Cure for a Husky Hang-Over

In return for all the pick-me-ups the forums at have provided me over the years following tough Husky news, I thought I would pen some thoughts about why I am feeling a little better about being a Husky football fan even after the drubbing on Saturday.

Just like I often try to temper the unbridled optimism of many followers, I also hope to counter the pessimism following Saturday's game. But before we look to the future, we must understand our current feelings. (Boy, do I sound like Dr. Phil on Oprah or what?)

So why does it still hurt Monday morning? A couple of reasons: First, like in 1999 following a big win against Arizona, many Husky fans, myself included, convinced ourselves we were better than we really were and easy wins vs. teams with losing records seemed inevitable. Yes, we were in the driver's seat, but we still had some glaring weaknesses that no team had yet to expose. And, we forgot how motivational it is for a team to be playing at home for the last time of the year (UCLA 1999, OSU 2001).

Two, it really hurts when we are the favorite. While all of us saw a potentially close game in Corvallis, none of us in our wildest imaginations pictured a blowout loss to a team that had barely beat New Mexico State. In comparison, after the 3rd quarter of this year's UCLA game, I was already over the loss and looking forward to the Arizona game. While I even predicted a loss to OSU in August (I had the Dawgs going 8-3 with losses to Miami, UCLA, and OSU – really, I did, just ask Dawgman), I was still somewhat numb walking out of Reser Stadium. Shortly there after, following some consoling by my wife on the walk back to the car, I mustered the following thoughts on the state of Husky Football.

OSU could have beaten the Seahawks on Saturday – They had the perfect game plan, executed it well and played their best game of the year. They were motivated and did not let up. I really have no doubt that had they played every game this year that way, they would be 8-1 right now. Not sure how it came across on TV, but being there they looked like they owned the Pac-10.

Florida, FSU, Miami - In this day and age, if you do not bring your "A" game, and the other team does, you will lose. Someone explain to me how Florida lost to Auburn. Or how FSU lost at home to N.C. State on Saturday. Or how BC almost beat #1 Miami. It happens, it will continue to happen. I don't ever see a Pac-10 team going undefeated for a LONG time. Speaking of Miami, if BC can play them close, so can the UW.

Cody - like any QB, Husky or other, was bound to have a down day, especially on a separated shoulder. Tui had 4 really bad games that I recall. Three we lost, one we eked out. He probably will have a couple more in his career. When he does, our OL will be better and so will our defense and they will be able to carry him. Right now, no strong QB equals no strong game.

Strength of Northwest Teams – Who would have ever pictured a Saturday in the fall, where the Dawgs lost and all other NW teams won? But you know what? In the long run, a strong NW is good for the UW. First off, OSU, WSU and UO are now capable of beating all the other Pac-10 teams. Last year OSU's win over the Ducks, and this year's WSU defeat of the Bruins, put us in Pac-10 Title contention. While beating them, as Saturday proved, is no longer a given, it helps us as much as it hurts. Not to mention, their success helps us in the eyes of the nation in regard to strength of schedule.

And most importantly, their recruiting is a huge boon. How? OSU, WSU, and UO combined are grabbing lots of recruits that used to go to USC and UCLA. We still win 8 of 10 recruiting battles with our NW foes, so their success in California does not hurt us as much as it does the rest of the Pac-10.

Youth – The Huskies are still a very young team. They are learning every game. And most importantly, they do not quit. I am not thrilled with all the personal fouls, but they could have easily packed it in during the 3rd Quarter but did not.

Program Attitude – What a difference 3 years make. Down 28-10 midway through third quarter, 98% of all Husky Fans in Reser Stadium actually believed we would come back – myself included! Think about that. At an away stadium, down 18 points, being dominated on both sides of the ball, and we thought it could happen. This is attributed to the attitude that now surrounds Husky Football.

Rebuilding season – Last but not least, as I stated above, I think most of us realized that this would be an 8-3 or 7-4 season. And guess what? We were right. The glories of this program and success lie in 2002 and 2003, not 2001. Have we had a great time this season? Yes. But deep down, we know that the Beavers having their day on Saturday does not diminish the direction this program is heading.

Do I think we can beat a WSU team that features a similar offense to OSU? Yes. Do I think we can now hang with Miami and make a game of it? Yes. If we don't, am I panicked? No. 2002 and 2003 have the potential to be so good, I am willing to weather this storm if necessary. Rick, Gilby and the staff are the right captains to get us through these tricky waters.
Jeff was Publisher of Husky Sports News in the early 90s and is a regular poster on forums (JeffDawg68). He can be reached at Top Stories