First of all, I enjoy posting this post-Apple Cup where UW smacked the Kewgs for their third straight Apple Cup victory. If I could make it through college without losing to the Cougars I would be satisfied, but then again that’s like being satisfied with Qdoba when you can go to Chipotle. Go Purple, Be Gold (which is a lame slogan, talk to Jackson Blake Seidl about that). I would also like to address the hiring of Mike Leach as Head Coach of WSU. Leach is a fantastic offensive mind who is also certifiably insane. He reminds me a lot of Don Vito from Viva La Bam. Craig James’ son incident aside, the guy is a damn good coach and scares me as head coach of Wazzu. He is perfect for the job and at least in the immediate future with Jeff Tuel and Marquess Wilson, and his Air Raid offense should be productive.
If you’re a UW fan, I’m not sure this is the bowl matchup you wanted to see. The Baylor Bears come in at 9-3 (6-3) fresh off of a win against Texas. Baylor is one of my favorite teams to watch play for their offense that can be characterized by one word: nasty. Meanwhile, UW’s defense can also be characterized by one word: terrible.
The good news is that while Baylor averages 43.5 points a game and 571 yards a game, they give up 35.7 points a game. Yes, believe it or not, they give up more points per game than Nick Holt and the Wonderboys that are UW’s defense. Baylor is undoubtedly able to be scored on (given up 30 or more points in 9 games) but they are a dynamic offense led by the probable Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III.
RG3 has put up some absolutely gaudy numbers this season. 72% completion rate, 3,998 yards and a 6-1 TD ratio. That doesn’t even speak to his rushing numbers and more important his athletic ability. He has 644 rushing yards and 9 TD’s, but can consistently make plays with his legs to burn defenses. Look up “RG3 Moments” on Youtube if you need to see it in action. Keeping him in check is both important and probably impossible. He has great accuracy on deep balls and has the receivers to get the ball down the field. Among those is Senior, Kendall Wright (#1). Wright has caught at least 6 balls in every game and has 101 catches for 1572 yards on the year. Including this one. Wright is flanked by #2 Terrance Williams and #16 Tevin Reese who have a combined 18 TD’s on the year. As if Baylor’s offense doesn’t sound gnarly enough, the Bears have 240 lb Senior RB Terrance Ganaway to hand off to. Ganaway averages 5.9 yards a carry and has 1,349 yards on the season to go with 16 TD’s. Wonderful news for Husky fans.
For a Huskies defense that just let Marshall Lobbestael throw for 344 yards in the Apple Cup, an offense like Baylor’s and a QB like Robert Griffin is exactly what you wouldn’t want to see. However in terms of an exciting matchup where we could see close to 100 total points, this is your game. Personally I would have much rather seen UW get chosen to play Oklahoma in this game, because saying, “We lost to Oklahoma” is a lot different than saying “We lost to Baylor”. The only equivalent I can think of is when the Average Joe’s lose to the Girl Scout Troop in “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”. But back to the main point about this game, it will be fun to watch. You could very well be watching Keith Price go head to head with the Heisman Trophy Winner (Griffin is currently 3rd in ESPN’s Heisman Watch), but also watch Price go up against a very soft defense. Baylor gives up an average of 278 yards a game through the air and 198 yards a game on the ground. Sounds fun for the likes of UW’s offense. My prescription for a UW win is a simple recipe. Give the ball to Chris Polk, stir, bake for a 7 minute drives at a time, wash, rinse, and repeat. That may be the only way to beat Baylor, as getting into a shootout with them is the equivalent of challenging Lindsay Lohan to a “Who can kill their career quickest?” contest. Side note, but be sure to watch Polk if he goes out wide from the backfield during the bowl game, he almost always will jerk while waiting for the play to start. Pretty comical.
But what this game really boils down to is the duel that is about to take place between two of the most swagged out signal callers in College Football. Robert Griffin III may be the only one that can outmatch Keith Price. You be the judge.
It should be a fun one, folks. UW certainly has its hands full but the same could be said about UW playing Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl last season. If I had to predict a score I probably wouldn’t say UW would win this game, but I certainly have the confidence in Sark and the Bald Bull he calls his defensive coordinator to get it done come December 29th at 6PM (ESPN). Go Dawgs.