Derek Johnson, Columnist. Record: 3-2: Said a young Chuck Knox after his team's 0-3-1 start: "I could tell from watching the players at meetings that they were uneasy, too. You could feel it. I thought, I have to put an end to this. If we don't all have the same fine focus, we're never going to see our way out of this mess. So after that day's light workout, I called a team meeting. I gave them what, looking back, was probably the lecture of my life. Probably because it had to be."
Said Merlin Olsen: "I still remember what he (Chuck Knox) said and what it took to say it. He stood in front of the team and shouted, "OK, all of our well-wishers have turned into Doubting Thomases! Outside this locker room there are thousands of Doubting Thomases. The boat is empty; they have taken not only the life preservers but also the oars. Even the rats have deserted us. The only people who will keep us afloat are the ones in this locker room. It's us against them. And we will not let them win. We WILL keep it afloat!"
Coming into town were the cocky Atlanta Falcons. Their coach was Norm Van Brocklin, who earlier in the week had said that he didn't know anything about this new Knox coach, never heard of him. The Rams players were sitting in the locker room before the game when Knox comes charging in, and he is wound very tight. "Look!" he shouts, "this game doesn't need a show at halftime. Let's have it right now, a fistfight! Me against Norm Van Brocklin at the fifty-yard line, man-to-man." The team was stunned. They went out and beat the Falcons 31-0.
Sometimes in life your manhood is challenged. How you respond dictates your destiny. Look for these maligned Huskies to emerge from the tunnel like savage junkyard Dawgs.
Washington 41, UA 7
Andy Poehlman, Columnist. Record: 3-1: I just don't know how to pick this one. My gut tells me that the Huskies will lose, but my head says, 'how could they lose to Arizona at home?' I see more holes in this Husky team than I have since '98 and not enough (at least to pacify me) decisiveness in the leadership about exactly what and where the holes are and how they will be fixed. Can the Huskies win this game? Yes, of course they can. If they outscore UA and stop making critical mistakes. Will they win this game? I just don't know. In deference to my 'told you so-ing' to myself this past week (early in the week I had picked Cal to win to all who would listen, but changed my opinion as I gained more 'perspective'), I have to pick Arizona. I think Bobby Wade and Jason Johnson will pose serious problems to a defense that just cannot stop people from throwing the ball. When they are tested this week, we will find out what this team is made of.
Arizona 38, Washington 27
Joe Kaiser, Columnist: Record: 3-2: Are the Dawgs hungry? Will they finally wake up? I'm not so sure. If there was ever a Pac-10 game where the Huskies could roll this season, this would be it. Washington will work on getting the running game going, but will again abandon the thought by the end of the first quarter. Look for Cody Pickett to go to a more aggressive receiving corps, while the running game again struggles. Arizona and former Rogers High School quarterback Jason Johnson will hurt the hometown Huskies through the air, but it won't be enough. I think this is the game where the UW defensive front finally stops the run. The Huskies win in a hard-fought conference game.
Washington 34, UA 24
Rick Samek, Columnist. Record: 4-1: This was supposed to be a tune-up for next week's biggie in the L.A. Coliseum. Fat chance. Now, it's a fight for survival. Should be interesting to see how the guys in Purple will react to some real pressure. They might even be glad to be getting out of those jerseys next week and into the dress whites.
The vibes I get are that Arizona – injury problems or not – is riding more confidence right now. They've played pretty well up here the past two years, and they'll be trying to grind heels into Washington while they're down – as any team should do. I could be mistaken (yeah, big surprise there), but I just don't sense Washington is as angry or urgent as it needs to be. Maybe they don't know how to get down and dirty when the chips are stacked against. I figured them to be seething after the Michigan loss – instead, we saw as incandescent a first half as you can get against San Jose State. Then there was the second-half sleepwalk through Idaho. Dangerous precedence has been set – the team has been shortcutting it. Now Arizona might be as dinged as a '74 Vega, but they're better than San Jose State or Idaho – and I think they're coming in with the same sort of ‘tude as Cal.
Romar sanctioned, Dollar suspended. Neuheisel gets an eight-month road-recruiting ban. Before last Saturday, Washington last lost to California in 1976 – the same year they last lost two straight home games. Face it, Halloween struck early at Montlake. Heck, if hearing they're going to lose helps gets them ticked off and tracked on, I'll be happy to do my part. So get mad, fellas. Take it out on someone. Much better for the collective psyche that I be the loser here. Besides, I like the view from the lower tier better.
Arizona 30, Washington 27
Dawn Van Diest, Sports Washington. Record: 4-1: What a week for Husky fans … YIKES! We're all sitting on pins and needles wondering how in the world this team will respond. Find a way to smuggle your espresso machine into the stadium and don't forget to pack plenty of extra snacks, as this game could last about five hours or so. Both teams will totally abandon the run, so the only time the clock will actually keep ticking will be on pass completions that stay inbounds and do not pick up a first down.
Washington 34, UA 31
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. Record: 3-2: Last week, the masses sort of chastised the staff for being too pessimistic. Then the Cal game happened. The week that ensued afterwards had the masses being very pessimistic. The last time UW lost back-to-back games in Husky stadium was 1976. Coincidental? In 76, UW lost to Cal then the next week to USC. Could this happen again? Only Arizona is now taking USC's turn? I ask because these are starting to become very real questions.
Personally, I don't think UW loses this week. I hope the players understand that they need to play with intensity though. They played good against Michigan. They displayed the muscle needed in that game. They displayed the desire needed in that game. Now they need to find that attitude again, and bring it each and every week. I think this Arizona game will be somewhat close. Arizona has shown some good D at times. I think turnovers will be the key. Again!
UW 27 UA 21
P.S. 1976 back-to-back factoid courtesy of maxwaugh.com
Henry Han, Intern. Record: 3-2: The Dawgs are still licking their wounds and so am I. Arizona comes into Husky Stadium without their standout TB Clarence Farmer. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised to see Arizona QB Jason Johnson dip into the well that is known as Bobby Wade more often than he should. As we all know, one-dimensional offensive attacks don't get you wins in the Pac-10. Hopefully the Dawgs will establish a ground game this time around to balance the attack. Don't be surprised to see physical play from the Arizona secondary as well. The home win streak will stand at one and the Dawgs will close out this homestand on a positive note when all is said and done.
Prediction: Washington 34, UA 28
Edwin Kim, Intern. Record: 2-1: On Monday, John Mackovic didn't really convince me that his team would be able to rebound from the injury bug. Without Clarence Farmer, Micheal Jolivette, and maybe Lance Briggs, Arizona just isn't any good. Jason Johnson is healthy though. He won't be enough. With freshman Mike Bell trying to carry the rushing load, and the Huskies doing a good job stopping the run, the Wildcats will go to the air against a Husky secondary that looks unorganized right now. Hopefully, the Dawg defense can be up to snuff. UA has only scored 10, 14, and 14 points in its last three games. So it can't be too tough. If they can't win this game...I don't know what I'll do.
For my sanity, UW 34- UA 20
Chris Fetters, Editor. Record: 4-1. This game comes at a good time for the Huskies. They are down and need somebody to beat up on. The Wildcats aren't just going to come into Husky Stadium and play dead, but with Clarence Farmer out and Lance Briggs hurting, it makes John Mackovic's task just that much harder. Washington will need to have some semblance of a running game, and whether that's through the traditional methods or through bubble screens, backside throws and draws are yet to be determined. Rich Alexis should be 100 percent, but Chris Singleton is going to be key. He'll be needed for tough yards and to spell Alexis when Pickett goes back to throw. If he can keep the blitzing linebackers, corners and safeties off Pickett's backside, he's earned his keep. To get back in the Rose Bowl hunt the Huskies need to play smart, consistent, error-free ball. If they can do that, Arizona is in for a world of hurt.
Washington 45 - UA 27
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. Record: 3-2: Will they come out breathing fire or like a cow watching a train go by? I'm talking about the fans, because the Dawgs will come to play with a HUGE chip on their shoulder and Arizona will pay the price. The Wildcats got their tails yanked hard at home by the Ducks and will still be smarting over that one.
Washington 42 - UA 14
David Samek, Publisher. Record: 4-1: I have no idea what this Husky team will do this weekend. Will they be able to run the ball? Probably, because I think Arizona will try to take away the pass like Cal did. They'll bump, mug, grab, joust, and kick the Husky receivers regardless of how many flags they get. Washington will have to prove that they can fight through that crap. Two ways of doing it are to not fall behind (see TURNOVERS) and to hang onto the ball (see RUSHING). Those two things will determine the final score. And it's about time the Huskies quit putting the ball on the damn ground, don't you think? Even if they aren't able to run it well, if they can keep from turning it over, they should win against a team that won't have it's best tailback. Time to get pissed off, Dawgs. Show that killer instinct and take care of the football, everything else will fall into place. The defense isn't as far off as the naysayers believe it is. No, it isn't the 1991 defense, but neither is USC or Oregon State, or any other defense in the past decade, so get over it. All the Husky defense needs to do is come up with a few key stops and get a turnover or two. They are good enough to do that, and if the offense keeps from giving the ball away, this team wins a lot of games. Including this one, the most winnable game left on the schedule.
Washington 31, Arizona 17
To read last week's predictions against California, CLICK HERE.
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