My story in today’s paper is about the assumption that Washington’s defense is going to get rolled over and rolled up in Thursday night’s Alamo Bowl. It’s apparent in the national media and in the local media. And I think most Husky fans are resolute in their thinking that it’s an inevitability and for Washington to have a chance, Keith Price and the offense will have to win the game in a shootout.
The prevailing thought is the Huskies will be nothing more than an afterthought for the high-powered Baylor offense, a minor speed bump or slight impediment en route to the end zone for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III and his dynamic playmaking friends.
The Huskies know it.
“Obviously, we’re playing against a very explosive offense with some explosive football players,” Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt said Monday. “I think maybe that’s kind of the headline going into this game with them on offense having such firepower and having such a good quarterback.”
Is it fair?
In a way, it’s fair. And, it’s justified.
Defensively, Washington hasn’t been very good this season. The Huskies are giving up 33.33 points per game, which ranks 99th of 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. They are 94th in total defense, giving up 426.3 yards per game. And the worst numbers come against passing teams: Washington ranks 116th, giving up 283.3 yards per game.
And it’s not just the cumulative statistics. The Stanford game, in which Washington gave up 65 points, 615 yards of total offense and 466 yards rushing wasn’t exactly a bright moment. Nor was giving up 484 yards of total offense and 339 yards passing to an anemic Oregon State offense with a redshirt freshman at quarterback.
My notebook talks about the trip to SeaWorld and also Robert Griffin III dealing with the fame that comes with being a Heisman winner.
But away from the field, it’s become difficult. He went to eat in Waco and donned a disguise in hopes of trying to get some peace.
“I went out incognito and tried to hide my identity,” he said. “I got a lot of double takes. If you get a double take, you can walk far enough to discourage them from approaching.”
So how elaborate was the disguise?
“I had a hat and my hair tied up so I didn’t have my hair show,” Griffin said. “And I had glasses on.”
It’s gotten to the point where Baylor officials act as security guards to try to keep his life relatively normal when he’s making appearances.
“I’ve had security, but they try to be as incognito as they possibly can,” Griffin said. “But life changes, and people are going to want a piece of you when you’re doing great things. It’s a good problem to have.”
Fame has had it’s benefits.
When he appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” to present the Top 10 list Dec. 12 (“No. 3: Indianapolis Colts, here I come!”), he got to meet movie star Scarlett Johansson, who was also on the show that night.
“Yeah, actually she walked in, I told her that I thought she was beautiful,” he said. “She said, ‘Thank you.’ It was cool. I didn’t want to ask her for a picture because I’m pretty sure she gets hassled to get pictures all the time, so I tried to respect that, but she’s a cool person.”
Here’s a breakdown of the game by the Sports Network, which picks Baylor to win 49-35
Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express has this story on Cort Dennison, who first came to the Alamo Dome as a 9-year old to watch the University of Utah play in the Final Four.
King5 has this video of the Huskies going to SeaWorld
Elsewhere around the Pac-12
- Shockingly, Oregon will have new, “special” uniforms for the Rose Bowl
- Bay Area news group columnist Tim Kawakami says there will be life after Andrew Luck at Stanford.
- Jim Mora stole a big recruit away from Cal and Notre Dame.
- UCLA seniors talk about their time in the program
- Utah feels it has something to prove in the Sun Bowl
- Cal QB Zach Maynard has adjusted after some struggles