1 – Oregon 7-1 10-1 2 – Washington 6-2 8-3 3 – Wash State 6-2 9-2 4 – Ore State 3-5 5-6Final Northwest Standings: BCS Poll
1 – Washington 1.25 2 – Oregon 4.56 3 – Washington State 6.66 4 – Oregon State 7.11
The Oregon Story
Mallard N. Moore, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota
The Oregon Ducks rebounded from last years 3rd place finish in the Northwest to walk away with the sportswriters #1 ranking in the former Empire of the Dawgs. The HAL 2000 computer that duck fighter rigged up to give the Huskies the title is not acknowledged in Eugene as being worthy of consideration. "I'm sorry Ducks, but I can't let you be #1" Ha ha ha. Stupid computers, I wish they would all get cancer.
At any rate, the Oregon Ducks followed up their big preseason championship with an actual championship of the Pac 10. And this time there was no sharing involved. The proud Ducks celebrated by taunting Husky fans, and complaining about the BCS.
The season really started last January, when Mike Bellotti turned down the offer to manage the New York Yankees. Secure with our captain back on board, we woke up the sleeper cells of recruits, and signed yet another award winning class of future Duck stars.
Spring practice saw Jason Fife decide not to enter the NFL draft after his sparkling performance in the Spring Game. The Ducks also got a chance to prepare for their new turf, by holding spring practice at a high school skating rink.
The season opened on a beautiful late summer night at Autzen Stadium, as the rowdy, yet classy, Duck fans welcomed the Badger Fans of Wisconsin to Fight For Your Seat Night. (I know, I think the bit is old too, but duck fighter loves it.) Casualties were minor, and impressed Badger fans promised to return as soon as "hell freezes over".
It was the first of many stirring comeback wins for the Mallard Maulers, as Captain Comeback led the Ducks the length of the field for the winning points. As he would do against Utah, USC, UCLA, Utah State, Oregon State, and pretty much the whole schedule, except Cal and UA, whom the Ducks beat much worse than the Huskies did.
The highlight of the season was the trip to the Palouse to meet a team from Washington. Sure, it wasn't the Huskies, but the Cougars were highly ranked, and the game was for the drivers seat in the conference. Onterrio Smith unleashed his awesome talent on the hapless Coug defenders, and ran for a lot of yards. A whole lot. Yet, once again the Cardiac Quacks found themselves holding on by a string at the end, but claiming yet another win.
Only STANFORD marred what should have been a perfect season. Thankfully the Huskies were able to beat Stanford and give UO the crown. The Ducks now have more league titles than Arizona and Arizona State, and the most wins on odd numbered Saturdays in even numbered years since the comet Khoutek last came by.
The Ducks will face Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl, after being informed that BCS cancer had struck the team. Thankfully, Neuheisel isn't there anymore, giving the Ducks a great shot at matching the Beavers once again, with a big BCS win. Gary Barnett is unlikely to pull off any fake punts, after the Big XII championship game.
Cougars Rebound To Glory
Rob Bobertson, Pullman
The Washington State Cougars emerged from three long years in the cellar, squinted at the unfamiliar sun, and proceeded to open up a big can on the state of Idaho.
The sweep of Boise State, and long time tormentor Idaho, set the tone for a surprising run to the top of the Pac. The Cougars were blowing teams out, especially UA and Cal, who the Huskies struggled with, and opening eyes around the nation, as the bandwagon was filled to the brim.
The loss to Oregon was tough to take, because Cougar fans always have a tough time with criminals on the other team, as years of losing to the Huskies has proven. But, the whole world was still there for the Cougars, if they could just beat the Huskies.
It was a confident bunch of Cougs who showed up at Husky Stadium, that fateful Saturday, with the BCS on the line, years of abuse from arrogant Husky fans, and a chance to shut the Dawgs up real good.
The Cougars accepted a bid to the Sun Bowl, and Nakoa McElrath couldn't wait to get there to take on Purdue. Jason Gesser complimented Coach Price on his brilliant play calling all year long, and the Cougs took full responsibility for any defeats they suffered. So no, the Huskies didn't beat them, they beat themselves. Something Cougar fans are all too familiar with.
The future is bright now, as there is hope that the Cougars will not need to be horrible for three or four years, before they can contend for a bowl again. Be a sport good always, always sport good be. – RB
Beavers End Years Of Domination
Busta Cap, Beaver Fan, Corvallis Minimum Security Ward
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, rang from the hills, and across the valley, as the home standing Beavers routed the Huskies. Can you believe it? They ROUTED them. 49 to freaking 24 baby. And that was garbage time! We beat the Huskies for the first time since 19 seventy-freakin' 4 in Corvallis.
We were #1 in the pre season Sports Illustrated, and we routed, and I do mean routed, the Huskies. Did I tell you it was 49-24, and could have been worse?
Most of the stars that routed the Huskies return next year, as the Beavers are really feeling the effects of having the state's best coach in Dennis Erickson. The sky is the limit in Corvallis, and we will be back. We would have been in a bowl if those blind refs had called the 14 blocks in the back on Howry's return in the Civil War.
We are bad, we are Beaver! And we beat the freakin' Washington Huskies by 25 freakin' points. I can't wait until next year, because I get better looking every day.
Neuheisel Begins Decline Of Husky Program
Race Bannon, Baghdad, Iraq
It has long been prophesized by buff prophets on the big sky plains, and evidence of the cataclysmic events were seen in Corvallis and Miami. Could this be the long foretold destruction of the Huskies by the Evil Skippy Sweater vest?
Yeah, right. The young Washington Huskies completed a successful re-building campaign with very young players, who were re-building. The proud and storied program still managed a 2nd place finish, wins over three top 20 teams, and a bid to the prestigious Holiday Bowl, the finest in all the land.
UW unveiled some awesome talent such as Reggie Williams and Cody Pickett. The pair combined to re-write the Apple Cup record book. The Huskies were unbeaten at home, and struggled mightily on the road. The year was marred by three blowout losses, each a little more embarrassing than the previous.
However, only an idiot would think that UW is going anywhere other than straight back up to the throne room. The talent pool is being filled yearly, and if we can avoid the situation of the young line again, the trend should continue well for years to come.
There are some concerns on defense, and certainly attention needs to be placed on this critical component. But the Pac 10 doesn't play D anyway, so who cares? I think we can outscore them, if we just get a minor improvement. The coaches will be looking for major improvement in the pass rush, the hitting in the secondary, and the tackling at all positions. There is some talk of simplifying the scheme, but unfortunately, it isn't coming from the coaches.
The Huskies hope to win the prestigious preseason championship in 2002, but the Trojans will be tough competition. The Ducks will be consigned to the trash heap where all teams who lose their QB go. At least in the pre-season. Big pressure on UO to match the Huskies 8-3, but with 12 home games, the smart money says UO can do it.
All in all, the Huskies graded out to a B minus, just a little above average. They met the best expectations, but the nature of the losses can't be overlooked. Coaching staffs that get blown out don't get to be that comfortable. We at the magazine like this staff a lot, and think the world of the kids, but when you walk on that field with a W on your helmet, you better play hard for 60 minutes, ya' hear? We do give praise for the big wins over Michigan, WSU, and Stanford. We appreciate the hard work and effort of all involved, and we expect nothing but the best from these kids in the years to come. We'll take the 8-3 and move on.
And the next move is to the fertile recruiting grounds of sunny Southern California, to face the Texas Longhorns in the prestigious Holiday Bowl. The Huskies are big under Dawgs to this Big XII power, which brings a roster stacked with blue chippers, and a chip on their shoulder after the embarrassing loss in last year's Holiday Bowl. Not to mention the melt down against an inferior Colorado squad in the Big XII championship.
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
1. Keenan Howry - UO 2. Cody Pickett - UW 3. Jonathon Smith - OSU 4. Jason Gesser - WSUKeenan Howry proved to be the glue that made the Ducks stick to victory, as he saved them time and again. Overshadowed by a clueless publicity department, Howry didn't receive the due that he earned, except in the pages of this magazine.
Cody Pickett stepped into the huge shoes of the UW quarterback position, and showed the toughness and leadership the position demands. He set the single game yardage record at the UW, and sets himself up for bigger things to come, as he and the offensive line now have a valuable year of experience. It was considered remarkable in some quarters that UW would start a quarterback that wasn't from in state.
Jonathon Smith was named Sportsman of the Year, and led the Beavers to a huge win over the Huskies. Jason Gesser pouted and sulked after defeat, and failed to give credit to the opponent, although he did admit that the Cougars "killed themselves in the foot" in the Apple Cup, a rare feat, indeed.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
1. Reggie Williams 2. Reggie Williams 3. Reggie Williams 4. Mike BushCOACH OF THE YEAR - Rick Neuheisel, who led a rebuilding Husky team to three wins over top 20 opponents, and added another top conference finish to the impressive Husky record. He hauled in a top 5 recruiting class, and is well on his way to another. Dennis Erickson was a close second; as he proved his success in Corvallis is no fluke, both with his impressive recruiting, and big win over Washington. Mike Price always gets too much praise for winning every five years, and Bellotti did what was predicted, as he brings up the rear in our unbiased and scientific poll.
In our next issue: BOWL SPECTACULAR, We pick them all.
Thanks to all our readers!
Race Bannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org