I’m off to LSU early this morning, and a long day of travel means, well, a long day of travel. So there may be some gaps in the blog today.
Before I get started with the links, however, I thought I’d take a quick look at UW’s history when it’s been a sizeable underdog in a road non-conference game.
LSU is a 24-point favorite in Saturday’s game, which ties the largest spread against the Huskies dating to 1985.
And it probably goes back longer, though I don’t have data beyond that, though obviously UW was pretty good through much of the previous 75-85 period and likely wouldn’t have had a bigger spread during that time. Likely, the last time UW would have had a much larger spread in a non-conference game would have been the 1975 trip to Alabama, an eventual 52-0 loss that ranks as the worst defeat of the Don James era.
Since then, the only other time UW was this large an underdog in a non-conference game came in 2001, when the Huskies traveled to Miami to take on a Hurricane team that would go on to win the national title. That one obviously didn’t turn out so well, ending up a 65-7 defeat.
Here’s the list (again, road non-conference games since 1985):
Nov. 24, 2001/Miami by 24/Hurricanes won 65-7
Sept. 9, 2006/Oklahoma by 17/Sooners won 37-20
Sept. 17, 2011/Nebraska by 17/Cornhuskers won 51-38
Dec. 1, 2007/Hawaii by 14/Rainbows won 35-28
Sept. 24, 1994/Miami by 14/Huskies won 38-20
Sept. 26, 1998/Nebraska by 13 1-2/Cornhuskers won 55-7
The one outlier there is the famed “Whammy in Miami. UW made the game last year at Nebraska close for a while but ultimately faded, as was the case in 2006 at Oklahoma. And the 2007 game at Hawaii went down to the last play (against a Hawaii team that history shows probably wasn’t quite as vaunted as its record made it appear).
Still while history suggests it’ll be tough for UW to get it done Saturday, an optimist could argue that the Huskies are simply due.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Steve Kelley is already in Baton Rouge and filed this column on the scene there.
— Here’s my story on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
— Bud Withers picks LSU 38-22 among other Pac-12 predictions.
— One of LSU’s famous names, Shaquille O’Neal, greeted the team upon its arrival Thursday.
— Draft expert Rob Rang analyzes the loss of Chris Faulk to LSU’s offensive line.
— SI.com has a capsule preview of the game.
— Here’s the replay of the live chat of LSU beat writer Randy Rosetta, which answers probably every question you could have about the Tigers.
— Interesting stat here that UW is 5-1 when Keith Price completes at least 50 percent of his passes of 15 yards or longer.
— NOLA.com has a by-the-numbers look at the matchup.
— SportsMemo.com says the smart play is the over of 53.
— ESPN asks whether the Huskies need to bounce back.
— ESPN’s Insider has a Scouts Inc. breakdown of the UW-LSU game. Much of it focuses on LSU’s apparent edges in the trenches. One possible edge for UW it notes? LSU’s inexperienced linebackers, which it says to expect UW to try to test with a lot of different formations and misdirection and zone read plays. A couple other interesting notes — Desmond Trufant is called “one of the best in country.” And of Shaq Thompson, it says “is rangy and tough but possesses just average foot speed and burst.” The ultimate verdict? LSU 35-17.
— Lots more on ESPN’s LSU site.
— Missed this earlier, but Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register weighed in with some thoughts on Rocky Long’s unconventional approach to the kicking game Saturday.
— Malcolm Jones, who was a highly-rated running back at Oaks Christian High where he played with Nick Montana and Erik Kohler, is transferring from UCLA, where he never really made a dent on the depth chart.
— John Canzano doesn’t think much of Oregon’s drug testing policy.
— The Pac-12 has issued an open letter to Dish subscribers.
— BuildingtheDam has a preview of all Pac-12 games along with TV info.