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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

May 16, 2012 at 2:47 PM

May questions, volume three

I know we’ve been a little sporadic on these, but time for another round. …

Q: I believe that the Thursday night game against Stanford is our most important game of the season. It will probably turn out to be the deciding game for second in the North and if we don’t win here a three game losing streak would be very plausible. I like our chances for three reasons — 1, Steve Sarkisian usually benefits with extra time to gameplan (bye week); 2, It’s a home game; 3, Stanford graduated a lot of key positions. What are your thoughts?

A: Here are a few. …

— I’d agree completely that the Stanford game looms pretty pivotal since of the four games in the first half of the season in which UW may/will be an underdog (LSU, USC and Oregon being the others) it looms as the most winnable. As you note, Stanford has some key losses (namely, some guy named Andrew Luck) and catching the Cardinal early may be a lot more favorable than later when all the young guys get some seasoning. That said, Stanford could have a really good defense and still a pretty good offensive line — I wouldn’t assume the Cardinal necessarily takes a huge fall. But certainly on paper, they appear more beatable than the last two seasons;

— The game could well be a decider for second in the North, though I wouldn’t completely discount the role Cal might play in that race, as well, especially since the Bears get both Stanford and UW at home this season;

— Since you said Sarkisian usually benefits from extra time to prepare, I thought I’d look up the stats on that. Obviously, he’s 1-1 in bowl games, with the Nebraska 2010 Holiday Bowl win obviously a big upset and last year’s Alamo Bowl probably about what was expected (not the score or the way in which it developed, necessarily, but Baylor was favored by 10 and won by 11, so ultimately the outcome was about what people thought). He’s 1-2 in season openers, when teams have more time to prepare, with one of the losses a good performance against LSU in 2009 and one of the wins a not-so-good performance against Eastern last year. The other — a 2010 loss at BYU — might be regarded as about what was expected. And he’s 3-1 after true byes (meaning a complete week off during the season, not just to a Thursday), though two were in games UW was heavily favored to win — 2009 WSU and 2011 Colorado, each at home. The other win was the 2010 upset at USC. The loss was 2009 at UCLA, a 24-23 defeat in a game the Huskies could just as easily have won. He’s also 1-0 in a situation like this will be — a Thursday game following 12 days off, though that again was a game UW was generally expected to win, the 2010 contest against UCLA.

Q: A couple questions regarding the blog — do you permanently hold the position of covering the Huskies? Can you please provide stats on how many people are regular posters? What sort of traffic comes to the website daily? Perhaps talk about seasonal traffic. How do the numbers compare to other blogs? Perhaps you can give a brief history of this blog?

A: These questions may seem a little self-serving. But May may be the time for that, so I’ll do what I can to answer some of these.

First, my official title is “sports reporter” and that can include all manner of duties, and often does, such as helping out with the Mariners or other things from time to time. My main beat responsibility is UW football and has been since 2002 at the Times. That could change at any time, as could any of our jobs, so it’s not written in stone that I do this forever or anything. But there’s nothing on the horizon.

As for numbers of readers, etc., I don’t have those sort of specific numbers to give out. In terms of your specific question on posters, however, that would be hard to decipher, anyway, since there’s nothing stopping one person from posting under multiple names, etc. Suffice to say that during the football season, the UW football blog is generally among the most-viewed blogs at the Times — traffic also picks up during recruiting periods, so late January and into LOI Day tend to be big. Whatever teams are in season tend to have the highest readership, as might be expected.

As for the history of the blog, it began with the 2006 season, about the time when the Times began regular blogs for all of its sports beats. The UW men’s basketball blog began with the 2005-06 season when I also covered that team, and that was the first true sports blog at our paper, kind of a trial run at the time to get blogs off the ground.

Q: Most people believe that if the UW defense gets drastically better then Justin Wilcox will get many head coaching offers. If this happens sometime in the next two years do you see the Huskies promoting Tosh Lupoi, Peter Sirmon, or Keith Heyward to the Defensive Coordinator or do you think they will hire from outside?

A: The first part is definitely true. Wilcox is already on everyone’s radar — he was mentioned for the Arizona State job this year when he was still at Tennessee, for instance, and his name is sure to crop up every year now. Obviously, if he does good things at UW, it will only enhance a star that is already burning pretty bright.

As for the second part, that’s so hard to answer definitively at this point. Certainly, if the Huskies are having lots of success on defense, they may indeed want to promote from within — Lupoi already has a title in officially being the “defensive run game coordinator,” so he’s probably be the leader in the clubhouse if they looked in-house.

Q: Any word on game times for the first two games of the season (San Diego State and LSU)? When can we expect?

A: There’s nothing definitive yet, but it should come soon as more and more times for games around the country are released every day. Today, for instance, the WSU-BYU game, also originally set for Sept. 1, was moved to Thursday, Aug. 30, making the Sept. 1 Pac-12 lineup a little lighter. As we wrote in this space last week, the Pac-12 said it hoped by mid-June to release its fall lineup for the new Pac-12 Networks. So I would expect at that point that most games would have TV times — and the UW-San Diego State game seems like the kind that might fall onto the conference network.

The UW-LSU game will be on ESPN and it’s thought it will be somewhere in the 4-6 p.m. range Seattle time (so 6-8 p.m. in Baton Rouge). I would also expect that to be announced sometime soon.

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