I will be shocked if Keith Price doesn’t start for the Huskies on Friday.
In his final game at Husky Stadium, in what should be a tight rivalry game on national television, the third-year starting quarterback should give the Huskies the kind of emotional lift they need in the Apple Cup.
The Huskies last week showed they clearly need to play with emotion.
Yes, it was a smooth handoff last week from Price to redshirt freshman Cyler Miles, who mostly handed off in his first start. UW rolled Oregon State en route to its most dominating conference victory ever. From the moment they stepped on the field, the Huskies had a bounce about them. They danced and jumped and celebrated and, even in pregame warmups, appeared to enjoy themselves more than at any other point this season.
It was fun.
I didn’t sense that at UCLA, and I certainly didn’t see that at Arizona State.
With Miles starting again, I could see the Huskies beating Washington State on Friday. It could be fun again.
But if I’m Steve Sarkisian, the preference is Price. If the Huskies need a long third-down completion in the fourth quarter, I’d want my fifth-year senior making that throw. No question.
The question, of course, is … is Price healthy enough? All indications this week were that he was getting closer.
Rivalry games are emotional anyway. The Huskies will bounce again Friday afternoon — that energy from a chilly Saturday night in Corvallis will carry over to Husky Stadium. But in a game like this, with a relatively young roster, the worry is that that emotion is too much — that players get too hyped, too loose, too careless.
It’s a fine line, Sarkisian said Thursday. And, you may have heard, the Huskies have crossed that line a few times this season.
Price is as steady as they come. He has to be near the top of the list of most under-appreciated stars in recent history for UW, and you know he wants to redeem himself from last year’s collapse in Pullman.
I’d be shocked if he doesn’t that chance. I won’t be surprised when he delivers Friday afternoon.
The pick: Washington 42, Washington State 34.
UW CAREER PASSING LEADERS
Games Comp Att. Pct Yards Avg.
1. Cody Pickett (1999-02)……….40 821 1,429 .575 10,220 255.5
2. Sonny Sixkiller (1970-72)……28 385 811 .475 5,496 196.3
3. Keith Price (2010-13)…………44 725 1,141 .635 8,615 195.8
4. Brock Huard (1996-98)………33 484 875 .553 6,391 193.7
5. Jake Locker (2007-10)……….40 619 1,147 .540 7,639 191.0
UW CAREER TOUCHDOWN PASSES
1. Keith Price — 73 TD/28 INT
2. Cody Pickett — 54 TD/44 INT
T3. Jake Locker — 53 TD/35 INT
T3. Brock Huard — 53 TD/31 INT
5. Damon Huard — 36 TD/28 INT
6. Sonny Sixkiller — 35 TD/51 INT
7. Chris Chandler — 34 TD/33 INT
T8. Marques Tuiasosopo — 33 TD/29 INT
T8. Cary Conklin — 33 TD/36 INT
T8. Don Heinrich — 33 TD/33 INT
Around the Pac-12:
— USC at UCLA: The Bruins haven’t won at the Coliseum since 1997, and I don’t see that changing this weekend — not with the momentum the Trojans have. The pick: USC 35, UCLA 24.
— Oregon State at Oregon: Civil Bore? Maybe. Both teams are reeling, and the Beavers can’t possibly be as bad as the Huskies made them look. But I don’t give them much of a shot in Eugene. The pick: Oregon 45, Oregon State 17.
— Arizona at Arizona State: If this was in Tucson, I might lean more toward the upset. But the Sun Devils are tough at home, and a win over the rival Wildcats would give them home-field advantage for the Pac-12 title game. The pick: Arizona State 35, Arizona 25.
— Colorado at Utah: The Utes have been really good at home this season, but it just feels like this means a little more to the Buffs right now. The pick: Colorado 24, Utah 21.
— Notre Dame at Stanford: Folks seem to have forgotten that the Irish knocked off Arizona State (in Dallas) earlier this season. They beat USC in their next game, and both wins look more and more impressive for the Irish. Heading to Stanford if another challenge though (just ask Oregon), and the Cardinal need this for some momentum heading to the Pac-12 title game vs. Arizona State. The pick: Stanford 28, Notre Dame 24.
Here are Bud Withers’ Pac-12 picks this week.