Dawgman.com Predictions - Week 1

Let the 2005 season begin! The Dawgs open with a strange road game, to be played in Seattle, against the Air Force Academy. The Falcons have owned the Dawgs in recent years. Can the Dawgs turn the tables on the best service academy team in America? Here is what our crack staff thinks.

Rick Samek, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

We contributors were empowered with a request from our esteemed publisher; To offer a 1-2 paragraph explanation of our thoughts - presumably of the game - and to not make them too wordy. So I thought about this request, and have concluded that I have absolutely NO explanation for any thoughts I may have. They are just there, fleeting about like bricks with wings, and there's nothing I can do about them.

Suuuuuure, it can happen "overnight" (sleight-of-hand doesn't count, so no further mention will be made of Lou Holtz). In 1999, June Jones took a 0-12 Hawaii Rainbow team and turned it into an 8-4 team the following season. In 2002, Jeff Tedford took a 1-10 Cal team to 7-5 in 12 months. We'd all like to see a similar epiphany here. But as for me, I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of 3-8 unless a LOT of things go right (hey, that's a three-fold improvement, isn't it?)

Prediction: Air Force 30, Washington 16
David Samek, Publisher. Record: 0-0.

Last year is in the can. Hopefully somebody flushed it. Enter Tyrone Willingham, a new staff, a new starting quarterback, and new schemes on both offense and defense. Those are all good things in my book. Can this defense stop an option attack? I believe it can, because Kent Baer saw some of that at Notre Dame.

With Isaiah Stanback at the helm, the Air Force defense will have another element to defend. How they contain him will be interesting, and could very well open up other avenues like the short pass and counter plays. Will the Husky offense be up to this, and will Isaiah make the correct decisions with the bullets live? He'll make some mistakes, but the Dawgs will prevail in an ugly opener.

Prediction: UW 17, Air Force 9
Max Waugh, Photo/Cartoon journalist. Record: 0-0.

I shudder at the idea of facing the option in the first game under a new coaching staff. The good news, I suppose, is that these coaches have seen it --and been successful again it-- in the past. I can't wait to hear the thumping of pads echo through an empty stadium as our guys lay some wood on the Falcons. Hopefully, we won't be hearing too much muttering about quarterback play echoing throughout the stadium as well...

It's the first game! Optimism reigns supreme!!

Prediction: UW 17, Air Force 13
Derek Johnson, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

The other day, I emailed a good friend of mine from another Pac-10 school and told him that it is going feel so good to see the Huskies run onto the field this Saturday. It is a new start, I said. He replied: "My how things have changed… I remember when you used to look forward to seeing the Huskies kick some ass; now it is simply enough for you to see them run onto the field."

Despite the anemic ticket sales, there will be a festive, bowl game-like atmosphere at Qwest Field. Isaiah Stanback is the X-Factor. If he can limit himself to 2 turnovers, then the Huskies will provide Tyrone Willingham with a memorable season opener. I am only certain of three things; Rankin runs for 100+ yards against Air Force, Willingham wins Pac-10 coach of the year in 2005, and Willingham will be on the hot seat in 2008.

Prediction: Washington 27, Air Force 20
Chris Fetters, Editor. Record: 0-0.

With all the positive vibes coming out of Montlake lately, it's hard not to jump back on the bandwagon with both feet, especially when you consider the last team Tyrone Willingham coached - Notre Dame - won their first eight right out of the gate in his inaugural season. The scenario seems a little too dreamy, and I suspect it is, at least for this first game. AFA has had their way with Washington the two times they have played them and while I believe the Huskies will give great effort, the Falcons have a system that no team coming off a 1-10 season wants to face from the get-go - even with the extra time to prepare.

Prediction: Air Force 31, Washington 17
Race Bannon, Columnist. Record: 0-0.

Race's predictions each week, as well as his wacky satirical outlook on the rest of the college football world, can be found in his weekly column aired exclusively here on Dawgman.com:

CLICK HERE: Duckfighter Illustrated

Prediction: Washington 24, Air Force 20
Joe Kaiser, Intern Emeritus. Record: 0-0.

Washington will fall behind in the early going as the Husky defense tries to adapt to Air Force's deceptive offensive attack. Then, methodically, Washington will regain control by pounding the ball on the ground with Louis Rankin, James Sims and Isaiah Stanback. Look for the experienced Husky defense to figure things out by halftime and limit the Falcons from that point forward. It won't be easy, but the Dawgs will send Tyrone home happy in his Washington debut.

Prediction: Washington 24, Air Force 17
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. Record: 0-0.

Sometimes football games come down to who really wants it more. The Dawgs have been through a lot the past few years and after last years debacle, Coach Willingham has instilled a confidence and desire in these guys that will prove to be the difference. Take the Dawgs in a close one.

Prediction: Washington 24, Air Force 21
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. Record: 6-4.

Oh boy first week predictions. Like I might know something more than the rest of us. I will tell you what I believe UW will do. Try to play a field position game. I don't think Stanback will be asked to do too much. I think the staff will have this team running the ball a lot, and hope our punter gets off good kicks to keep Air Force deep in their territory. Then Ty will rely on a pretty good defense to bend, but not break keeping Air Force out of the end zone. This team this year needs to see UW's offense on the field more than last year - way more. Here is hoping for a turnover free game by the DAWGs.

Prediction: Washington 24, Air Force 20
Scott Eklund, New kid on the block. Record: 0-0.

Husky head coach Tyrone Willingham and defensive coordinator Kent Baer are very familiar with the option from their days at Notre Dame and Stanford. This team is primed and ready to do some butt-kicking. The key will be how they contain the Falcons' option attack and whether the defenders are disciplined in their assignments. On offense, QB Isaiah Stanback and the offensive line are the keys. If the Huskies can get four to six yards on first down, the Dawgs could be running down hill all day. Stanback must stay away from turnovers, something I trust that the coaching staff has drilled into his skull. Look for the Dawgs to start the Willingham era off with an inspired effort and a win.

Prediction: Washington 27, Air Force 17
Dick Baird, Columnist. Record: 0-0

Washington's defense is going to set up the first score of the game. You watch, this defense of Kent Baer's is going to surprise, and please you. On offense, Isaiah Stanback will loosen up the Falcon defense by running for a score, and that will open the floodgates for young Louis Rankin. I predict Rankin goes for 185 in his debut as a Husky and the Dawgs roll in their opener at Qwest field.

Prediction: Washington 24, Air Force 17

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