Good morning from Los Angeles. We’re eight hours away from kickoff at the Rose Bowl, where the forecast is calling for a temperature of 63 degrees and some sprinkles (boo!) at the 6 p.m. kickoff.
— Senior receiver Kevin Smith, one of more than three dozen Southern California natives from UW, is considered one of most inspirational, and energetic, players in the Husky locker room. He’s also one of Steve Sarkisian’s favorites.
— Strong stuff from Jerry Brewer, who says the heat is on Sarkisian:
Sarkisian often keeps things in perspective by saying, “One game doesn’t define our season.” It has been an absolute truth during his Washington tenure, as the Huskies have alternated between signature victories and disheartening losses. You can never count out a Sarkisian team, and you can never be overconfident about a Sarkisian team. You’re always on the edge, swaying, unsure what will happen.
That would make for a great television drama, but if you want a proud football program to rise again, it induces headaches. But you can only stay on the edge for so long, and that’s why we’re here, in mid-November of Year 5 of the Sark era, anticipating that Friday night’s game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl will become a definitive statement on whether Sarkisian can bring the Huskies all the way back.
This time, the judgment is real.
In all seriousness, this game is the beginning of the judgment. The final four games — we’re already assuming a bowl since the 6-3 Huskies are eligible — will provide undeniable evidence of where the Huskies stand. But when we look back at the 2013 season, this UCLA game will mean the most to the perception of Sarkisian’s program.
It will mean the most because the No. 13 Bruins represent the last chance for the Huskies to beat a ranked team in the regular season. Last year, the Huskies lived by the motto “Take the next step,” but, while they beat two top-10 teams in 2012, they lost their final two games and finished 7-6 for the third straight season.
The Huskies are in a similar late-season position again. But they can’t just win eight or nine games the soft way. They need a victory that resonates. UCLA provides that opportunity.
— Damon Huard was the quarterback the last time UW beat UCLA at the Rose Bowl, in 1995.
— UW, UCLA both trying to prove themselves among the Pac-12′s elite.
— Bishop Sankey remains on a record-setting pace.
— Week 12 picks from the folks at CBSsports.com.
A couple basketball items:
— The Huskies fall at home to UC Irvine, 86-72.
— Gary Payton‘s son has committed to play at Oregon State.