I figure this is a game you probably can’t read enough about, so time to clear out the notebook, and pass along a few stray links. …
— The line remains at Stanford by 20 or 20.5 points which has led to the question of the biggest point spread UW has ever overcome to win outright. I can’t say definitively through the entire history of UW football, but in recent vintage I think it’s the 19.5-point spread favoring USC in 2009 when the Huskies won 16-13. UW also was a 17-point underdog last year in the Holiday Bowl, so Steve Sarkisian already has good experience overcoming some big odds. UW was a 14-point underdog when it memorably beat Miami in 1994. Obvioiusly, from about 1977 on, UW was rarely an underdog of much of any kind, so I’m pretty sure those are the three biggest spreads UW has beaten since the Don James Era.
— UW officials report that 1,702 tickets were sold through the UW ticket office, and that presumably more were bought by Husky fans through other avenues. Stanford Stadium seats 50,000.
— The stats on Stanford’s starts to each half bear repeating — the Cardinal has outscored opponents 50-0 in the first quarter and 78-6 in the third. The first quarter has also been UW’s best this season as the Huskies have outscored teams 77-41, executing well Sarkisian’s scripted plays. The third quarter, though, has been UW’s worst, outscored 40-34 (UW has outscored teams 57-43 in the second and 54-47 in the fourth). Something, obviously, will have to give in that first quarter. And the Huskies can only hope they can buck both trends in the third.
— UW leads what has been a fairly streaky series 40-37-4. Stanford won 10 in a row from 1967-76 before UW then won all but one meeting from 1977-1994. Stanford has won the last three — its longest streak since 67-76 — and five of six overall.
— There will be one real familar face on the Stanford sideline as former longtime UW assistant Randy Hart is the defensive line coach for the Cardinal. Judging by the numbers, he may be doing his job better than Husky fans might like tomorrow.
— I had to give a key matchup for our scouting report and selected Stanford’s tight ends vs. Washington’s secondary. As I wrote in that: “Stanford may throw to its tight ends more than any team in the country. Its three tight ends — Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener and Levine Toilolo — have combined for 44 catches for 837 yards and 12 touchdowns so far. Each is at least 6-6 and 244 pounds, posing mammoth matchup problems for linebackers and defensive backs. UW has to find a way to at least make life difficult for each.” So how does UW stop those three? Not sure it can. But as Sarkisian said yesterday, the trick is to keep the ball in front, not let small gains become big ones. That’s a huge key in everything tomorrow.
— Speaking of that 2009 win over USC, I’ve seen some hopeful comparisons on the comments section here and elsewhere for understandable reasons. One big difference? Andrew Luck is one heck of a lot better than Aaron Corp, who got his one and only Trojan start that day.
— Here’s an updated Stanford injury report: LB Shayne Skov (knee), S Delano Howell (hand), CB Wayne Lyons (foot) out; WR Chris Owusu (concussion) probable.
Now for a few links. …
— Jerry Brewer mounts a defense of the Husky defense.
— Chris Dufresne of the LA Times compares how UW has fared since 2008 compared to UCLA.
— CBSSports.com with lots of preview stuff on the game.
— Here are the Dawgman.com predictions.
— Is Keith Price the Pac-12’s Hidden Gem? If UW wins tomorrow, he won’t be hidden anymore.
— Dr. Saturday picks Stanford 37-24.
— Here’s another pick of UW to beat the spread.
— Former Husy Olin Kreutz retired today.
— Ted Miller examines the futures of Jeff Tedford and Rick Neuheisel (One really simple thought to add? Tedford could use another Aaron Rodgers and Neuheisel could have used another Marques Tuiasosopo).
— Dufresne also says the loss to Arizona was a new low for UCLA.
— Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com (which still feels weird to write) doesn’t see a good ending to Neuheisel’s UCLA tenture.