Phil Caldwell

Sports Blogging With a Grin

Posts Tagged ‘Washington Huskies

Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners May End Up On Outside Looking In

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Originally published September 21, 2011

All month college football fans have been tantalized by the prospect of two arrogant and yet hated college football programs potentially ruining their conference. Rolled eyes have accompanies all these rumors of recent meetings and scary goings-on behind closed doors and oil wells.

Texas and Oklahoma. Sort of the Ma and Pa of college football in a creepy inbred sort of way.

Storied programs? Yes, but perhaps not made of the fabric we out west would like to see in our snooty football league.

Letting these two join the Pac-12 would be like building a chicken-roamed trailer park square in the middle of Beverly Hills. Who wants this riff-raff in our neighborhood?

Two misinformed, yet self-righteous programs under the illusion that the rest of the country is dying to have them join. Just like an unwanted party guest who shows up with a drunken siliconed-induced fake-blond on his arm, even though his invitation was “lost in the mail.”

First of all, there’s the Texas Longhorns. Nobody cares nearly as much about the Texas Longhorns as the Texas Longhorns care about the Texas Longhorns.

Stadiums full of unruly fans showing up in ripped shorts and cowboy boots, grazing fries and duds on their 20 foot grills midst a hootnanny of down-South country music. Kick up the crap y’all, here comes painted-on jeans and tattooed loose women. Yeeehaw!!

This is a program with its own television network, gotten from backstabbing the Big 12 a mere 18 months ago during another edge-of-your-seat yet disturbingly similar potential Big 12 breakup caused entirely by—ahem—the Texas Longhorns.

The regents of the University of Texas used the insecure league to wrest control of full TV monies, similar to the Notre Dame deal with NBC, with the one exception being that people across the nation actually care about Notre Dame.

But the Texas Longhorns in Florida or Portland?

Not so much, unless you count replanted uncie and auntie’s lawn party of similar decrepit Longhorn fans throwing eggs at the neighbors and puking on your nicely kept lawns.
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And then there’s the Oklahoma Sooners. Fans in these parts fondly remember Oklahoma for their idiot fans parading a horse-drawn wagon onto the field in the 1984 Orange Bowl, or the big Brian Bosworth scandal in which Bosworth bilked the Seahawks out of $11 million soon before being steam-rolled by Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell.
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But Oklahoma in Seattle? I don’t think so.
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We still haven’t forgiven this cow-infested area for ripping off the Sonics in typical flat-topped fashion of deceit and lies, so you really think we’re about to cave in on the sanctity of the beloved Pac-12 for this group of paid amateur athletes?
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No we’re just fine with the way things are, and being as we just allowed the admission of two other storied yet un-kosher programs into this league with far more class, you really think we need all the gun racks and flat-red GMC pickups in these parts?

That’s why we have the Oregon Ducks, to serve those uncouth yet rare needs for the uneducated and stupid.

Nope, if it were up to me, I’d pass on the dusty tornado division where showered women are as rare as Texas rainstorms in July, and opt instead for local programs that continually screw up the BCS Bowl picture in December.

How about the bucking Broncos of Boise State, along with someone like the Hawaii Warriors as potential members for a new super Pac 16 conference? Oh sure, Boise would have to lose that cornea-searing blue field they’re so proud about, but you’d think they’d be willing to trade up for big-time tradition.

And Hawaii? Are you kidding me? How many of us would rather hit the beaches of Waikiki on a road trip than the dusty Motel Six located across the interstate from local tractor bone yards? Who cares a

bout the money these programs would bring? I’m talking vacations during November.

Sand. Long honey-blond hair over firm and tanned bodies. Surfer-dudes with surfer-chicks on big curling waves. Sounds a bit more appealing than aging wind-leathered motorcycle mamas with grizzled skin and hairy pits.

For that matter, Oklahoma State and all the other Texas programs need not show up either. I’d much rather have San Diego State and/or BYU in the Pac-12. There is no comparison for road trips in San Diego vs road trips in Texas.

After all, the Pac in the Pac-12 stands for “Pacific,” as in “Pacific Ocean.”

Nope, y’all schools back there in Hicksville need to either work things out with the Big 12, or start your own league of saw-toothed students and Hooters-employed cheerleaders. Out west we do things a bit differently and we don’t need all the Texas arrogance riding in here like a posse on steroids.

You too Oklahoma. Take it elsewhere. You’ve already burned your bridges out here in the west with that last NBA dog and pony show that we’re still ticked off about!

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Read more from the same author:

Auburn vs Oregon: Cockroaches and Flying Insects Killed from ESPN’s pregame coverage!

or

Boise State vs Utah in Las Vegas: Broncols Defeat Utes for Absolutely No Reason

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Washington Husky Fans Shouldn’t Be Disappointed Over Loss to Oregon Ducks

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Relax Husky fans!  Before you go jumping off the nearest bridge, think about how far this program has come in three short years!

Last year the Ducks put up 53 points to the paltry 16 the Huskies could manage.  A mere year later the Huskies could have, and probably should have, won the last game ever played at beloved Husky Stadium before the big renovation.

Had Keith Price not generously donated the ball to undeserving Duck cornerbacks, not once but twice, the Huskies could have left the field at halftime enjoying a two touchdown lead instead suffering the same at the hands of Oregon, bequeathed 14 easy points by driving a total of half a football field.

Washington completely out-played and out-classed Oregon in the first half, amassing 11 first downs to Oregon’s 6, with twice as many offensive plays.  What the stats could not show was a far more hungry squad of Husky upstarts, jacked up by the presence of the eyes of the undefeated national champ team of two decades earlier.

But in spite of the play inequity, the total yards were nearly equal.  Precisely the problem when playing the high-energy Ducks, especially when they donned the old Oakland Raider uniforms with the only school color being an out-of-place green “O” on silver helmets.

In the third quarter Oregon did what Oregon always seems to do.  They came out on the opening drive with quick sideline strikes of 15 to 20 yards using both sidelines, stretching the defense and setting it up for what would come next.  By the time the harried and panting Huskies caught their breath,  Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James were suddenly shooting up the center of the field with five straight healthy gains,  ended only by a nice juicy TD on 12 plays that consumed barely two and half minutes.

What had been a game the Huskies should have been winning, was suddenly 24-10 with a potential blowout looming.

But the Huskies didn’t pout.  They came screaming right back up the field with their own quick 9 play drive, to answer with their own impressive touchdown.  Keith Price threw a lofter on the left side of the end zone to five-star recruit Kaysen-Williams, for a Husky TD to bring it back to 24-17.

Williams, the all-world freshman recruited heavily by every team on the planet only last year, made the prettiest catch of the night and perhaps in his brief Husky career, stretching high to snag the pass with his big toes barely skimming the surface before they hit the sidelines.

Chris Polk was no slouch either, running up the middle from the shotgun formation on four straight draws with healthy gains on all but one.  Oregon suddenly looked like deer’s in headlights, with zero defensive answers, especially when the suddenly resurgent sold out Husky crowd of over 72,000 were going nuts and creating noise mayhem.

All week long there had been festivities and hoopala for what would be the last game ever played at Husky Stadium, where past greats had dwelled on Saturday afternoons since 1920.  In fact a full team of Husky greats were in the stands, intimidating both teams with the same glaring eyes that had mutilated every single opponent on the way to a national championship two decades prior.

Back when the current Dawgs were still urping up Mommy’s milk in their high chairs, these middle-aged guys with paunches and thinning hair had been wreaking havoc across the land, scoffing at east coast insistence that the also undefeated Miami Hurricanes would have had any chance of staying with them on the field.  But they never got the chance to prove it, since this was long before the BCS system of placing undefeated teams in bowl games.

And yet back to the future, the Huskies were having a hard time understanding how the Ducks could have a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter, given how silly UW was making them look.  But this is what the Ducks do to opponents, lead when they’re being dominated.

Keith Price missing receivers by sailing passes 10 yard over their heads did not help.  Passes with open receivers that looked to be sure touchdowns, ended up going the other way twice in the first half, and Price ran for his life in the onslaught of much quicker Duck defensive lineman.

Following the first Price debacle, Oregon needed just three plays to take the lead, starting from the Washington 38, which ended when LaMichael James scampered up the left side 18 yards for a disturbingly easy touchdown.

A quarter later it only took four plays starting at the UW 34, after Price duplicated his first quarter error in exactly the same way, lofting the ball high over the head of a bedaffled Jerome Kearse and into the hands of a by-himself Eddie Pleasant standing on Duck 17 yard line, which he promptly returned 49 yards.

Oregon didn’t need many offensive plays to lead by 14, but when the Huskies kept hanging around it was clear this game would have little similarity to the seven straight 20+ point blowouts that preceded it.

On the six plays where Price took what should have been normal time throwing the ball deep, patiently waiting for his receivers to run their routes, he was sacked badly.  A dozen other plays had Price rushing to throw the ball, which didn’t allow for feet to be set long enough for a stable foundation.  Hence the ball sailed high into wide open Ducks.

When Oregon started their drive from their own 30 yard line with 8:34 left in the third quarter, it was do or die time for the Huskies.  Trailing by only seven, if they didn’t stop Oregon on this drive the game would be lost for good.

They didn’t.

Oregon’s rickety quarterback Darron Thomas drilled David Paulso for 34 yards across the middle on the third play from scrimmage, and followed it with another to Josh Huff for 19 more yards.   Two running plays later it was 31-17, and Husky fans were muttering in their frigid seats at the old dilapidated stadium.  It was over.  UW knew it and the hated Ducks knew it, especially when the next Washington drive stalled at mid-field with a confused and ugly 4th and 4.

Oregon had the ball and a big lead with only 3:40 left in the third quarter.  But when a wide-open Daryle Hawkins dropped his third pass of the night at the five yard line, Oregon was forced to kick a field goal, which was certainly no gimmie considering how bad Duck kicker Alejandro Maldonado was.  In fact 35 yards was his limit, and he barely managed to sneak it over to cross bar to give the Ducks a 34-17 lead with a buck 49 left in the third.

Things really got hopeless when little-used Husky Michael Hartvigson was stripped by Terrance Mitchell at the Husky 32 yard line in just two plays, but were bailed out by a couple of knucklehead Duck penalties, and an ugly pathetic miss by Maldonado from 46 yards, short and off-line to the right.

Still, by now Oregon had slowed down the offense, and were burning large chunks of time by running the clock down to the bare bones with each play.  Sometimes Oregon would walk to the line and return to the huddle several times, just to drive everyone crazy with the trickery and confusion.

Never-used sophomore Nick Montana woke up the crowd with an impressive 53 yard strike to Kasen Williams down the right sideline to the Duck 27, but when a wide open Kevin Smith dropped a nice easy pass that hit him in the numbers as he stood alone in the end zone, the Husky faithful could tell it was not their night.

But it was the best game played against Oregon in a very long time, and if nothing else, the Ducks went away feeling a bit fortunate to have won so easily.  It certainly wasn’t because they played well.  The Ducks easily could have lost this game had the Huskies not been so sloppy and charitable, and by the time things wound down, Oregon could tell that this would be the last easy game for years to come.

The Huskies are still thin in only their third season since being terrible, have kept even with Oregon and the rest of the league with recruiting, and suddenly look like a team to be reckoned with starting in 2012.  Especially since another set of Sark recruits will come rolling into town.

And with the NCAA sniffing the crotches of devious Duck activity all winter long, how long can this go on?

Oregon’s core are still only juniors, but stars such as Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are likely to bolt for greener pastures in the NFL, hence the chances of this Duck bunch staying together after this year is looking grim.

So while clueless Oregon fans were mouthing off on their way to the parking lot tonight, failing to appreciate that all streaks eventually end, the rest of the Husky faithful are recognizing this game for what it was.  The Husky program is back and getting better each year.  We know it.  The Ducks know it even if they won’t admit it, and by this time next year the rest of the country will know it.

And with NCAA sanctions drifting in like eerily gray November clouds, this same Oregon squad will likely be moping come this time twelve months hence.  The mini era of the Ducks dominating the Dawgs has likely seen it’s last chapter, as the men of Montlake return to their 1991 roots and tradition!

Washington Huskies Mutilate Utah Utes in Pac-12 Pickfest

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Who says karma is only for balding hippies wearing bed sheets and hanging around city parks?Following a relaxing bye week with summer-like weather enticing a sea of Utah Ute fans donned in red,  this first-ever Pac12 game at Rice-Eccles Stadium (where?) would be Utah’s chance to snap a dreaded six game losing streak to the hated Dawgs of Seattle after waiting since 1979 for the opportunity.And yet on the opening kickoff, the newcomers did their impression of a Bishop Sankey kickoff reception in Nebraska.

The Ute’s Ryan Lankey coughed up the ball with only seconds gone to start the game, after Husky Garret Gilliland drilled him and shook the ball loose, which wandered and squiggled right into the arms of a streaking Jamaal Kearse, who graciously raced the gift 10 yards without breaking his stride for a quick UW touchdown.

That, as it turned out, would actually be a highlight for the newly-come-hither Utah Utes of Salt Lake City.

Especially when Husky defensive end Josh Shirley, starting in his first-ever collegiate game, raced around the line and splattered Utah starting QB Jordan Wynn for a six yard loss in their first snap from scrimmage.  Followed by another stinker up the middle for a one yard loss.

A pass completion later it was fourth down and a punt and an ugly three-and-out for the Utah Utes in their sorta-cool packed out stadium, with houses peeking over the far end zone and sun shining brilliantly.  Fans across the Root Sports network were getting their first look at Uteville.

It shone more brilliantly for Dawg fans when the Huskies got their opening drive and quickly stampeded downfield on two pass completions and four Chris Polk runs, before finally running out of gas on a failed 4th-and-1 at Utah’s 32.

Polk appeared to stumble over his own feet, and by the time he recovered, momentum had suddenly shifted to the home squad, who took over at midfield.

Starting at their own 32, Wynn threw a surprise sideline bomber to Ute wide receiver pal Devonte Christopher, who made a spectacular catch and 68 yard touchdown romp before it was ruled he stepped out of bounds back on the Husky 32.  But by just a hair.

Not to worry, because Wynn tossed a drifter to Dres Anderson in the end zone several plays later to knot the score at 7-7.

And after the Huskies suddenly looked lethargic and frat-party tired in route to a three-and-out, seven plays later Utah failed on their own 4th-and-6 after marching downfield to the Husky 37.

But alas, bad things continued to happen to good people, when a snappy low pass from Keith Price skipped off the fingertips of 5-Star recruit Husky freshman Seferian-Jenkins, and into the lap of the Ute’s JJ William at the Utah 34.

Suddenly, what looked to be a 14-0 Husky lead, was dangerously close to morphing into a 14-7 deficit, especially when John White nailed back-to-back 6 yard scampers to the Utah 40 to end the first quarter, and followed with eight straight successful plays which was finally snuffed when Sean Parker picked off a Jordan Wynn pass at the 4-yard line.

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Three plays and a first down later from deep in goalpost shadows, things nearly turned Cornhusker bad when Chris Polk, running for his life, fumbled on his own 6-yard line but managed to pounce on it.

A Keil punt later combined with a brain-dead kick receiver penalty, and Utah was in business starting at the Husky 40-yard line.  Desmond Trufant, who was being picked on for some reason, aided the drive with a mutilation of Dres Anderson in the red zone.

But on the very next play, Trufant both forced and recovered a Ute fumble on the 6-yard line.  A clear momentum-changer for the Huskies, since what easily could have been a 21-7 Utah lead was still tied 7-7 after two critical Ute turnovers deep in the red zone.

The Huskies kept the ball the remainder of the half, helped by two knucklehead Ute 15 yard personal fouls, and finally finished the half with a 44 yard Erik Folk field goal and an undeserved 10-7 lead at the last two ticks of the first half.

At halftime, things would take a dramatic turn in Washington’s favor.

After an opening touchdown drive making it 17-7 Huskies, Utah went three-and-out, but pined the Huskies deep in the red zone again when Kayson Williams unwisely attempted to return the kick and was dog-piled at his own 6-yard line.

Chris Polk took over, with runs of 10 and 12 yards, finally ending at midfield after blowing a 3rd-and-1 when Price heaved a wayward desperation pass on a busted play action.  Fans across the nation wondered why that play had been run, when Chris Polk was running like a mad man and chewing up both time and yardage at will.

But when Utah finally got the ball back with seven minutes left in the third quarter, Gregory Ducre picked off Utah’s replacement QB John Hays’ first pass with a brilliant over-the-top sideline pick.

And with Kieth Price imitating wooden-legged pirates due to his on-going knee-gone-bad, he drilled a bullet barely past the fingertips of Utah’s Brian Blechen for a game-dominating 24-7 lead, when Kearse scampered the remaining 23 yards for a UW TD.

It was now 24-7 with seven minutes left in the third quarter, and the game was effectively over.

And when the Huskies opened the fourth quarter with a 14 play touchdown drive that consumed almost eight minutes, what had been a Utah-dominated game was suddenly a Husky laugher.

Polk rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries in the second half alone, as the Huskies piled on 24 unanswered points since the field goal ending the first half.

The Ute’s backup quarterback, a transfer from the defunct Nebraska-Omaha program, did his best, including a nifty suicide hurdle into Cort Dennison for a desperation first down.

But with Chris Polk gaining strength as the Utah defense grew more winded with each drive, there was little they could do.  Especially when Kieth Price kept nailing time-consuming short passes that finally ended with the Huskies up 31-7 with 9:17 left in the game.

For Husky fans still wheezing from the stench of the Kieth Gilberson recruiting classes, it was a welcome sight to see the Huskies finally back doing what Husky teams do.  Dominate in the third quarter and draining the clock in the fourth for the kill.

Utah would manage to score again with seven seconds left in the game, but by that time the vast majority of Ute fans had been sipping beverages and drinking away the pain of it all, in their favorite sports bars for an hour.

It was a surprising win for a suddenly powerful-looking 4-1 Husky Dawg squad, and with the hapless Colorado Buffaloes coming off another loss against WSU this afternoon, Washington fans haven’t been this happy in over five years!

Written by PhilCaldwell

October 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

Washington Huskies Gut Out Tough Win against California in Déjà Vu Game

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SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Chris Polk #1 of the Washington Huskies breaks a tackle to score a touchdown for a 14-7 score against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Husky Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Harry How/Getty Images

When California’s Zach Maynard hit a wide-open Keenan Allen for a 90-yard pass-touchdown three plays into the opening California Golden Bear’s drive in the UW Pac-12 opener, a collective gasp from the purple-clad 60,437 about blew down the decrepit and soon-to-be razed south stands at Husky Stadium.

It was an unlikely strike too, because Allen was so wide open on blown coverage that the stunned multitudes apparently had little to say. Other than creative angry chants about defensive coordinator Nick Holt, which embarrassed the crack Root announcing duo.

Craig Boilerjack and Joel Klatt, still marveling at the hundreds of small boats lazily swaying several hundred yards away on the glistening waters of Lake Washington, wondered aloud how long fans were gong to tolerate coverage that bad; somewhat a Husky tradition of late.

The Dawgs had managed to reach midfield after receiving the opening kick, but were forced to punt six plays later, and Will Hahan’s high kick pinned California back on their own 9-yard line.  But after Isi Sofele ripped out an 11 yard gain to the 20, Cal briefly had breathing room until Zach Maynard coughed up the ball on his own 11.

UW came right back three plays later with a Keith Price to senior Devin Aguilar for a quick 44 yards to the California 20,  followed by Price to all-world freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a game-tying touchdown with just over five minutes burned.

Suddenly, the game felt eerily like the week prior vs. Nebraska, with very little defense giving way to two squads with potent offenses.

But when Cal went three-and-out and drilled UW’s Kasen Williams milliseconds after catching the ball on the ensuing punt, it became evident that college football had returned to the traditional receiving rules so prominently known until a week prior.

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No call, Huskies with the ball.

Eight plays and 65 yards later, it was 14-7 UW.

California came roaring back down the field but settled for a Giorgil Tavecchio 29-yard field goal to make it 14-10, and UW quickly answered with their own sustained drive of 78 yards, finished by another Seferian-Jenkins TD to make it 21-10 with 8:51 left in the half. Cal again drove the length of the field but again settled for a 36-yard field goal trailing 21-13 with just over five minutes left in the half.

Again, the game was feeling disturbingly similar to the prior week in Nebraska, especially when Husky QB Price got chopped from behind by Cecil Whiteside while carelessly carrying the ball single-handedly on a scamper to his own 33.

Price had been doing that all game long and had narrowly managed to avoid the same on several earlier plays.  This time luck ran out. California’s Mychal Kendricks promptly fell on it, transforming what could have been a game-dominating UW drive into a hair-puller.

California tried to take advantage of the momentum swing with a quick line-drive pass down the right side, but Desmond Trufant made a brilliant defensive play at the goal line to knock the ball away.

Two plays later a wide-open Keenan Allen dropped a ball that most grandmothers could have caught,  but made up for it on a duplicate follow-up play on a risky 4th-and-4.  This time Allen took it to the UW 20.

Three plays later, CJ Anderson punched in a one-yard dive to make it 21-20, and when UW’s Erik Folk kicked a half-ending 52-yard field goal only 51 yards, the Huskies left the field up only a single point up.

Coaches grumbled to sideline reporters about missed opportunities and squandered defensive coverages.

Sark was still cranky about his defensive play following the half, and about ripped off sideline reporter Petro Pedackus’ head when he asked about it, in spite of his snazzy black suit that looked like it belonged in a wedding party.

California nearly gave the game back to the Huskies with nine minutes left in the third,  when the ball squirted out of Cal Maynard’s hand at UW’s 12-yard line and straight up the air for no apparent reason.  Once the dog pile had been cleared, the Golden Bears miraculously retained possession.

Cal had to again settle for a field goal, but with a 23-21 lead in game where they easily could have been suffering a blow out, they had to be feeling giddy knowing they had put up 13 straight points at exactly the time they needed it.

The Huskies followed with their own 13-play drive and a 25-yard field goal. The drive included a lovely 4th-and-1 pitch to Jermaine Kearse to the left side, but when Porter was flagged for a 15-yard chop-block penalty, the Huskies had to settle for a three-pointer too,

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24-23 with five minutes left in the quarter.  Again, what could have been a game-changer was handed away by knuckleheadedness.

When California finished the third quarter with a punt, the ultimate outcome of the game would be determined with the next Husky drive.

It started with a nifty pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins down the right sidelines to the 40-yard line, but was called back by a painful holding call.  UW was forced to deal with a 1st and 20 from their own 5-yard line instead of a 1st and 10 from the 35.

Chris Polk ran a nothing play up the middle to make it 2nd and 18, but Washington was suddenly bailed out when Cal’s Aron Tipoti was flagged for roughing the passer.  It gave UW an unexpected 1st-and-10 at their own 32.

Two plays later California broke through for an ugly sack of Keith Price.  But Price followed up with a high-lofter to Chris Polk over the middle for a touchdown, and the game suddenly swung back in the Huskies’ favor.

Polk had managed to sneak out of the backfield undetected while both defensive backs collapsed to cover Sefarian-Jenkins cutting across ten yards deep of the line.  Polk easily caught the ball and lazily jogged into the end zone, thereby potentially sealing the deal.

UW enjoyed a 31-23 lead with just over 12 minutes left.  And when California went three-and-out on their next drive, things were looking bleak for Bay Area’s Golden Bears.

But UW, not prone to making things easy on themselves, promptly coughed up the ball again on the Cal 37, when Austin Seferian-Jenkins was stripped of the ball after being stood up, following a nice catch and scamper to the Cal 44.

California had the ball again in great field position, trailing by only eight points.  But again matching the Huskies in sloppy play, Zach Maynard barely managed to fall on his fumble (his third of the game that was recovered by his own guys), leaving them with a 3rd-and-17.

Two plays later on a 4th-and-3, UW’s Cort Dennison knocked the ball loose from Cal’s Savai’i Eselu.  Just over six minutes were left in the game and the Huskies could end it right here with a long sustained drive.

But the Huskies quickly went three-and-out, and California had yet another chance to get back in the game.

Keeping the ball for 15 plays as the Huskies used two safeties to keep from getting burned long, the “bend not break” defense barely managed to keep California out of the end zone.  Finally, when Cort Dennison and Evan Zeger stopped the Golden Bears’ Isi Sofele for a one-yard loss with just over 37 seconds left in the game, it allowed for one final desperation play amidst a sea of worried Husky fans.  Another win that could turn to a heartbreaking loss.

Cal QB Zach Maynard tried to loft a sneaker high to WR Keenan Allen, but the ball sailed hopelessly out of bounds to the left side and fell harmlessly to the turf.  One play later, the game was over, and Husky fans felt very fortunate to escape after blowing countless opportunities to put this game to rest.

Final score 31-23.  California’s perfect start was ruined, while the beloved Huskies are off to their best start in six years after winning seven of their last eight games.

Nevertheless defensive coach Nick Holt and head coach Steve Sarkisian were clearly both cranky following the game.

A win yes, but a win that should have been nailed down a quarter earlier when the Huskies had the ball and an eight point lead with six minutes left.  It should have been easier.

***

Read more from the same author:

Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners Need Not Apply for Membership in the Pac12

University of Washington Huskies Fall on Bad End of Big Call in Nebraska

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LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 17: Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies throws downfield over Baker Steinkuhler #55 of the Nebraska Cornhusker during their game at Memorial Stadium September 17, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 51-38.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)Eric Francis/Getty Images

On a dank and misty Saturday afternoon on the plains of Nebraska, two separate and pivotal phantom calls on Washington defenders sapped the energy from the visiting team and handed the game to the gracious red-clad Nebraska home squad.

Only football moments earlier, tied at 17 with just over two minutes left in the first half, UW’s Kiel Rasp sailed a hanging punt to the Nebraska 41-yard line for a waiting Cornhusker Tim Marlowe.

But Marlowe missed the catch, the ball grazed off his left ankle and bounced in the arms of Husky Jamaal Kerse, who picked it up and scampered forty yards into the end zone for a seemingly surprising touchdown and 24-17 Husky lead.

Husky momentum was exploding as players embraced and danced giddily.

Suddenly the fun was snuffed by a late-flying hankie that drifted lazily into the mayhem near the end zone.  A dreaded phantom call had just been ushered that had even the Superbowl XL Pittsburg-Seattle zebras grumbling at the injustice of it all.

Washington was being penalized 15 yards for a bogus “kick catching interference” infraction on Washington’s Cort Dennison.  The call was apparently the result of a new college football rule invented seconds earlier by the same squad of sight-challenged refs, and enforced midst wails and hollers by the entire Husky sidelines.

Truth was, there was no hand up for a fair catch by Marlowe, as the refs alleged.  Nor was Dennison anywhere near Marlowe.

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An absolutely terrible call that was played over and over on replays to the nationally televised featured game on ABC.  And it morphed the UW Huskies from the sharp efficient team that had been giving Nebraska fits, into the team from two weeks ago that was hesitant and tentative to open the season.After that play the game felt different, looked different and WAS different. Gone was the energy.  And after Nebraska’s Brett Maher nailed a 35-yard field goal a few plays later for a 20-17 lead as time ran out, heads were slumped and players dismayed as they left the field.

A half-hour later, the second half opened much like the first.

It started with an ugly Husky three and out with the Huskies punting again.  This time Rasp’s punt was a 52-yard line drive that fell into the arms of Cornhusker receiver Rex Burkhead, who was immediately flattened catching the ball by re-amped Husky special teams.

But again two separate flags flew and mayhem insued, as the Huskies were again called for this new “kick catching interference” thing.  Cameras caught a completely baffled UW Coach Steve Sarkisain questioning officials on where they were getting this rule from?

Burkhead DID catch the ball after all, which is all Husky defenders need to allow for a legal catch—according to, you know, actual college football rules.  When there is no hand up for a fair catch, which there wasn’t in either case, said receiver is eligible to be drilled by defenders once he touches the ball.  This is how the game is played.  Normally.

Did blown ref calls affect the final outcome of this game?

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Nevertheless the Huskies were penalized again for another unjust 15 yards by self-righteous officials, who apparently had been downing drinks at halftime while celebrating their previous boneheaded call with the home fans.

And just to make matters worse, the head official, a tall retired fellow with far too much self-confidence, scolded Husky coach Steve Sarkisian for questioning his wisdom, and then stuck UW for yet another five yards just to rub salt in the wounds.

Soon thereafter the Husky defense, now even more lethargic and uninspired, allowed Nebraska to roll through them for 60 yards on eight runs and one short pass to Jamal Turner.

Suddenly the Huskies were down by 10 points with less than five minutes consumed in the second half.

But it got worse.

Husky four-star recruit Bishop Sankey, only recently snatched from the arms of cross-state rival WSU after committing to them years ago, muffed the kickoff on his own 1-yard line.  A single play later, Nebraska gladly converted it for another seven points and a commanding 34-17 lead.

Twenty-one unanswered points that turned the game into a rout.

All four dozen crazed UW Husky fans lining the cheap seats several time zones away, agonized and bemoaned the injustice of it all.  Which made nary a difference in the sea of 85,000 neurotic and delighted Nebraska fans.

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This baby was all but over with two quarters left, and it had pinheaded referee call fingerprints all over it!

The Huskies actually did put up a fairly impressive fight afterwards and managed to regain the confidence they possessed prior to these dopey penalties, scoring another 14 points before time ran out.  Including a drive that stalled at the nine yard line on downs and yielded zero points.

Nebraska would eventually enjoy another phantom “kick catching interference” penalty (which this time actually seemed semi-legit), but it hardly mattered.

UW’s very fast but young team was defeated, playing like it after these key calls in the middle of the game—in spite of some late-game heroics, they fell by 13 points, 51-38.  One point less than the terrible call and a gift touchdown bequeathed to Nebraska.

And unlike other Pac-12 teams who were running up the score on their second straight high school team (I won’t name names, but their fans are obnoxious and they wear really funny-looking uniforms), UW’s future looks indeed bright!

******

Read more from the same author: 

Auburn vs Oregon: Cockroaches and Flying Insects Killed from ESPN’s pregame

or

Bosie State vs Utah in Las Vegas: Broncos Defeat Utes for Absolutely No Reason

Written by PhilCaldwell

September 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

Oregon Duck Fans Hypocritical in Criticism of UW Husky Bad Boy Venoy Overton

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CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Venoy Overton #1 of the Washington Huskies reacts in the second half while taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Using the sensitive tradition that endures fans of every college program towards the humility of our lumberjack-infested friends at the University of Oregon, Duck comments have been fired this week, over the antics of Husky basketball graduate Vinoy Overton.

You remember Overton, right?

As UW pummeled the Ducks in the Pac-10 basketball tournament in March, Overton sat glumly on the Husky pine, suspended by a fed up coach due to accusations from a 16-year-old high school student.

Let me say up front that this is NOT an attempt to defend Overton.  It is not.  We’re all outraged over the charges against him and should be.  Exploiting others for profit is never ok.  Ever.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, earlier this month Venoy Overton was arrested and charged with promoting prostitution—forcing similar aged girls to perform sexual acts and then demanding profits be split with him.

Like most University of Washington fans and anyone familiar with the struggles of poverty, I too am horrified by what Overton is accused of. There is no excuse for exploitation of other human beings for profit, regardless of one’s own struggles.

Nothing justifies it.  Not issues currently being wrestled with, not the NCAA doing the same with collegiate athletes, not past generations involved with slavery.  Nothing.

Lockerrooms_crop_340x234New state-of-the-art locker rooms financed by Phil Knight

The fact that it happens to be young women exploited for sexual favors in Overton’s case is particularly distasteful, and it’s especially difficult to fathom when it comes from college graduates who are supposed to know better.

Overton either skipped the classes that deal with such topics, or our educational system has been a dismal failure.  If a four-year college grad can make it through coursework without the common tenants of basic morality wreaking havoc on one’s conscience, then as a society we’ve completely failed in our schools and universities!

Both fans and foes of the University of Washington basketball program see that behavior as “punks running a muck,” where a tattooed athlete, coddled and praised from an early age, sees himself as above the law and therefore willing to participate in any scheme for profit without consequences.

And yet just when I’m about ready to pick up the first stone, I have to ask myself if I’m not being just a tad hypocritical, since so many things in my own life are not exactly pure and pristine.

Attitudes about matters that nobody else sees, hidden away in the deep corners of my life.

We have the NBA, a professional basketball league, demanding hundreds of millions from taxpayer money for new un-needed arenas.  Money that probably aught to go towards schools and roads, blackmailed out of communties.

Autzenstadium_crop_340x234Autzen Stadium on the University of Oregon campus

How is mis-spending millions of dollars less immoral, than what Overton did?  From where I sit it seems very similar in terms of immorality.

Venoy Overton is just a kid, while some of us throwing the stones are older than some mountain ranges.  You could blame his sins on youthful stupidity, but what could possibly be the excuse of accomplished businesmen that exploit the poor for profit?

Reading and hearing comments from sports fans, it appears the hypocrisy is wide-spread.

One particular comment from a devoted Duck fan makes me wonder why people in Oregon feel so self-righteous?

“Log in your own eye” I believe they call it.

Said Oregon Duck fan Chris Anderson:

“Hey Phil, Vinoy Overton is a class act isn’t he. Sounds like he should have been locked up a long time ago, but at least Seattle was nice enough to let him help you guys out first!!  You’re right, huskies are classy” 

I got ticked off when I read that, but mostly because Mr. Anderson’s comments are closer to being correct than incorrect.

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It’s difficult for fans at UW to claim the moral high ground, when one of your own former players is making the kind of statements that Venoy Overton is alleged to have made.

But what Oregon fans might want to think about, is how Overton exploiting people for profit is any different than Phil Knight and Nike exploiting people for profit ?   Phil Knight has made, and continues to earn, profits from firms that abuse and exploit the poor.

Oregon fans claim that Phil Knight is merely sub-contracting the manufacturing process.  Ok fine, but does that not make him directly responsible for the way in which these manufacturers conduct business?  If you sub-contract with a independent business, in reality you become part of that business.  Especially when your business is the vast majority of their business.

In the University of Oregon’s case, they too have become directly linked to the abuse Phil Knight is being accused of in the third world.  The profits Nike makes from firms that pay their employees 21 cents an hour while working in unsafe conditions, are now financing the Ducks football & basketball programs.

In both Overton’s and Nike’s sub-contracting situations, humans are viewed as simple assets like saws or pencils, exploited for what they can earn.  Disturbingly similar to the slavery of prior generations, of which this generation feels so morally superior.

Photoofneworegonarena_original_crop_340x234New basketball arena that opened this past February

And it’s not really a liberal vs. conservative matter either, since Overton and Nike have nothing to do with politics.  But if you insist on making it political, which ideology insists that forcing women into prostitution is just?  Which one condones eight-year-olds sewing soccer balls for 12 hours a day?

Perhaps the biggest sin Overton committed was getting caught and publicized?

Tell me again, how much money did that new “Deep in the Woods” arena cost, which Mr. Knight donated to Oregon?  Where did that money come from?  How was it earned?

And what about the uniforms, and the new locker rooms, and everything else that the Duck program enjoys?  Who financed these buildings?  Wasn’t dirty Phil Knight’s fingerprints over the entire organization at Oregon, from blue prints to who gets hired as a football coach?

It appears the only difference in these two cases is that the guy who made the most money from this sort of behavior is getting away with it, while the guy who just got started doing simular things, got caught.

Other than that, what’s the difference?  Exploitation is exploitation!   It doesn’t really matter who is doing it.

Accusations continue to flow, insisting Nike has not reformed and has no intention of doing so.  In spite of contrary promises made at Congressional hearings over a decade ago. Nike continues to earn millions of dollars from exploiting third-world workers, in conditions that most of us wouldn’t tolerate for our least favorite pet.

And yet Oregon fans feel justified to criticize Overton, if recent blogs are any indication, for doing roughly the same thing to young women that Nike is accused of doing to kids even younger.  Only in the later case, Oregon gets to share the profits for new stadiums and pretty uniforms.

Sorry, but I’m not seeing that either institution has the high ground in this matter.  Maybe it’s time we all sit down and do some self-reflecting instead of hating on a 22-year-old former basketball star whose career and future is now ruined?

Is taking money from someone earning it via worker exploitation, any less horrendous than what Overton is accused of doing?

I say no it is not.  BOTH situations make me suspect that whatever we’re teaching our kids needs to change.  This is not what we envisioned four decades ago during all the peace marches and cries for justice.

This is just more of the same!

Other links pertaining to recent activity on this subject

Nike business practices

University of Washington students active in sweat shop reform

For more on this subject by the same author, see: Nike, Phil Knight and the University of Oregon: Should the Ducks be Doing It?

Written by PhilCaldwell

June 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

Washington vs. Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl and ESPN’s Pathetic Coverage

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With anxious Washington Husky and Nebraska Cornhusker fans bouncing off the walls at homes across the west, giddy with excitement for the opening kickoff of the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl in San Diego, ESPN’s broadcast was nowhere to be found.
They were too busy covering the Franklyn American Mortgage Company’s Music City Bowl from Nashville, Tennessee.

For what seemed to be months last night, ESPN made the Holiday Bowl fans wait, staying with the Music City Bowl on two separate cable TV channels on Comcast. And on the other two ESPN channels was a women’s college basketball game between UConn and Stanford.

None of us Holiday Bowl fans really cared all that much about the Music City Bowl, nor the women’s basketball game.  But that didn’t matter to the crack ESPN network team!

So we all waited patiently for the game we gathered to see, to be broadcast by ESPN.

In house parties and bars across the mid and northwest.

And we waited some more.  And then some more.

Fifteen minutes after what should have been the start of the Holiday Bowl telecast, Washington Husky and Nebraska Cornhusker fans patiently waited for their game.

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Unfortunately for Holiday Bowl fans, North Carolina got what appeared to be an undeserved break with one second left, and quickly converted that to a field goal to tie that game and send it into overtime.

ESPN, being the devoted network loyal to their viewers, was not about to cut away from that Music City Bowl game at such an important moment. Because ESPN cares about their viewers!

Or at least the ones east of the Mississippi.

Sideline analysis about “the hit” carried on for dozens of minutes, featuring several hundred replays from different angles. A North Carolina Tar Heel got his clock cleaned by a Tennessee Volunteer defensive back.

Cool play, but nobody really cared about it out west.

What we did care about was the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, between the feared Nebraska Cornhuskers dressed in white with red pants, and the Washington Huskies donning their all-black uniforms for only the second time ever.

Nevertheless, ESPN continued with the Music City Bowl coverage.

As ESPN reviewed more shots of replays we’d already seen a dozen times, Husky and Cornhusker fans were beginning to suspect that the Holiday Bowl game might not be a high priority at ESPN.

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Especially when they continued showing the same replays again after that. And again, as Holiday Bowl fans realized they were missing the first quarter of the game they actually cared about.

Ten more minutes passed, then 15, and then 20. House parties across the states of Washington and Nebraska wondered why those idiots at ESPN were not showing their game on another channel, or at least doing a split screen for crying out loud?!?

At about this time, a few fortunate Holiday Bowl fans were discovering something else to kill the time with. On another cable TV channel, they were showing past Saturday Night Live shows. Funny stuff, with skits from old cast members during their best moments.

Good thing too, because a dozen minutes later ESPN was STILL showing the detested Music City Bowl game.

That nobody cared about.

Hey what’s this?  Quickly flipping between the two channels, we accidentally discovered something we wished we had seen earlier.  On the very small ticker tape at the bottom of the screen in tiny print,  was news that the ESPN3 website was showing the game that we had all gathered to see.

So as ESPN droned on and on with replays and highlights from the North Carolina vs Tennessee game, a small laptop computer was located and set up, in the middle of the room of about 30 people at our party.

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A tiny little screen too, that we might be able to convert to the larger screen if someone could find the right chord.

We’d worry about that later. Just get the Holiday Bowl game up already.

After fiddling to get the computer turned on, with grumbling Holiday Bowl fans getting cranky, we located the ESPN3 website.

The slow computer kept hanging and freezing up at various sub-sites off of ESPN3.

Finally after more verbal abuse, the screen was navigated to the proper place with agitated Holiday Bowl fans getting more and more impatient. But sadly all were treated to a jittery and blurry feed of the game.

But at least it was the one we cared about, even though it was a frozen screen that only moved once every dozen seconds.

Which lasted about five minutes before the computer completely locked up the video feed for good.

Havoc and mayhem broke out midst the faithful. Objects and paraphernalia could be seen hitting walls.

Patrons discussed options of bodily abuse, which they would commit against whichever ESPN dimwit was making these idiot broadcast decisions.

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Meanwhile back on cable TV, it finally appeared that the dreaded North Carolina vs Tennessee game (that nobody cared about) was winding down.

But what’s this? Husky and Cornhusker fans were re-directed to a fresh scene, but not the one we wanted.

This time it was a tanned and relaxed Lou Holtz, sitting at a large sports desk with several other ESPN nimrods, discussing the same replays.  A huge ESPN announcer debate broke out that lasted half a dozen more minutes.

Afterwards Lou and the team shared home movies of their recent vacations.

Husky and Cornhusker fans sobbed uncontrollably, wondering why these pinheads at ESPN refused to show their game??

After what seemed several months of post game Music City Bowl analysis (that nobody cared about), ESPN reluctantly decided to broadcast the Holiday Bowl.

Can you believe it?!?

Highly efficient ESPN announcers immediately reminded viewers just joining them (as if that was our fault), that the University of Washington Huskies had been 0-12 several years earlier and had been pummeled by the Nebraska Cornhuskers earlier this season.

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Nebraska fans felt gypped to be playing in this bowl. The Huskies were lucky to be here.

Meanwhile delighted west coast fans quickly abandoned the Saturday Night Live reruns upon discovering that ESPN was actually covering the game they were supposed to have on an hour earlier.  Scattered guests hurriedly rushed back to living room screens.

That same hapless and undeserving Husky team was astonishing the masses.  They were playing in a way nobody could have predicted! The University of Washington held a ten point lead with 12 minutes left in the second quarter!

Nobody knew how they got that lead.

And yet Nebraska was driving. Nebraska QB Kyler Reed hit receiver Taylor Martinez at the front left corner of the end zone, just beyond the fingertips of several diving Huskies. It finished a ten play 74 yard drive with just over six minutes left in the second quarter.

Suddenly it was a scant 10-7 Husky lead!

Hey wait just a minute here! Unexpectedly ESPN broke away from Holiday Bowl coverage to bring us the stunning news, that the Stanford women were about to break UConn’s 90 game win streak!

That not a single one of us gave a rip about!

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From the same game, mind you, that was being broadcast on not one, but TWO other ESPN channels on Comcast.

You would think that ESPN executives might have reasoned, that if someone had actually been interested in that women’s basketball game, they probably already would have been watching it? On ESPN2, on two separate places on Comcast devoted entirely to that game.

You would think.

Nope. Holiday Bowl fans were forced to watch another half dozen minutes of that women’s game, including a replay of the entire last minute.

With ESPN commentary afterwards, of what shocking news this was!

That none of us cared about.

Meanwhile as all four of their Comcast cable channels were focused on the women’s basketball game, exactly ZERO channels were showing us the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl from San Diego, that we had all gathered to see.

Flabbergasted house guests were now hurling bricks and chairs, as excited ESPN announcers showed replays of the final minute of that women’s game that nobody gave a flying ……….

When announcers finally ran out of things to say, they promised to return us to the Holiday Bowl.

But first this important commercial word from Cialis. Two naked retirees in side by side bathtubs grossed us all out for another four minutes, as we missed the game.

After several more announcements, ESPN cut back to replays mid-action, showing a missed ref call for what should have been a helmet to helmet hit on Jake Locker.

Plus several other mutilations of Husky receivers by Nebraska defenders, impeding their progress on sideline routes without being flagged.

Which of course ESPN announcers mentioned only in passing, like a mom pointing out a pretty house, on a Sunday afternoon drive with her bored kids.

Meanwhile back at the Holiday Bowl, Sark and Holt were throwing tantrums to astounded referees.

ESPN missed all of this too, because they were busy discussing the recent weather in Southern California, including mud slides, and how it had left the turf at the Holiday Bowl soiled and muddy.

Oh and by the way, the Huskies were 0-12 several years prior, and probably didn’t deserve to be playing in this game.

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Something they had mentioned moments before they cut to the women’s game.

They mentioned it again several minutes later.

But in a miraculous change of events, that would be the last time ESPN broke away from covering the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl in San Diego, played at Qualcomm Field.

The Washington Huskies would go on to upset the Nebraska University Cornhuskers 19-7.  It would give Washington Husky fans something to cheer about, this late in a season, for the first time since the 2002 Rose Bowl.

Several shots were shown of smiling Husky fans on the field and with coach Sark, before quickly returning us to the ESPN studios, where discussion immediately focused on the Music City Bowl.

The game where too many men had been on the field, on that last play that led to the field goal, that sent it into overtime.

“Here, let’s take a look at the replay.”

 

 

To see the original publication of this article, go to:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/558501-washington-vs-nebraska-in-the-holiday-bowl-and-espns-pathetic-coverage