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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM

The pick — Trojans

Is Saturday the day the turnaround truly starts for the Washington Huskies? The game everyone points to years from now as the day Washington regained college football legitimacy?
I don’t rule it out, but I’m just not ready to take that Mandel-ian leap and make that call.
I will say I love the Huskies and the points — the spread currently sits at 19.5 after starting at 21 and dipping to 18.5 and then back up as USC money began to come in again.
I fully expect a reved-up Husky team and a solid effort and this wouldn’t be the upset of the century if it happens.
But when I broke down the position groupings, here’s how I had it.
Secondary — USC
Special teams — Even.
That first edge to UW is obviously the one that could make up for a lot of the other edges going to USC. Aaron Corp will get the first start of his career tomorrow for USC, and was a time when that meant certain defeat at Husky Stadium. And Jake Locker is playing the best of his career and tomorrow could be his defining game, the day he takes that step toward truly fulfilling all that vast potential.
I also think the edges I gave to USC at tailback and WR are pretty slim, and if there’s an overall area of the two teams where I think the Huskies can compete with USC and just about every other team left on the schedule it is in the overall offensive skill positions.
But USC, on paper, has significant edges on both lines, which is what I think tilts the game toward the Trojans. The Huskies are still tinkering with their defensive line and two of their top eight in the rotation are hurt or not 100 percent healthy, meaning true freshmen are likely to see significant time against a veteran USC O-line — the Trojans have 101 career starts up front.
The Huskies will need some extraordinary performances up front to make up that edge, with Daniel Te’o-Nesheim being the obvious candidate to need to play the game of his life. Mandel cited the USC offense still being a work in progress in picking UW to win, and I don’t disagree. I just think the Husky defense remains a bigger work in progress, as Husky defensive coordinator Nick Holt admitted this week when he talked about “deficiencies in personnel” on that side of the ball.
Mandel also cited this being a classic letdown game for the Trojans. But that’s the one place where I think the reunion of Sarkisian and Holt with the Trojans works against UW. I think that alone will prevent USC from looking past this one, with all the talk about how USC will overlook the Huskies one only further keeping the Trojans alert.
So add it up and I’m calling it USC 28, UW 17.



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