Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Deserve to Feel Good

Today at noon Pacific Standard Time, the #4 University of Washington Huskies play in their first ever playoff game*. They are playing the #1 team in the nation, Alabama, who are undefeated. The Huskies have a 12-1 record. The game will be on ESPN.

For other time zones that's 3:00 PM Eastern, 2:00 PM Central, 1:00 PM Mountain, and if you're in Alaska or Hawaii, check local listings.

And, to be honest, I'm am thoroughly enjoying myself. And I deserve to.

I have been a fan of the Huskies since I graduated from the University of Washington in 1994. But I didn't become a rabid, can't-miss-a-game fan of Husky football until later. I suspect it was 2006 when I went to a game in Husky Stadium against Arizona. I remember yelling with 50,000 other people for the Dawgs to win in overtime. And there's something about that experience that programs the brain to love what you're yelling about. The Huskies lost that game, by the way.

I was a fan of the Huskies in 2008 when they lost every single game. They are the only Pac-12 team
Husky Stadium after that Arizona game
to have a season with no wins (it was the Pac-10 back then). I remember celebrating first downs because they were rare and the only thing there was to celebrate. (That coach, who shall not be named, got fired at the end of that year.)

I stuck with them through the Sarkisian era when things got slightly better. At least we went to some bowl games. Then Sarkisian went to USC where he got fired for something that is being disputed in the courts. (Ironically, Sarkisian is now Alabama's Offensive Coordinator.)

And the University of Washington hired Chris Petersen from Boise State where he'd had great success. Three years ago. I don't think anyone expected Petersen to have this much success this early. Somehow it all came together this year.

I used to say I'd be happy if the Huskies record was 8-4 or better, they beat Oregon, they beat Washington State in the Apple Cup, and they went to a bowl and won it. So far this year, they've done all of that except for winning the bowl game. We'll find out later today if they can do that. They are the 15 and a half point underdogs in this game.

And the future? If Peterson stays at UW, I think we can expect continued success. Maybe not this good every year. But this good quite often. I'm hoping the Chris Petersen years will be like the halcyon Don James years.

Now excuse me while I get my game face on.

*The current playoff system is only in its third year. We'll see how long this lasts after the debacle that was the BCS system. I wish they'd just go to a playoff system with all the conference champions.

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