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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 2, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Tuesday links — If what the Huskies need is no pressure, that’s what they’ve got this week

It’s a day after the news that Jake Locker will miss the Oregon game — and potentially longer, something Steve Sarkisian did not rule out.
Sarkisian’s other theme of the day was something that might have gotten lost in the news about Locker — that he thinks one of the team’s major problems is that it is “pressing” and putting too much pressure on its collective self.
It’s something he alluded to earlier in the year, as well. And while to some fans (those who’ve e-mailed me, at least) it might seem like a cop out argument to try to explain away poor play, there’s no question this team had high expectations this year — higher than any UW team in quite a few years — and simply hasn’t met them, beginning with the opening minutes of the BYU game.
Could the two be releated? I’m not sure how you would ever definitively determine that.
What we do know is that there is no pressure on the Huskies this weekend, no expectation from anyone, anywhere on the outside that they will win this game — something that hasn’t probably been the case since the 2008 season (or maybe the LSU game a year ago, when the Huskies first gave hope of a quick turnaround with a better-than-expected performance in Sarkisian’s debut).
After the news of Locker hit yesterday, the line on the game jumped from about 28 to 35.5 at one Vegas book.
That makes UW the biggest underdog of the weekend, and I also assume that that’s got to the highest spread in the history of this series, though I can’t confirm that.
It’s also one of the highest spreads against UW in its history.
The only time UW has been a bigger underdog came in 2008 the week the school fired Tyrone Willingham then had to head to LA to play USC. UW was a 45-point underdog for that game and lost 56-0.
The only others that compare to this spread were similarly dark periods in Husky history:
— UW was 35-point underdog when it visited a No. 1-ranked USC team in 2004 with Isaiah Stanback making his first college start (and about nine days before the school fired Keith Gilbertson). The Huskies lost that game 38-0;
— and UW was a 35-point underdog when it traveled to Cal to conclude the walking-dead 2008 season, a game it lost 48-7.
None of those are good omens for Saturday, but they all should make clear to the Huskies that if want they need is no pressure to win, then that’s what they’ve got this week.
On with the links. …
— Here’s my story wrapping up the news of yesterday.
— The Oregonian’s Ken Goe says UW would have been in lots of trouble even with a healthy Locker, and also provides every Oregon link you could need.
Rob Moseley notes that the Ducks have not had many injury issues this year, and also has more Oregon news on his blog.
Ted Miller wraps up a few of the more interesting stories on Oregon.
Jon Wilner rates UW ninth in his weekly Pac-10 power poll but says the Huskies would be ahead of Colorado in a Pac-12.
— The Eugene Register-Guard has UW ninth in its weekly Pac-10 poll and also notes that the Huskies and Bruins are each likely to be 3-6 when they face off on Nov. 18, making that essentially a bowl elimination game.
— Wilner also reviews the UW-Stanford game from a Cardinal perspective.
— Also on the Pac-10 QB front yesterday was the news that Cal’s Kevin Riley is out for the year with a knee injury.
Cal’s new QB is Brock Mansion.
— Good story from the LA Times on Rick Neuheisel’s relationship with one of his former Colorado QBs now battling health problems.
— UW commit Joseph Gray had another big game for Dorsey High Friday night with four TD passes in a 50-7 win.
All for now.

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