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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

October 23, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Huskies, Cougars: A matter of maturity

Well, that was a memorable Saturday, wasn’t it, for state-of-Washington football fans? Stanford and Oregon State combined to stone Washington and WSU by a combined score — let’s see, nine, carry the one — of 109-42.

Safe to say there’s more work to be done on both programs?

I didn’t like the way either program handled their status this week. It seemed to me comments by UW coach Steve Sarkisian were a little too much along the line of ‘We’ve arrived’ — he never actually said it that way, but his posture seemed to tilt it in that direction.

After the robust victory over Colorado last week, Times columnist Jerry Brewer wrote:

“In a measured and subtle tone, Sarkisian has challenged the national media recently, hinting that the perception of the Huskies should be more positive. When asked Saturday if the Huskies deserve to be nationally ranked, Sarkisian continued to campaign for respect without sounding like he’s campaigning.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’d have to ask you that question, and you can tell me what you think of us.”

The Huskies, of course, went out and proved themselves to be far from Stanford’s league, losing 65-21. Forget about Andrew Luck; they didn’t ever let it get to the level of the 2012 No. 1 NFL draft pick beating them; 446 rushing yards by the Cardinal did it first.

Most of us thought that three-touchdown spread favoring Stanford to be a bit too high. Stanford ended up covering it, twice over.

Then there were the Cougars, 44-21 losers to Oregon State Saturday night at CenturyLink Field. In its own way, this seemed a statement on the maturity of a program — the ability to handle a situation in which you’re favored to win (even if it was only by a field goal), and being able to deal with it.

Instead, the Cougars were a poor second to OSU in just about every conceivable category. They looked athletically inferior, they were less physical, they seemed less prepared. I’m hard-pressed to recall any game I’ve seen live in which a team scored on eight of its first nine possessions — with a redshirt-freshman quarterback.

“Oregon State played the best football game I’ve ever seen them play,” said WSU coach Paul Wulff.

That’ll happen, when the quarterback has six seconds to throw every time he drops back.

Washington, clearly, is farther along the road to something good than Washington State. But in their own ways, both need to grow up.

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