OK, I’ll admit it—I first typed Notre Dame here.
Subconsciously, I guess I wanted another big football game to write about. National TV. Everybody talking. Fans squirming. Analysis ad nauseam. All eyes on Seattle. A spectacle.
Instead, this it what the schedule-makers decided was good for everyone.
So here are five questions, not 11 like last week, because this is all a mismatch like this deserves:
Will you be there? Sure, it’s Washington’s home opener and Husky Stadium is as fine a place to spend a fall afternoon as there is, and, yes, this will be a rare daylight game. However, the records show UW vs. FCS teams typically draw 8,000 to 10,000 fewer fans. People aren’t dummies. People won’t sit through just any old train wreck. They like suspense with their seat licenses.
With the new redshirt rule, with players permitted to appear in four games without giving up a year of eligibility, how many Huskies will see the field on Saturday? Sixty-six played in the 65-7 romp over UC-Santa Barbara in 1971, a huge number. A good guess is Washington’s participation level could exceed 70 against the Fighting Hawks because there’s no eligibility penalty for doing it. A Huskies assistant coach may turn to the legions of players standing on the sideline and bellow, “Want to go in, raise your hand?” Yet not all of these young guys may do it, according to Chris Petersen, because they could be a bit star-struck. “It’s got to be a two-way street,” the Huskies coach said. “Sometimes they see the bright lights come on and it’s, whoa, maybe it’s not the right time.”
What’s the latest on Trey Adams? For this question, Petersen showed he could dig in his heels as deep as an indignant Don James when feeling that his program rules were being compromised. The coach, his eyes piercing and back stiffening when Adams' name was brought up, had a one-word answer: "Nothing." He still was clearly irritated that a reporter or reporters contacted Adams personally to find out about the big tackle’s physical condition, which is what media people do, especially when news around a team such as this one is so buttoned down. Oh, well. Adams, who missed the Auburn opener, apparently had surgery this week to correct a condition that’s been described as season-ending.
So do you know who Salvon Ahmed is? If he’s only vaguely familiar, the sophomore speedster should give a much better accounting of himself against North Dakota. Expect the starters to depart early, putting Ahmed and the backups on the field for a lengthy time. And with the Huskies likely way ahead, expect them to run the ball, which means it should be in Ahmed’s hands a lot. How about 100-plus yards and a couple of scores for next year’s No. 1 running back?
Who’s going to win? Strike that. Make it how much will Washington win by? Try 50-10. That’s forecasting conservatively. Enjoy the rain. Enjoy the pageantry. Enjoy the scrimmage.