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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Cal week questions, volume one

Just a reminder that I’m always happy to answer your questions, so feel free to use the comments section of this entry to ask away.
Q: While maybe not going winless like we did last year, the Cougars sure seem to be statistically worse then even the 2008 Huskies, quickly replacing the ’08 Huskies as the worst Pac-10 team of recent memory! Any chance we could see a side by side comparison of how the 2008 Huskies ranked in the different categories vs. the 2009 Cougars so we can see which school’s team wins the dubious honor of being the worst PAC-10 Team of Recent Memory? Did it really only take only one season for WSU to produce a team worse than our UW’s worst team in history?
A: Certainly, it’s a dubious honor trying to be the less-worse team of that tandem. But the facts are that most of the numbers would favor UW, so to speak, meaning the 2008 Huskies were not quite as bad as this year’s Cougars. The reality is that by just about any statistical measure, WSU was worse a year ago than the Huskies. The caveat, obviously, was that WSU won when the two teams played. And some of WSU’s numbers this year are better than they were a year ago, meaning again you can almost argue that the 2008 team was worse than this one. But the total package of 0-9 and horrid stats means this year’s WSU team probably wins the title of worst Pac-10 team of recent memory, probably since the 1980 Oregon State Beavers, who sent 0-11.
But consider that that OSU team was outscored 290-77 in eight Pac-10 games, while this year’s Cougars were outscored 357-80 in nine. UW last year was outscored 347-111, so while it’s not much, each number is a little better than those turned in by this year’s Cougar team. UW also came a lot closer to winning a couple of Pac-10 games last year than WSU did this year, losing to Stanford by seven, losing to WSU in double OT, and leading Arizona State until late in the third quarter.
In terms of raw numbers, here are a few that also all, uh, favor the Huskies:
Total offense — 2008 Huskies, 263.2; 2009 Cougars, 246.9.
Total defense — 2008 Huskies, 451.8; 2009 Cougars, 512.0.
Scoring offense — 2008 Huskies, 13.2; 2009 Cougars, 12.0
And scoring defense is basically a dead heat, the 2008 Huskies allowing 463 points, this year’s Cougars 462.


Q: Quick question on the Husky 2010 recruiting class thus far: It looks like they have about 24/25 commits as of now and I think you mentioned that they hope two of the guys will probably enroll earlier which would count against the 2009 numbers. I believe the maximum number of scholarships a team can give out is 25 per class and I noticed that the Huskies still had over a dozen offers out, which if just a half of those guys committed they could easily be over the 30 mark.How do they work the numbers? Do they hope that some of the remaining guys will enroll early or “grayshirt” — enroll late — or do they simply get to a point where they have to take back some of the offers?
A: One thing to remember is that those of us on the outside are always left with some guesswork on all of this. If you want to make a coach grumpy, just ask him how many scholarships he has available — I’ve never gotten a straight answer to that question in 20-plus years of doing this. It’s always a moving target. And the limit of 25 is sometimes not completely understood — what that means is a school can have no more than 25 “initial enrollees” in any one year. But if guys enroll early, or enroll late, they can count either in the class the year before, or the year after. Schools often sign a few guys over, knowing that some guys won’t make it in for whatever reason — grades, usually. Coaches usually plan for the possibility of all making it in, such as asking some guys if they are amenable to enrolling early or later if needed, etc.
Obviously, they have a number they know they’d probably better not go over or it will cause problems — and there is a move afoot to limit the number of players a school can sign to 28 no matter when they enroll, though so far it hasn’t passed. Rarely do schools get to a point, however, of taking back scholarship offers from committed players other than when coaching changes occur, or if something else dramatic happens (academics, a player gets in trouble, etc.). And since coaches can’t talk about any of this until signing day, sometimes there are things going on behind the scenes no one knows about — they obviously know the numbers better than any of us and undoubtedly are making sure they’ll work out.
Q: I read this week’s Pac-10 football release stated that only USC drew a larger home crowd last week. The Huskies are averaging 64,693. Is Husky Stadium 3rd or 4th in terms of maximum capacity in the Pac-10? Does Sun Devil Stadium have a higher capacity?
A: Husky Stadium is officially third in capacity behind the LA Coliseum (93,607) and Rose Bowl (91,500). Sun Devil Stadium officially seats 71,705, just a hair behind Husky Stadium’s listed capacity of 72,500. The UA-ASU game did indeed draw less than the Apple Cup. The Apple Cup had an attendance of 68,697, the UA-ASU game 55,989.

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