It Can Happen

Becoming better than you are is a process, not just a decision. That is why the University of Washington's Husky football team can go 7-6 this season and earn a bowl bid.

I understand that the Huskies are now 2-2 on the year. With 5 more wins in the remaining 9 games, Washington would finish the year at 7-6.

Where will those 5 victories come from? Perhaps Arizona and Washington State at home and Stanford, Oregon State and Hawaii on the road.

That means they could afford to lose to No. 1 Southern California at home, No. 6 California at home, No. 11 Oregon at home and No. 23 Arizona State away.

Should all 4 of these teams continue to win they will be favored to win against the Huskies. If not, then why are the Huskies not rated in the AP Top 25 Poll?

All great accomplishments start with desire but it takes more than desire to win. Getting to the top is not so much about having the will to win—everyone wants to win—but having the will to prepare to win.

Preparation is everything that will is not. Having the will to win is a want, but preparing to win is a need. What is opportunity without preparedness? Nothing but an opportunity wasted.

It is only when preparedness meets opportunity head on that an explosion happens and something exciting takes place.

Having said that, even all of the preparedness in the world will not produce victory without belief.

At any given place on any given day at any given time, something magical can happen. It is called "belief". Do you really think that the AA Appalachian State players could have beaten the mighty Michigan football program and its team 34-32 in the Big House in Ann Arbor without actually believing they could?

I understand the 3rd quarter collapse of the Washington players on the road against the UCLA Bruins as the Huskies eventually lost 44-31. Washington going into the game had lost its last 5 road games at UCLA after winning 38-14 in 1995, 12 years ago.

The Huskies have also apparently lost 28 consecutive games when scoring 20 points or fewer. They scored 31 points at UCLA and still lost. They were on the road and UCLA was favored to win at home.

With the score tied at halftime 10-10, freshmanitis struck again as the Huskies were held scoreless in the 3rd quarter as UCLA added a couple of touchdowns on an 8-yard run and a 60-yard interception return to give the Bruins a 24-10 lead they would not relinquish.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker threw the errant pass. When the sideline camera panned on Locker, he looked like a torque converter about to explode; he was upset at himself to say the least. In the 4th quarter Locker and Huskies outscored the Bruins 21-17.

Locker completed 14 of 36 passes for 216 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also ran for 92 yards on 15 carries (6.1 yards a crack).

Senior wide receiver Anthony Russo got his game going with 5 catches for 106 yards with 20-yard and 63-yard receptions for touchdowns.

Freshman Matt Mosley started at cornerback for freshman Vonzell McDowell Jr. who had been burned on some long, scoring passes. Mosley gave up a TD reception to UCLA's Dominique Johnson on an alley-oop pass. Mosley is 5-foot-11 and Johnson is 6-foot-3. McDowell is 5-foot-9 - maybe.

The porous Husky defense gave up some big plays. Johnson's scoring catch was preceded by a 57-yard reverse pass play that fooled the Washington secondary. Bruin tailback Chris Markey chalked up a 72-yard scoring run enroute to 192 yards rushing that included another 66-yard scamper.

After Washington cut the lead to 31-24 on Russo's 63-yard TD catch from Locker, UCLA's Matthew Slater returned the following kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown which all but took the immediate momentum right back out of the Huskies.

Nonetheless, the Huskies never quit as Locker found senior wide receiver Corey Williams for an 11-yard touchdown.

Here is poem for Washington fans to remember as the young Huskies mature:

Freshmanitis will rear its ugly head,
It may be a few more weeks before its dead.

Saturday Washington plays host to the No. 1 USC Trojans. USC is favored by 21 points. Can the Huskies win? Certainly, if they score early, get a lucky turnover or two and manage to be consistent if not great for 60 minutes. Remember, the Huskies are at home.

Here are 10 important facts to remember going into Saturday's game:

1) According to this week's Sagarin College Football Ratings, USC is No. 1 and Washington is No. 36, but did you know that the Huskies rank No. 1 with the toughest schedule among the 242 Division 1 schools in the nation? That means that thus far, the Huskies have had the toughest schedule of any team in the country.

2) Washington led at the half 14-6 on the road at Syracuse before winning 42-12.

3) Washington led at the half 24-10 at home against then No. 22 Boise State before winning 24-10 (neither team scored in the second half, in other words, the Huskies held Boise State in check).

4) Washington led at the half 7-3 at home against then No. 10 Ohio State before losing 33-14.

5) Washington was tied at the half 10-10 on the road at UCLA before losing 44-31.

6) Can Washington's offense get started quickly? Yes.

7) USC went 10-2 last year. The Trojans at home only beat the Huskies by 6 last year, 26-20, and USC lost twice on the road, 33-31 at Oregon State and 13-9 at UCLA. Yes, USC is big, bad and No. 1; they also lose every now and then.

8) The Huskies are at home and may well host USC in front of 75,000+ screaming fans. Washington will be a better team this week than last week. Locker showed last week the first real signs of getting somewhat in control of his awesome, cannon arm.

9) Stranger things have happened than USC losing. Like Michigan losing to AA Appalachian State.

10) Washington does not need to win Saturday; the Huskies just need to get better. Beating Arizona, Stanford, Oregon State, Hawaii and Washington State will be easier. Despite its enthusiasm, Washington State does not have the talent of USC, maybe LSU does.

USC may have more talent than Washington, but the Huskies are for real. USC will find that out Saturday when they come calling.

Note: Read more of Ed Bagley's articles at Ed Bagley's Blog
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley Top Stories