DUCKFIGHTER ILLUSTRATED

In this issue: -Improved Huskies can't hang on against Flyboys - Cal next - Ducks light up Houston - Cougs barely survive Vandals - Trojans enjoy the beach

Full Circle?
Race Bannon

October 5, 2002 is a date that will live in infamy for Husky Football fans. The Neuheisel era was already unraveling in the minds of many after getting killed by Miami, blowing the Holiday Bowl to Texas, and having 12 men on the field to lose the season opener at Michigan. Of course when compared to the last two years, those were salad days.

The Huskies were 3-1 as they welcomed their long time patsies, the California Bears, to Husky Stadium led by new coach Jeff Tedford. The Bears were 3-2 and coming off of a 1-10 season. They had lost 19 straight games to Washington over the previous 26 years. The Huskies were working on a 17 game home winning streak against all comers.

No one was too surprised when Cal opened a big lead. This was routine for this series as a look at the record book will show that many of Washington's biggest comebacks were against Cal in the winning streak. So when Cal led 34-18 in the 4th quarter, most of us were just waiting for the collapse.

Alas, time ran out and Cal still led 34-27, snapping the streak and starting a stunning reversal of fortune that has Cal nationally ranked coming off of two big blowout wins over the Huskies, and the Huskies coming off of a 1-10 season with a new coach at the helm. The silence as Husky Stadium emptied that day spoke volumes. The Huskies lost 3 of their next 4 games only to salvage the season with the now legendary Northwest sweep, led by New York Knicks sensation Nate Robinson.

Cal visits again this Saturday for the third time in four years looking to make it four straight over the hungry and still winless Dawgs. Can we turn it around and restore order to the universe?

Many alert readers may recall our hopeless campaign to steal Tedford from Cal last season. We were quite complimentary of Tedford and heaped praise on him for his masterful job at Cal. We were willing to overlook his unseemly connection to the Bellotti Family in Eugene, even though recent events confirm that he actually ran that family when he was there.

Now he is just Bellotti Spawn and a big time loser to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl who probably cheats and does other not so nice stuff. Hey, we're media and we can tear him down if we want. It's what we do. Just be happy we aren't going after you.

The new look Huskies earned praise from this skeptical scribe as they looked well prepared and into the opener against Air Force Saturday last. Ty Willingham delivered a disciplined team as promised that did most everything right for 50 minutes, only to get hit by an 85 yard MOAB that swung Big Mo to Air Force as the Huskies snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Isaiah Stanback showed why this magazine has been correct in calling for him to be the starter. Tim Lappano has worked wonders with the budding star, and IS delivered an impressive debut to the 05 season. Louis Rankin showed a good burst at running back and the wide outs did a great job of catching the ball with one glaring and fatal exception.

The defense was not as impressive, but mainly due to missing players. This is not a deep team.

It is a team that needs a victory bad. A victory over a Cal team that shockingly has a problem at quarterback. Look for Tedford to have that fixed up this week. My heart really wants to pick the Dawgs to win this game, but my head says our depleted defense will be our downfall. Look for Bizzarro World to continue as the Huskies jump out early to a lead they just can't hang onto down the stretch. Cal now expects to win, while we still hope to. Give Ty time and he'll change the culture back to where we need it to be. And go out and support the local eleven for goodness sakes. These guys have earned your support.

Prediction: Cal – 27, UW – 20
Just another day at the beach for Troy
Troy "Cubby" Wadsworth III

Another game, another 60 point blowout. Ho hum. America's Finest Team, the USC Trojans, destroyed Hawaii 63-17. As if that is any kind of a surprise.

Exhausted from the trip, the Trojans now take a week off to get ready for a visit from Arkansas on September 17. The main challenge for Pete Carroll is to keep his squad interested in the college season as they work towards the NFL Combine.

In other, minor LA news, the UCLA Bruins bashed San Diego State as Maurice Drew showed he can gash other defenses besides the Huskies.

I guess it is nice to see someone from the Pac 10 uphold the honor against the Mountain West and WAC conferences. And of course it is the LA schools. Next up for the Bruins is a bowl of Rice.

Prediction: Bruins – 38, Owls – 8
Ducks quacking proud
Mallard N. Moore

The new look Duck offense was as advertised as Oregon rolled over Houston 38-24. Head coach Mike Bellotti was angry at those who insist on calling his cornerbacks burnt toast.

"Sure Houston got a couple of long bombs against us, but we were in position to make the play. It certainly isn't coaching, if that's what you're getting at," fumed Bellotti as he wondered if he would have to fire his old friend Nick Alliotti to save his job this season. "I thought our offense looked great and am really pleased that I was smart enough to hire Gary Crowton to run it. And I have a lot of input into that offense." Bellotti added as he remembered that Tedford was getting too much credit for the Duck's brief fling with glory years ago.

Snoop Stewart made his college debut and was impressive on a 4th quarter run that made all the highlight reels. His attorney was unavailable for comment on the lack of 25 carries in the game.

Kelly "how do you like me now" Clemmons showed a good knack for the offense, but one must hope that his insurance is paid up as this offense takes killing your quarterback to new levels of absurdity.

Next up is a big challenge from Montana at not so recently anymore remodeled Autzen Arena. Sponsored by Hostess Cupcakes.

Prediction: UO – 56, UM – 20
Other Pac News: - Idaho shocked WSU by punching them squarely in the mouth before falling to the wimpy Cougars…next up for WSU is Nevada…..ooooh…..ASU crushed Temple….Utah hung on to beat Arizona….Cal struggled with Sacramento State and lost a QB for the season…Oregon State beat PSU and steps up in class to host Boise State…the Broncs are reeling from the night their lights went out in Georgia….look for the Beavers to get revenge for last years trip to the blue turf woodshed

Around the Nation: - TCU shocked Oklahoma at Norman…some of us wanted OU to wait until next year to lose at home to a big non conference under dog…tough weekend for coaches named Stoops…Louisville held on to beat Rich Brook's Kentucky eleven…Marcus "not Mike" Vick won his debut for Virginia Tech at NC State…Jabba the Hut Hut has restored the glory once again at Notre Dame…I've got a book written on the last coach there after HIS first season….Will Weiss get published?…Dave Wandstedt showed he can look dazed and confused on a NFL or College sideline as Pitt laid down early and often against the Irish….Joe Glenn led his Wyoming team to Urban Meyer's Florida and lost close…The Ol' Ball coach won his South Carolina debut…for those of you who doubted Superior, have you ever seen so much coverage of South Carolina in your life?. Steve has the top prospects calling him…Georgia Tech broke Auburn's long win streak…Big Game this weekend – Young Vince Young and Texas travel to the Horseshoe to meet Ohio State…don't miss that one…say a prayer for the Gulf Coast.

Thanks for reading! – Race

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