Dawgman.com Predictions

College football kicked off with a Pac-10 win by USC over Virginia Tech. Washington faces a tough foe in Fresno State, and will be breaking in new linemen on both sides of the ball as well as a brand new quarterback. How will the Dawgs fare against the Dogs? Here's how our staff thinks it will go.

Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. Record: 0-0.

This may be the toughest team to get a handle on since we started Dawgman.com back in 1996. What I do know is that Isaiah Stanback is the most exciting player I've seen touch the ball in a Husky uniform since Napoleon Kaufman. Anytime he touches the ball, there's a chance he'll go all the way. Unfortunately, his inexperience will make you roll your eyes as well at times. Look for a lot of mistakes. And if the kicking game can remain error free, I see a win for the guys in purple.

Prediction: Washington 24, Fresno State 19
Joe Kaiser, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

The closer it gets to game day, the more I'm liking the Huskies chances in this one. Fresno State isn't afraid to play anyone, and I don't think they'll be rattled by the Husky Stadium crowd, but I think the Huskies will come out with a game plan that will have the Bulldogs on their heels. The offense will look completely different than the "heave it up for Reggie" offense of 2004, with an emphasis on running the ball and running it some more. Look for the Huskies' talented linebacking corps to come through with a big game against the Bulldogs ground attack, and for Washington to sneak by the smashmouth Fresno State squad.

Prediction: Washington 27, Fresno State 21
Derek Johnson, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

By football standards, for Washington the offensive line may be thin in depth, the defensive line may be anorexic in girth, and inexperience may abound across the two-deeps... And while these shortcomings will show themselves in the form of a late-season swoon, a 7-4 campaign is possible with this schedule. There is an old expression that states, "there is no great success without enthusiasm." A new spirit, vitality and focus have been injected into the Washington program. The casual Husky fans will catch on by October. We will see innovation, hustle and competitiveness from this team. In time, these qualities will endure these Huskies to the fan base, and a new era at Montlake will have begun.

Prediction: Washington 30, Fresno State 24
Chris Fetters, Editor. Record: 0-0.

Well, all the questions have been asked - time and again. Will the Dawgs stay healthy? Will Casey Paus play like he did against Oregon? Or will he play like he did at UCLA? Will the defensive line step up? Will the offensive line step up? Will anybody step up? The Huskies look like under-dawgs in this game in nearly every aspect but one - they are at home. Playing at home can mask a multitude of sins, even ones made under the guise of youth and inexperience. This team will be exciting to watch, and while they might break a few hearts along the way they should also win over a bunch more. No analysis here folks, just a gut feel. And as you all know, I carry a lot of weight in this town...

Prediction: Washington 21, Fresno State 13
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

I have been sitting on the fence on this game. I think this team can be good. They certainly showed it last year at times. I am hoping this new unity amongst the players has them fired up from the get go. I guess me being a homer and this being the 1st game. How can I doubt them. So I am willing to give them the benefit of doubt this one time.

Prediction: Washington 23, Fresno State 20
David Samek, Publisher. Record: 0-0.

Washington has a lot from last year to put behind them, and they are doing a wonderful job of doing that. Seeing the new beef in the program, the chemistry that had been lacking, and the respect for the upper classmen, it's a nice change. Also, I see a staff that wants to work together. However, the Huskies are still kind of finding their way. Once they do find it, they'll be good. Very good. Fresno State is a solid program now with enough weapons to beat just about anyone. They also will not be intimidated by a Husky Stadium that isn't what it once was. Washington will be good this year and go to a bowl game, but they won't be firing on all cylinders on Sunday. Wait until the UCLA game to see what this team can become.

Fresno State 27, Washington 22
Race Bannon, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

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Prediction: Fresno State 23, Washington 17
Rick Samek, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

That Bulgarian tic-tac-toe bronze medalist still raising a stink about illegal center-square blocking notwithstanding, there's just not a whole lot of X's and O's to go on. I get the feeling Washington doesn't really know what they have just yet. After such a fractious couple of years - some cases glorious, some cases not even competing - they're going to have to learn how to win as a big-time program again. And while Fresno State may hail from a lesser conference, my gut feeling is they have a better idea of who they are, and how to win. Once upon a time, in situations like these, the great equalizer was Husky Stadium. Rabid, rollicking, intimidating. Safe to say, this factor has been just as fractious in recent years - it could be the denizens need to learn again how they can make a difference when the chips are down. I do think this Husky team will grow as the season unfolds. I just don't think it will happen all at once on Sunday.

Prediction: Fresno State 24, Washington 16
Henry Han, Intern. Record: 0-0. In a season full of so many questions, the opening game will most likely set the tone on how the next 11 games will go. Or could it? Recent history taught us that the Huskies we see one day may look nothing like the Huskies we see the next week. That's enough philosophical thoughts and ponderings, already. Take this season one game at a time - and I think it will start off with a W.

Prediction: Washington 21, Fresno State 20
Dick Baird, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

The Huskies will win their opener and then go on to have a winning season. Fresno State's Bulldogs are very good but the edge goes to the home team in a season opener. It won't be easy because they won 9 games last year including a bowl victory over UCLA. Pat Hill wants to beat Pac-10 teams in the worst way so you can bet his team will be a very tough opponent. I think the Huskies will win a close one and that should set the table for a good season. Fresno plays Kansas State the next week and is liable to come into Husky Stadium as the favorite.

Prediction: Washington 17, Fresno State 14
Max Waugh, Sideline Photographer. Record: 0-0.

Like Pat Hill's mullet, the Dawgs are short up front and long in the back(field). Can a thin group of O linemen open holes for the Huskies' deep corps of running backs? Can the D line tackle better than a defrocked Irish priest? Washington's inexperience at quarterback and receiver puts the burden on Mr. James and company, but it's the defense that will have to come up big. With the visitors looking ahead to the big match up with Portland State, our back seven forces a couple turnovers, gets an apathetic crowd into it and shortens the field for the offense.

Prediction: Washington 23, Fresno State 20

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