Monday, September 7, 2009
Washington, Washington State: If not now, when?
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Is this the weekend that both Washington and Washington State break through?
Should be. But you never know.
Washington is riding a 15-game losing streak -- the nation's longest -- after playing a surprisingly competitive game with LSU. Idaho, picked to finish near the bottom of the WAC, comes next to Husky Stadium on Saturday.
Washington State went 2-11 last year, its only wins coming against FCS program Portland State and, yes, the Huskies. The Cougars, who showed some flickers of hope in a 39-13 home loss to Stanford, will square off with Hawaii in Seattle's Qwest Field on Saturday. The Warriors were picked to finish in the bottom half of the WAC.
The Pac-10, with Oregon's loss at Boise State, is already 1-1 against the WAC, by the way. [Edit note: As some noticed, I forgot about USC's victory over San Jose State -- even though, duh, I was there].
Washington State lost 24-10 at Hawaii last year. The Warriors needed a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Central Arkansas -- an FCS team -- 25-20 in their opener.
Idaho, which beat New Mexico State 21-6 on Saturday, is the team the Huskies didn't have on the 2008 schedule -- a patsy.
Washington is a 20 1/2-point favorite.
Washington State is a 2-point underdog. Hmm. (I wouldn't be shocked to see that one swing around).
The Cougars play host to SMU the following weekend. That likely will be the only other time the Cougs won't be big underdogs this season.
If the Huskies take the Vandals lightly and get embarrassed at home, then all the goodwill inspired by the strong showing against the Tigers goes poof.
If the Cougars are going to inject any momentum into the season and convince their fans the program is on an uptick, they need to win.
Therefore, it's fair to say both games are must wins.