Trying to make a return to their 90’s self, the Washington Huskies find themselves at 7-5 and in Las Vegas to face Boise State and (maybe) head coach Chris Peterson (10-2). After being lured away from USC where he occupied the offensive coordinator post under Pete Carroll, Huskie head coach Steve Sarkisian is doing his best to bring the program back. Since taking the job inheriting a team coming off an 0-12 season in 2008, “Sark” has led Washington to marks of 5-7, 6-6, 7-6 and this season’s 7-5. The good news in Seattle is that it is a relatively young team led by quarterback Keith Price and sophomores Bishop Sankey at running back, wide receiver Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end. Though they were crushed (literally) by Oregon, USC and Arizona, the Huskies were one of two teams (the other is undefeated Notre Dame) to get a win over PAC-12 conference champion Stanford in 2012. Unfortunately they fell in overtime to Washington State in the highly anticipated yearly grudge match known simply as “The Apple Cup”.
It’s a pretty safe bet that the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes would have their way with the 2012 Washington Huskies. A defense that surrendered over 50 points on multiple occasions would be Swiss cheese for the Buckeye offense. Head to head, the Buckeyes are 8-3 all-time against Washington. Their last meeting was a 33-14 Buckeye win in 2007 at Huskie Stadium. The last time they met in Ohio Stadium was August 30th, 2003 in the season opener. The Buckeyes won that night as well by a final of 28-9. This was the first home game after the 2002 National Championship game and the last game that Maurice Clarrett was still officially a member of the Ohio State football program.
Southern Idaho State enters the game at 10-2 with absolutely no really spectacular wins under their belt, unless you subscribe to the Notre Dame school of thought that a hard fought battle with BYU is something to brag about. In that case, Boise was “champion-like” in their 7-6 triumph over the Mormons. Of course, we all watched on opening weekend when Boise fell in East Lansing to Michigan State 17-13. They were also beaten by San Diego State. The Broncos are led offensively by running back DJ Harper who finished with 1065 yards and 15 touchdowns.
I don’t think the Buckeyes would have much of a problem with the 2012 Boise State Broncos. Though the Buckeyes have never met the Broncos head to head on the field, former head coach Jim Tressel won his third national championship at Youngstown State with a 28-14 win over Boise State in 1994. For you trivia buffs, that playoff run for the Penguins started with a home victory in the first round over the Steve McNair led Alcorn State University.
The BBC staff picks are as follows: Eric, Mali, and Wva selected Washington, while myself and Janelle (clearly the younger and smarter of the group) are going with Boise State.
I think Boise wins because of Chris Peterson, one way or another. If he stays at Boise and doesn’t take a major conference gig, his players reward him and show their appreciation with their performance in Las Vegas. If he bolts for greener (and warmer) pastures, his players and the interim coach play inspired to prove that Boise State isn’t just Chris Peterson.
ESPN has the broadcast and the play-by-play will be handled by Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit. This one could be a pretty entertaining ballgame!