I’m down in Oregon for the first game of the season, and the Huskies only road game until October. (There’s no doubt this UW schedule is tough, but at least they bring all of their out-of-conference opponents to Husky Stadium.) In any case, I noticed the cool animated tour of the Pac-10 stadiums above and through some of you might like to see it, too. (Although this still shows Stanford’s old stadium.)
As far as road trips go, I think this is one of the best — at least from the fan’s perspective. Eugene’s a nice town with a college town feel, but still a lot to do. And the stadium is one of the league’s best. And the fans’ are among the most intense.
The weather is fine upon my arrival: a little warmer than ideal for football, with mostly blue skies and a few fluffy clouds. The forecast for Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies, a slight chance of rain, and a gametime temperature of around 65 degrees.
My preview story in the Saturday paper, makes the point that all the things that UW fans are wondering about these Huskies are things Mike Bellotti is probably wondering, too. And that could work in UW’s favor.
A quick game preview:
WASHINGTON (4-9 overall, 2-7 in Pac-10 in 2007)
AT NO. 21 OREGON (9-4, 5-4 in ’07)
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.
Television: FSN. Radio: 950-AM.
The series: Washington leads, 58-37-5. However, Oregon leads 13-12 in Eugene, and the Ducks have won four straight in the series including 55-34 last season in Seattle. Oregon has never won five straight over Washington.
What to watch: UW fans could get their first looks at a dozen or more true and redshirt freshmen, including three true freshmen in the starting lineup: tailback Chris Polk, defensive tackle Senio Kelemete and kick returner Jordan Polk. True freshman Kavario Middleton also could start at tight end, filling in for Michael Gottlieb, who did not travel due to a hamstring injury. … Fans also will get their first look at the defensive changes installed by new coordinator Ed Donatell. … In a reversal from most of last season, UW will actually have the more experienced quarterback, as Jake Locker makes his 13th career start while Oregon’s Justin Roper makes his second. … The Ducks have scored 48 points in each of their last two home openers. … Oregon starting offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou will miss the game following what is being called a violation of eligibility bylaws.
What’s at stake: It’s opening day. Someone is going to start 1-0, and someone 0-1. This also is the Pacific-10 Conference opener for both teams. And it’s one of the West Coast’s fiercest rivalries. The game will be played in front of the 56th consecutive sellout crowd at Autzen — and a national television audience.
Pick: Oregon, 45-28. These young Huskies should be fascinating and fun. But this is a lot of ask of so many inexperienced players.