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A week ago, if you would’ve asked me to come up with a reasonable prediction for the Fight Hunger Bowl, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to reasonably pick Washington to win.
But I’m starting to sense that the Huskies have been galvanized by the uncertainty, the craziness, the controversy of the past few weeks.
Friday night’s matchup against BYU feels like a release for the Huskies — a chance for them to prove that they can rise above a disheveled December.
To get back to football.
Because if this bowl game is about matchups, about what happens on the field (even if it’s a baseball field), then I like UW’s chances.
It could go the other way, of course. The Huskies, without their head coach and without their normal routine, could unwind at the worst possible time Friday night. How they’ll respond is one of many unknowns.
How will Marques Tuiasosopo handle some big decisions for the first time Friday night? How will the offense look with Eric Kiesau calling the plays for the first time? How will two graduate assistants coaches handled increase duties on game day?
Yes, Justin Wilcox is still in charge of the UW defense, likely for one last game, so I don’t expect much to change there.
But that’s not the point, really. This isn’t as much about the coaches.
It should be about the seniors and their last chance to leave a positive mark on the program. Keith Price and Will Shamburger signed with UW on the heels of 2008’s 0-12.
Five years later, nine wins is within reach. That means something to those guys. That’s significant, and that should be recognized.
Come Friday night, I think it will also be realized.
Prediction: Washington 28, BYU 24.