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Meet the Nation’s Most Statistically Incredible Team – The University of Washington Huskies
University of Washington football fans got a treat on Saturday (13/10/2007) when the Arizona Sun Devils rolled into Seattle and extended their winning streak to 7 with a 44-20 second half victory. The Sun Devils outscored Washington 21-0 in the third quarter and 31-3 in the second, and that’s a good thing because if the game had ended at halftime, Washington would have won 17-13.
Therein lies the challenge for the young, inexperienced Washington Huskies: They played a terrible 3rd quarter and have yet to learn how to win.
These statistics wouldn’t mean much if you didn’t know that:
Washington led then-10th-ranked Ohio State 7-3 at halftime and lost 33-14 in Game 3. It was tied with then-27th-ranked UCLA at 10-10 at halftime and lost 44-31 in its Game 4.
Washington led then-No. 1 Southern Cal 17-14 at halftime and lost 27-24 in Game 5. They led then 12th ranked Arizona State 17-13 at halftime and lost 44-20 in their 6th game.
You better believe Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson was more than sweating bullets after watching redshirt freshman running back Jake Locker run in a 32-yard run with 4:11 left in the first half to give Washington a 17-13 lead .
Do Huskies fans realize that if each of these games ended at halftime, Washington’s record would be 5-0-1, not 2-4? Washington would have an undefeated record after beating Syracuse 42-12 on the road and blowing out then-22nd-ranked Boise State 24-10 in the first two games.
Please don’t be the second (as sometimes moronic) and remind me that the game lasts 60 minutes and only the final score counts. To do that would be to ignore what I’m trying to say. You could honestly say the Huskies were tripping over themselves as they came out of the locker room to start the second half of their last 4 games.
Why this is happening, coach Ty Willingham does not know. It was quoted in Tacoma News Tribune (issue 10-14-07) saying, “Obviously it’s hard to talk about because I don’t have a solution for it.”
Willingham, a man of hitherto impeccable standards and integrity, is also honest. Less than 1% of all college football coaches would not publicly echo Willingham’s confession.
One thing’s for sure: Whatever Willingham and members of his coaching staff say or don’t say to the Huskies at halftime, it’s not working like crap and needs to be changed.
Don’t tell me that the same Huskies players who might play with their heads and enthusiasm in the first half are going brainless in the second half. I’d love to be a bee on the wall in Washington’s locker room at halftime and see what-if any barbed comments are made. As a certified Monday morning quarterback and coach, these would be the first words I spoke at halftime during the Arizona State game:
“Let me be the first to congratulate you on a phenomenal first half.” Arizona State made some mistakes in the first half and so did we, but at halftime you lead the undefeated and #12 ranked team in the country, 17-13.
“Some would say the Sun Devils have more talent on their team than us, but we lead at halftime, 17-13.”
“Others would say the Sun Devils have an undefeated record and our record is 2-3, but we lead at halftime, 17-13.”
“And others would say the Sun Devils are ranked No. 12 in the country and since we’re not ranked in the Top 25, they’re going to win this game, but we’re up 17-13 at halftime.”
“Now we will quickly give everyone a piece of paper and a pen, and by secret ballot I want you to quickly write down which player you think is the leader of this team.”
After the ballots are immediately collected and Jake Locker’s name is on every or nearly every ballot, I would say this:
“Jake, you may be a redshirt freshman, but your teammates believe you are the leader of the Washington Huskies football team.
“I want you, Jake, to stand up right now and tell the coaching staff and your teammates why we can win the second half of this game, how we’re going to do it and what it takes to do it.”
Then, as the head coach, I would sit down, be quiet and listen. After Jake finishes what he said, I would ask any other player who was voted as a team leader to stand up and do the same thing.
Let the players convince themselves and believe that they can do in the second half what they did in the first half: outplay the opponent. Do that and Washington will upset its opponent.
Why is Washington the nation’s most amazing team statistically?
1) The Huskies are rated as the no. 41 in Sagarin rating.
2) Their current record is 2-4.
3) They are rated No. 1 because they have played – for the 4th straight week – the toughest schedule among all 242 teams in Division IA and 1-AA.
4) There is not another team in Sagarin’s top 40 rated teams with less than 4 wins.
5) The next highest rated Sagarin team with only 2 wins is no. 60 North Carolina 2-5.
6) The Huskies, as Sagarin’s 41st-ranked team in the nation, are ahead of No. 42 Alabama (5-2), No. 44 Wisconsin (5-2 and ranked No. 5 in the AP poll just two weeks ago), No. 46 Louisville (4-3), no. 48 Texas A&M (5-2), no. 51 Air Force (5-2) and the no. 52 Indiana (5-2). Not too corny, as the former opera man (Adam Sandler) would say on Saturday Night Live.
7) The highest-ranked team with the same 2-4 record as Washington is Stanford at No. 68. Stanford played the 4th toughest schedule in the country.
8) North Carolina, which is 2-5, is rated 60. The Tar Heels played the third-toughest schedule during Week 7 in college football.
I know, now you’re wondering who played the 2nd hardest schedule. That’s 1-6 Notre Dame. I expect the Huskies to lose to Oregon (hopefully not 53-7 like cross-state rival Washington) and California. I predicted that two weeks ago on October 3rd.
I also predicted on October 3rd that Washington would beat (in order) Arizona, Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State and Hawaii to finish the year at 7-6. Hang in there, Huskies fans, the best is yet to come.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
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