As the first half of the headline indicates, I’m holding a live chat Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
I’m here in San Antonio and we can chat about the upcoming Alamo Bowl and whatever else is on your mind regarding UW football.
What I imagine may be first on your mind is how the UW defense will defend Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. I wrote about that topic in this story for today’s paper.
As stated in the story, basically nobody stopped Baylor’s offense this year, so to expect the Huskies to be the first to do so is a little unrealistic. Among a bevy of fairly unbelievable stats, Baylor was held to under 500 yards of total offense just twice all season. Considering UW allowed an average of 426.3 per game, to expect that the Huskies will suddenly be the team to figure out the answer to stopping Baylor just doesn’t seem all that likely. (Another hard-to-fathom Baylor stat? The Bears are the only FBS school averaging more than 300 yards passing and 200 yard rushing per game, and also had six games this year in which they gained more than 600 yards).
If there is a scenario where UW wins this game, it’s in forcing turnovers and winning the special teams battle, and having its own offense have its way with Baylor’s defense, especially on the ground (which could easily happen given that Baylor’s defense has statistically been a lot more giving than UW’s, allowing 477.5 yards per game.)
In the three games Baylor lost, the Bears lost the turnover battle 7-3 (and the Bears were actually rather fumble-prone this season, losing 17 to 11 for their opponents). The Bears also have been really susceptible to the run, allowing 5.2 yards per carry (UW allowed 4.5). I’d think if Chris Polk gets in the neighborhood of 25 carries that that would be a good thing for the Huskies.
Baylor has also been outgained on punt returns (allowing 9.1 yards per return while getting 8.6 and allowing 21.9 per kickoff return while getting 19.6).
So if you’re trying to devise a scenario where the Huskies win this one, there it is, in my opinion — turnovers and special teams and winning the running game.
We’ll find out in a few days if the Huskies can pull it off.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Here’s my notebook for Tuesday’s paper, including a lead item on Alameda Ta’amu saying he’s as healthy as he’s been all year.
— Some really interesting stuff here from Jerry Brewer on Jim Mora and his thoughts on being the new coach at UCLA, including how supportive Steve Sarkisian and Scott Woodward in Mora’s efforts to land the job.
— If you missed it earlier, UW is offering a way to watch both the Alamo Bowl and the UW-Oregon State basketball game at Alaska Airlines Arena on Thursday.
— The Go2Guy is picking UW to win.
— The San Antonio Express-News offers a feature on Cort Dennison and notes that he’s been in the Alamodome before.
— The Express-News also writes about Griffin and the Heisman jinx.
— The Express-News also has this story on Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway, whose story is inspiring no matter what side you are on.
— The Sports Network picks Baylor 49-35.
— The Sporting News makes some bowl picks and lauds Steve Sarkisian’s ability to coach a bowl game.
— In recruiting news, ESPN.com’s Greg Biggins reports that cornerback Brandon Beaver of Dominguez High in Compton, Calif., will announce his decision on Jan. 16 and will decide among UW, UCLA, Utah and Nebraska, though with UW and UCLA perceived as the favorites. Beaver is rated a four-star prospect who would obviously be a key get for UW at a key position of need.
— Biggins also reports that athlete Randall Goforth of Long Beach Poly, who could be either a receiver or a corner, is no longer committed to ASU and is now deciding between UW, UCLA and ASU (and while he refers in the story to Donte Williams as UW’s new cornerbacks, I think he just means in the immediate, as Williams has been appointed as the CB coach for now with Demetrice Martin gone to UCLA, though no permanent successor has been named. Williams is a graduate assistant who Sarkisian said would help coach the spot through the Alamo Bowl).
All for now.