Tomorrow will obviously determine just how much remains.
When I broke down the positions I have UW edges at QB and linebacker. The rest — OL, WR, RB, DL, DB and special teams — went to LSU. The other one that I was closest to giving to UW was the defensive line given some of LSU’s troubles there. But that’s another one where it’s all a little relative — LSU’s looking at it as a question mark on a team that has national title aspirations, UW’s looking at having improved from a defense that was the worst in school history last season.
In general, I think LSU’s big tackles on offense will ultimately be too much for UW to handle and the fast skill guys will make some big plays on the secondary; and while I think UW should be able to move the ball a bit, I just don’t think it will be enough. The X-factor is obviously Jake Locker. Even those of us who have watched just about every practice don’t know for sure how this offense will look when the wraps are completely taken off of him and he’s allowed to run. If his passing truly proves better, he’ll give UW a puncher’s chance in just about every game it plays this year.
The spread is 17-and-a-half, and I think the Huskies will cover. But in the end, I see it LSU 35, UW 20.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Speaking of picks, here are a couple from the guys at the Baton Rouge paper.
— And some pretty strong comments from LSU beat guy Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times who said in a live chat today that “it’s embarrassing LSU would schedule such a poor team.” Personally, I think both schools deserve some credit for making this kind of a deal — a simple home-and-home between two schools from BCS conferences. How either team will be on the day the two teams play is always hard to predict when these things are scheduled — even one like this that was just done about 16 months ago, a pretty short turn-around in the college football business. But who knows? When the back end of this deal comes in 2012 it could be one of the marquee games of the day.
— And I just heard about this site listening to Jim Moore on 710 ESPN, — he had some interesting guests today on the Blount deal, as well — but he had a guy on from Whatifsports.com , which does computer simulations of every game to predict a final score. And they have a rather sobering prediction for the Huskies tomorrow, essentially calling it 48-8 for LSU and giving the Huskies just a five percent chance of winning. Not when I figure you guys will like but thought it interesting to pass along.
All for now.

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