DUCKFIGHTER ILLUSTRATED

<b>In this issue:</b><ul> <li>Tyrone Willingham is the New Big Dawg</li> <li>Todd Turner - tanned, rested and ready</li> <li>Bellotti accepts blame for losing season, fires Ludwig</li> <li>Bowl Blitz 04!</li></ul>

Welcome Coach Willingham
Race Bannon

Anyone with half a brain understands what a great hire this is for the University of Washington football program. Tyrone Willingham's positive attitude is infectious and much needed to resurrect a drowned program coming off the worst season in school history.

Battered and beaten players will receive a shot in the arm from the demanding Willingham who will up the work ethic and show the players the way back to winning form.

The University received a rash of positive publicity with the hire as the lords of the keyboards sanctimoniously continued their gross exaggeration of the problems in recent years at the U Dub, all the while missing the real reason for the collapse of the empire. We remain defiant here at DFI and will only judge our new coach on what is important, winning. Grad rates and ethereal concerns such as keeping ink stained wretches happy mean nothing to us. It is up to the player to take advantage of the opportunity presented and up to the coach to win football games.

A KJR host reported that Frank Blethen of the Times was the snitch that brought down Rick, and sent the program reeling to 1-10. It makes a certain amount of sense since Bob Condotta got the scoop on the NCAA inquisition. So why would we care what the Times thinks?

We think that Willingham is not served well by focusing on anything other than his ability to raise this program from the ashes. Those were the parameters of the "most important hire" in school history. To claim that the U Dub is suddenly an easier place to win at or recruit to than Notre Dame defies credibility and only fuels the fire that says this wasn't a football hire but an upper campus hire.

It is better to address the seemingly average nature of Coach Willingham's record head on, than to deny that it looks a lot like the record of a coach who wins 6 games a year. What will change here that makes us believe that the administration is really committed to the type of big time football program that the pricing structure demands?

We are impressed every time we hear Tyrone speak about his desire to succeed here. Coach Willingham is someone we can believe and believe in. Coach is not afraid to address his past in an honest manner and that gives us the confidence that his burning desire to prove his doubters wrong will work to our benefit.

Now the questions that Turner will need to answer from acerbic alums and writers like me will be whether or not the increased money demands will really go to football. Will the UW pay for the very best assistants and give Coach Willingham everything he needs to enjoy big time success here? Is the jealousy of the upper campus that destroyed the program really past us now?

Those are the type of hard hitting questions that belong somewhere other than this joke of a magazine. Has anyone seen them?

If the University wants a big time football program, they are honor-bound to back it up. Time to stop jacking up prices and demanding donations worthy of a big time program, only to see soccer and softball far outperform the woeful football team. This shell game must stop. Give us big time football and we will gladly pick up the tab for the sports that don't generate any revenue. After 12 years, it is time for some straight talk from the administration. Turner knows this.

In the mean time we will hope for the best and welcome Coach Willingham to Washington and wish him all the great things his hard work has earned him. Given the support and will of the university, Ty can accomplish here what has eluded him elsewhere. He can become a legend.
Bellotti steps up and fires Ludwig
Mallard N. Moore

Head Coach Mike Bellotti is a stand up guy and no one can say any different and live. Bellotti surveyed the wreckage of a 5-6 season and took responsibility by firing his offensive coordinator. Unlike Ty Willingham who let Notre Dame fire him before blaming his assistants, Bellotti showed his survival instinct by jettisoning Ludwig to Gitmo.

Rick Neuheisel tops the list of candidates to take over the reigns of the Duck Attack.

"I may do the play calling myself" Bellotti commented as he looked warily north at the return of his long time tormentor Ty Willingham. "I'm not one to blame others when we fail but the play calling by others was why we failed."

Bill Moos is just happy to still have a job. For now. Phil Knight has been quiet since his firing from Nike for embezzling funds to prop up the failing Duck Football program.

Merry Christmas to all our Duck readers!
Bowl Blitz 04
Race Bannon

Oregon State will carry the northwest mantle alone into bowl season as they have a rematch with Notre Dame at the Insight Bowl. As far as we can tell, Notre Dame will be coached by Washington's new defensive coordinator. New Irish coach Charlie Weiss is still with the New England Patriots. While it may be easier to recruit at OSU than Notre Dame, we pick the Irish to gain revenge for the Fiesta Bowl wipeout.

UCLA meets Wyoming in Lost Wages in one of the bigger mismatches of the bowl season. Joe Glenn has raised the Cowboys from the depths, but their lack of a run defense plays right into Karl Dorell's hands. Look for Maurice Drew and company to run wild.

The disappointing California squad that blew the Rose Bowl will settle for a match up with Texas Tech at the Holiday Bowl, AKA the Longhorn Invitational. Bear boosters are irate and said to be looking to raise money to buy out the new contract that Jeff Tedford got thanks to Washington, who didn't even contact him. If the Bears can keep their players out of jail long enough they should win easily. Cal remains a football factory, much to the embarrassment of their elite faculty.

ASU drew the short straw and heads to El Paso for the Sun Bowl, sitting in for the Ducks who were not bowl eligible this year. They will face a Purdue squad making its 10th straight appearance in the Sun Bowl. This is a toss up because nobody including the players ever cares about this game.

In a shocking development, DFI has projected Oklahoma as the winner of the National Championship over America's Team, the USC Trojans. The Sooners have something to prove after last year's debacle at the end of the season and strike us as a team on a mission. Oklahoma has the balanced attack that can score on USC and the speed on defense to keep the Troy weapons in check. This should be a classic, don't miss game, so don't miss it.

Also – don't miss Louisville versus Boise State and Miami versus Florida. You can miss the rest if you want. We'll watch most of them so you don't have to.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy New Year. We love our readers even when we don't act like it. Thanks for reading! – Race

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