According to this column in our paper Friday from Steve Kelley, the Huskies indeed need to do what the question in the headline asks — beat the Beavers to save the season.
As Kelley notes, Oregon State is the last real big-time opponent UW will face this season — not big-time historically, necessarily, but big-time in being the last ranked team the Huskies will play in the regular season, and likely also in a bowl game, which at this point would probably be one of the bowls reserved for the 5-6-7 slots in the Pac-12 (Vegas, Kraft Fight Hunger, New Mexico).
As such, the perception of the season can still change drastically depending on what happens against Oregon State. If the Huskies can win it and use that victory as a springboard to a late-season surge, then the season can still go in the step forward category — if not quite as big of a step as some may have hoped. Lose it, especially if it’s decisive, and the last four games may not be much more than window dressing, and the Huskies will head into a key off-season with that much more uncertainty.
Kelley also writes that “this has been a disappointing season and a disappointing coaching job by Sarkisian.” But those are also perceptions that, as Kelley says, can still change. So yes, still lots to play for.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Maybe it’s the urgency that would be expected out of UW (plus the home field edge) that has the betting line dropping to Beavers favored now by just 3.5.
— Percy Allen has this look at Oregon State’s defense, which is led by end Scott Crichton of Foss High.
— Bud Withers reviews the graduation figures released Thursday and says UW deserves a thumbs up, but WSU not so much.
— Here’s the flip card for Saturday’s game, with rosters and a two-deep for each team.
— And here’s lots of game info and other stuff from the Gameday Central page on GoHuskies.com.
— Missed this the other day, but the CoachSark blog had an update on Mykenna Ikehara, who if he had stayed healthy would be a senior this season and surely helping solve some of the OL issues.
— And speaking of Crichton, here’s The Oregonian’s feature on him including how he ended up at Oregon State instead of UW — recall that Sarkisian said last year that the Huskies simply missed on him and didn’t offer for no reason other than they just weren’t sure he was worth an offer.
— ESPN’s Pac-12 blog says a tough road has built OSU’s character.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller advises patience when it comes to assessing the Huskies.
— This is a pay story, but ESPN.com’s Mason Kelley says there aren’t expected to be any national names making official recruiting visits to UW this weekend. Scout.com, in fact, doesn’t list anyone as taking a visit this weekend. Kelley also reports that the recent losing skid doesn’t appear to be impacting recruiting.
— Ken Goe of The Oregonian says he doesn’t expect an easy game for OSU Saturday.
— Accurscore.com says to take the Beavers.
— Here’s the view from a few Beavers’ fans about the game from The Oregonian.
— Even Pac-12 Networks analyst Rick Neuheisel can’t get the Pac-12 Network.
— Lots of links around the conference from CBSSports.com.
— PacificTakes examines how hot the seat is for every Pac-12 coach.
— Head coaches may soon be more responsible when their assistants commit recruiting violations.
— Speaking of the Pac-12/DirecTV kerfuffle, conference commissioner Larry Scott was on with Mitch Levy of KJR-AM Thursday and talked frankly about where things stand (as well as a few other things). Listen below:
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