<b>IN THIS ISSUE:</b><ul> <li>Huskies Begin Climb Back To Top</li> <li>Ducks Hope To Prove It Wasn't A Fluke</li> <li>Cougars Bring In Dr. Heimlich, Assume Favorites Role</li> <li>Beavers Quietly Lurking, Looking For Respect</li></ul>

Montlake Monsters Loaded and Ready
Race Bannon

Nestled along the shores of Lake Washington, in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, sits Husky Stadium. It is home to the Monsters of Montlake, a gang of toughs legendary for the fear and loathing they leave in their wake of destruction.

The old bowl has been busied this August, as the Huskies returned to Seattle for pre season camp for the first time in three years. Hot weather helped the boys prepare for an opener in the steaming Midwest. Head Coach Rick Neuheisel has worked his charges hard, as no one wants a repeat of the four-losses from last season.

The defense continued its improved performance that first showed up in the spring. Jobs are being won, not handed out, and competition is picking up at all positions. Joseph Lobendahn has passed every test, and awaits final exams at Ann Arbor, August 31. A different, meaner, more aggressive attitude has been spotted, giving hope to Husky fans that long for another Purple Reign or Purple Haze defense.

On offense, All World Reggie – Reggie – Reggie Williams will lead the Purple and Gold onto the turf of Michigan Stadium. Reggie has a lot of help from the likes of Paul Arnold, Eddie Jackson, Pat Reddick, and Wilbur Hooks. Cody Pickett, the gunslinger from the badlands of Idaho is fully healed and ready to blossom and continue his assault on the Husky record book. The offensive line is ready to pay back the hard lessons they learned last year. Newcomer Kenny James is pushing Rich Alexis to regain his freshman All America form. Due to a request from the Top Dawg, we did not interview Charles Fredrick for this issue, and we won't tell you how other worldly ET has looked.

The Dawgs will run head on into the angry, revenge-minded Wolverines of Michigan. Defense is the strength of the Maize and Blue, and they'll give the Huskies all that they can handle. Quarterback is a concern for the boys from Ann Arbor, and that just might be the edge that the Husky defense needs to get their feet wet with a win.

110,000 Michigan faithful hope to sway the tide to the home 11, but we think the road woes of the Dawgs will be swept back to last year where they can be buried. Reggie Williams catches a 70-yard Hail Mary from Cody, and the Dawgs win.

Prediction: UW – 30, UM – 26
Proud Ducks Enjoy Status As Masters Of The Universe
Mallard N. Moore

(Editors Note: Mallard N. Moore, who graduated first in his class at the University of Oregon School of Journalism, has joined us for another year of coverage of Duck Football. Mallard, who works for free and is glad to have this job, spent the summer helping the Duck coaches polish their letter writing skills.)

Head Coach Mike Bellotti, the Pac 10's most successful coach over the past six years of even numbered Saturdays, not counting tough opponents, is anxious to defend his first conference championship in seven long years of trying. "Complacency is not an option for us", explained the Great One. "We have to continue to do the things that have brought us to the pinnacle of second place in the country. That means recruit hard, but not pester anyone to come here, and not worry about measuring ourselves against Washington, which only (Oregon AD Bill) Moos ever did anyway."

Moos is enthused about the opening of the newly remodeled Autzen Arena. The Ducks expect an overflow crowd of 54,000 fans to the expanded stadium, which has gone from 8th in the conference for capacity to 8th in the conference for capacity. Moos has pledged to personally oversee the video board entertainment this year, and promises that a steady diet of Kenny Wheaton on the agenda, even though the Ducks are way beyond that now.

On the field, now that housing arrangements have been made for all the players left on the squad, the Ducks appear to be loaded again at running back, with Onterrio Smith poised for a 2,000-yard season now, that he doesn't have to share with the graduated Mo Morris.

Schoolyard Legend, Jason Fife, will either make the fans forget all about Joey Harrington or start calling for Kellen Clemmons. Keenan Howry will be a marked man among the receiving corps, but should have a special senior season. The defense will be awesome, with 11 Steve Emtmans lined up to destroy all offenses.

The Huskies come to Autzen for the 14th straight year this November, but first there are some lightweights to deal with, as the Ducks play all 12 games at home, for the 15th straight year. There is some concern that Moos slipped up in bringing in a Mississippi State team that was 3-8 last year, (picked to finish last in their league), but they are still of much higher caliber than Willamette, the powerhouses from Salem, Oregon. Willamette had a debate match that conflicted with their schedule so the Ducks settled on the Bulldogs. And Fresno State? But that's fear talking, and the Ducks know no fear, only victory and years, well at least two years of success.

Mallard's Prediction: UO – 42, MSU – 10
(Editors note: Mississippi State – 23, UO – 20)
Erickson quietly builds a contender
Bustah Cap, Beaver Fan

It has been a quiet off-season for Coach Erickson and the Beavers. The irony is not lost in Corvallis, as Erickson is often alleged to be an outlaw, but received no sanctions, and no investigators are currently scheduled to appear on campus. Instead, the Beavers have spent their time plotting a return to glory.

Offensive woes may derail the Orange Express, but their defense will win them a lot of games this season. Dennis Weathersby anchors the secondary, and super sophomore Stephen Jackson is the stud on offense, from his tailback position. The Beavs need to find a quarterback, and they can contend.

Only a trip to Seattle looms as a tough game to win, so a repeat of the 11-1 record of just two years ago is not out of the question.

The Beavers open up with a grudge match against Eastern Kentucky, who plays 4A high school ball, we think. This should be a good tune up for the Mighty Beavermobile.

Prediction: OSU – 13, EKU – 0
Space limitations do not allow us to run the story of the Washington State Cougar opener. We regret this deeply, and promise to try harder next time to bring you in depth coverage of the Cougs' quest for back to back winning seasons for the first time since US Grant was President. For more details, look for a poster on a silo in White Center.

Prediction: WSU – 45, Nevada – 24
And Finally: Dirk Koetter has brought the "Bellotti Method" to Tempe as the Sun Devils welcome Eastern Washington to town . . . USC is in tough against SEC toughie, Auburn. We think the Troy Boys will win one for the Pac . . . Stanford and UCLA don't play, so should remain unbeaten . . . ASU does play Nebraska, shortly after this article goes to the printer . . . Cal, with anther Bellotti spawn at the helm, could double last years win total - they open with Baylor . . . We are so glad that football season is here, go ahead and strike you bastards!

Thanks to all our Readers – and look for an award-wining article in the September issue of Sports Washington, and I have one in there too. If you haven't subscribed, why not? Go Dawgs!
Race Bannon can be reached at Top Stories