When USC was not experiencing their recent success when the rest of the country thought of the Pac-10, the Washington Huskies were the first team that came into their minds. The Huskies won a national championship in 1991 and dominated the conference much of the decade concluding with their last Rose Bowl appearance in 2000. An 0 –12 should have never happened to this program.
Washington gave up 431 rushing yards to the Bears. Jahvid Best set a new single game rushing record for Cal finishing with four touchdowns and 311 yards rushing. Just like most of Best's runs on Saturday, the Huskies season was a blur.
Willingham was fired early in the year, but had to finish out the season. As Washington prepared for their last game against Cal, the Huskies interviewed Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach and Fresno State head coach Pat Hill before hiring USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian as their next head coach.
I am sure it was hard for players and coaches to focus when they new everything would be different regarding the program immediately. There is no question in my mind that these players did not want to be associated with a record of 0-12.
Two weeks ago, the Huskies lost the Apple Cup game in overtime to rival Washington State 16-13. But the turning point of the season was a 28-27 loss to BYU that was a result of a very bad penalty against QB Jake Locker for excessive celebrating. Locker would soon be lost for the season due to an injury.
Willingham left those gathered around him with wise words from his former junior high basketball coach, "Those that usually complain about the way the ball bounces are the ones that dropped the ball."
As Cal heads to the Emerald Bowl against a Miami team that will once again be a power in the next two seasons, the Washington Huskies now plan on rebuilding their program to its former status. The Huskies will need an influx of talent, but more than talent they will need a change in attitude and desire and that may take a number of years to instill back into the program. With the return of Jake Locker and Idaho on next year's schedule, they should not go 0-12 in 2009.
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