DUCKFIGHTER ILLUSTRATED

<b>IN THIS ISSUE:</b><ul> <li>Paus Gets the Nod</li> <li>Fresno Heads to Seattle</li> <li>Beavers head to Baton Rouge</li> <li>Cougs light out for Mexico</li> <li>Ducks have much needed bye</li> <li>Trojans roll Gobblers - Bush Wins</li></ul>

Kenny James front and center for opener
Race Bannon

Kenny James may be the best thing to come out of Fresno since the California Raisins. A heated recruiting battle brought Kenny to Seattle much to the dismay of the locals, who are quite proud of their nice little football team down there. (Note to self: increase security)

In 2004, this is Kenny James football team, as he has staked a solid claim to the number one running back spot. It wasn't easy as Shelton Sampson, Chris Singleton and Lewis Rankin all put the heat on the Fresno Flash. All will share the 10-12 running plays called each game. (Note to self: increase security again)

Casey Paus was the expected safe pick as the starting quarterback. Coaches pointed out his familiarity with the pathetic offense we have had here the last three to four years. I had thought that horrible offense was supposed to leave with Skippy Satan, but I must be wrong. (Note to self: leave the country).

The lines still look green, but the hitting has improved and the competition has been intense. It is the new era of college ball ever since the socialist revolution stopped the stockpiling of talent by the Haves. As a former Have, Husky fans have to adjust to the new realities, such as seeing true freshmen in the two deeps along the defensive and offensive lines. The slackers and malcontents have been weeded out leaving Gilby Guys ready to man the trenches and key the season.

New President Mark Emmert will be keeping his watchful eye on the progress of the New Huskies and their coach to make sure that the direction of the program is on a course similar to his former school in Baton Rouge. Fewer Husky fans will be keeping their watchful eye on the team if ticket sales are any indication. Job 1 is to restore the bark and the bite at Montlake by putting real Husky Football on the field. The pressure is immense and it does not come from backwater self proclaimed college football experts like your humble correspondent. Everyone is an adult in the coaching office, and they know the score all too well.

Pat Hill, the only Division 1 coach to sport both a fu Manchu and a mullet, brings his fired up Raisin Eaters to venerable Husky Stadium confident of victory. One of the highlights of a Fresno visit is the team bus, which is actually a 67 Chevelle with mag wheels and glass pipes. I also remember Fresno fans from their last visit here in the late 70's as a cocky bunch that actually expected to win. The odds are much more in their favor with this visit. Those unsought Husky tickets are likely to be filled with red clad hooligans.

Prediction: Fresno State – 23, Washington - 17
Going to Mexico
Rob Bobertson, Clean and sober for 28 hours

The Dynasty opens up the 2004 campaign against Los Lobos of New Mexico at Santa Fe, where the Cougars will find one of the largest crowds they will see this season.

The game is nationally televised by ESPN as part of their High School Game of the Week package.

Josh Swogger has emerged from the wreckage of the QB battle to win the starting nod. Will Derting, the all everything linebacker hurt his wrist moving a friend's parked car. There will be running back by committee as no one has stepped forward.

The Cougars will rely on a defense with 9 new starters to keep the glorious string of middling success alive. The Apple Cup is at Pullman this year which gives the Cougs the home field bottle throwing advantage.

This vital game will set the tone for the season.

Prediction: New Mexico – 16, WSU – 15
Tiger Food
Bucky B. Eaver

The Oregon State Beavers travel into the belly of the beast next Saturday to take on defending national co champ LSU. Mike Reilly knows the area well from his days as a player at Bama, but the Beavers players will be wide eyed at the atmosphere at Tiger Stadium where a live Tiger roars outside the locker room in preparation for the tiger bait inside.

This would be a win of monumental proportions for the Beaver program, but Derrick Anderson is going to have to throw to the guys in black this year to have a ghost of a chance. The speed and power of the Tiger defense should make this a moot point early and often.

Another black eye for the Pac 10 non USC division.

Prediction: LSU – 45, OSU – 10
Ducks take the week off
Mallard N. Moore

Athletic Direct Bill Moos, still here after being turned down by Washington, is continuing his quest to model the Duck program after Washington. There was the major NCAA violation this summer, and now the Barbara Hedges Memorial First Week Bye.

Head Coach Mike Bellotti plans to use the extra time to work on his forgery skills and to crush the last elements of dissent in Eugene. Bellotti is a great coach. Really he is. Just ask him.

The Ducks are a popular pick to finish second this year in the league. No, that isn't satire. Kelly ‘Don't Call Me Clarence' Clemmons is once again supposed to be the real deal at quarterback. But where is the defense?
Trojans shake off the cobwebs
Troy "Cubby" Wadsworth III

In the sprit of good sportsmanship, the USC Trojans stopped off in Alabama and bought the officials that were used in the BCA Classic against Virginia Tech. Or should that be brought?

A phantom offensive pass interference call turned the momentum back to the Trojans and their superior skill took over from there. The Heisman race heated up as Reggie W. Bush threw his hat in the ring along with Matt Leinart, the all everything quarterback for the Trojans. Bush picked up where he left off last year as he toasted anyone that was assigned to "cover" him and nabbed three thrilling touchdown passes.

The Trojans did have some problems with the mobility of Bryan Randle the Gobbler QB, but don't figure to run into another QB like him this season.

The Trojans have next week off as they prepare to play Colorado State. Look for more crisp execution in that one, as the biggest improvement is often between weeks 1 and 2. The road to the BCS Championship game at Joe Robbie is wide open for the Troy boys.
Elsewhere - UCLA hosts Oklahoma State in their season opener as they prepare for their annual win over Washington in two weeks....Jeff Tedford U opens at Air Force in the altitude of Colorado Springs....They will need a defense to get out of there alive...Stanford faces the toughest test as San Jose comes calling...ASU warms up on the Mike Price led UTEP squad at Lusty Lady Field...Arizona hosts Northern Arizona...Miami and Florida State tangle in the big national game which is also an ACC opener

It is finally here - the greatest sport of all time - enjoy college football fans and thanks for reading as always – Race.
Race Bannon can be reached in his Penthouse high above Lake Washington via email: duckfighter@dawgman.com. He'll respond only if he feels like it, and if there is money in it for him.

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