Posts Tagged Washington Huskies

What’s The Probability Of A UW Win?


For WSU fans it’s been called “the only game that matters”. For UW fans it’s been the game where they remind their cross state rivals who their big brother is. We’re talking of course about the Apple Cup. While most of the nation won’t take notice of this northwest rivalry, Pat Forde at ESPN has ranked the annual meeting at number 8 in his listing of rivalries for 2009.

What’s at stake this year? For Washington it’s about respect from their instate rival who has won four of the past five – including an embarrassing loss to the Cougars in Pullman to seal their first 0-12 season. Further, first year coach Steve Sarkisian does not want to be the first Pac-10 team to lose to WSU this year. A win would give Washington their fourth win of the season – a feat that shouldn’t be overlooked for a team unable to muster a win last year.

For Washington State a loss at Husky Stadium will make them winless against NCAA division 1 football teams this year and finish at the bottom of the Pac-10. A win will give them their first 3-game winning streak in history.

So who’s going to win this year?

Historically, Washington has won 2/3 of the meetings, see figure 1. So we could say the huskies have a roughly 67% of winning while the Cougars chances are one in three. But it’s not that simple. Let’s take a closer look:

WSU has won two in a row eight times over the course of the century old rivalry. Two of those streaks have come this decade. So we can probably extrapolate and assume the cougars are unable to win three in a row. On the other hand, Washington has sported two 8-game winning streaks and a recent 6-game winning streak. You can easily identify these in figure 1. Coach Owens provided the first long winning streak to push Washington’s winning percentage over 60%. The combined score of this winning streak was 151-61. Don James was also able to win eight in a row leading to an overall winning percentage of 65%. Don’s Huskies outscored the Cougars 246-139 during these eight years. Rick Neuheisel won all four of his Apple Cups during a UW 6-game winning streak where the combined score was 173-85. Interestingly, all three of these coaches winning streaks team at the beginning of their tenure. Beginning coaches seem to have good luck against WSU – Could this be the start of Sarkisian’s winning streak?


Figure 1

But we can’t write off the Cougars that easily. In the past two years (since November 10, 2007 to be exact) Washington State has only won two games against Div 1 opponents. Both of those wins have come in the last two Apple Cups! In the past five years WSU has managed to win four apple cups. It appears as though the Cougars have the Huskies number. Perhaps they’ll win after all?

So what’s the probability of the Cougars pulling the upset this Saturday? The all time series stands at 64-31-6 in favor of Washington. Statistically, this gives Washington a 63% of winning and the Cougars a 31% chance (67% – 33% if we ignore the tie games). But we’re not taking into account the home field advantage. If we disregard ties, the home team wins 55% of the time. WSU has only won 14 Apple Cups in Seattle while Washington has won 37. This means Washington has won 73% of the Apple Cups played in Seattle. This statistic combined with WSU playing some of the worst Pac-10 football in decades may make this game a lock for the UW.

So what does all this math mean? Absolutely nothing. In the Apple Cup, anything can happen!


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Why Washington Will Not Return To Dominance

Okay, I’m playing Devils Advocate for this post- pessimist hat on!….

  • 47080-h-56-c Need a great coach. We will need a coach as great as Don James (153-57-2), Gil Dobie (58-0-3). Rick Neuheusel and Jim Lambright were good, but not great. Jim Owens had his years but his final W/L percent was 55%. In the modern era Washington has had six coaches not counting Sarkisian. That’s the one in six chance of having another Don James.
  • No longer owns the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon schools have grown too good and WSU has had some great teams – they are no longer “the other” Washington team.
  • Recruiting recruiting recruiting. The UW needs to get solid recruits from Southern California. With USC as dominant as it is, in the best players will always go there. Washington was able to grow dominant when USC became somewhat lack-luster.
  • Their reputation. Washington has been down for too long. Most of the young recruits weren’t born when Washington dominated the Pac-10 and was one of the few dominant teams in the country were in third and fourth grade the last time Washington was “good”.
  • Other Pac-10 Coaches. Some of the best coaches in the Pac-10 are still active to this day. Pete Carroll (USC), Mike Bellotti (now the AD at Oregon), Mike Riley (OSU), Jeff Tedford (Cal), and Dennis Erickson (ASU). Just have a look at this post from Jon Wilner. When Don James was coaching he was without a doubt the best coach in the Pac-10. It’s improbable that we get a coach as good as, if not better, than the above.

I think Washington can return to competitiveness. I see them becoming a solid team; one that can consistently go 6-6 to 8-4 during the regular season. I can see being nationally ranked, but rarely above number 20. Dominance means we consistently see a record of 9-3 or better and consistently finish in the top two or three of the Pac-10.  Sure, I’d love to see this but I’m a realist. I’m behind Sarkisian all the way, but I’m not going to fool myself nor will I view Washington through “Rose Bowl” colored glasses.

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Update On 2010 Recruiting Class

Washington Helmet I want to give another update on the recruiting trail. According to, Washington’s recruiting class has fallen out of the top 10 down to number 15. This is what I expected as the months rolled by as stated here. As far as ranking the Pac-10 recruiting classes, Washington is now in third place behind Stanford and USC. However if we break down the Pac-10 by the average of the recruit ranking we get a different result:

School Average Recruit Ranking
USC 3.64
Cal 3.33
Oregon 3.20
UCLA 3.14
Stanford 3.09
Washington 3.08
Arizona State 2.88
Oregon State 2.80
WSU (tie) 2.43
Arizona (tie) 2.43

Washington has moved into sixth place –right in the middle of the Pac-10 which is where I predicted they will end up.

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Sarkisian on a Recruiting Roll?

recruiting Sarkisian wants YOU to join the Huskies! –or so it seems. After the media frenzy caused by last week’s surprise commitment of Nick Montana to Washington, the Huskies have had multiple recruits give verbal commitments to Sarkisian and co. The new recruits include tight end Michael Hartvigson of Bothell, wide receiver Keanon Lowe from Portland, and offensive lineman Colin Porter, also from Bothell.

This puts Washington’s 2009 recruiting class at a very early ranking of number 9 according to Although it is far too soon in the recruiting process to be drawing conclusions, here are the top 10 schools according to the aforementioned website:

  1. Texas
  2. Alabama
  3. Florida
  4. Oklahoma
  5. LSU
  6. Penn State
  7. Texas A&M
  8. Stanford
  9. Washington
  10. Michigan

It’s strange to see an 0-12 team listed among the top 10 recruiting class in the nation – not to mention a recruiting class that rates higher than USCs. Personally, I think it’s premature to draw conclusions. While I think this will be a top recruiting class considering the Huskies recent performance on the field, don’t expect it to stay in the top 10. The UW is ranked high simply because multiple recruits are committing early in the process. Many of the nations remaining four and five star recruits are still visiting schools and when they start committing, expect that to bolster other schools’ recruiting classes.

Don’t believe me? Do you really expect Washington to have a higher recruiting class than Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Miami, and USC? I’m simply trying to be realistic. I anticipate USC and UCLA eventually overtaking the Huskies in rankings at the least. Don’t fret though, expect to see Washington among the top 25 in the nation and in the top half of the Pac-10. This should be a welcome sign for Husky fans considering their embarrassing 2008 record.

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Nick Montana commits to Washington

Nick Montana Last night it was made public Nick Montana of Oaks Christian high in California has committed to be a Husky for the class of 2010. This is great news for the football program as just last week the number one ranked quarterback in the nation, Jake Heaps of Skyline high in Sammamish Washington, turned down Sarkisian for BYU. Not only does this give a nod to the new coaching staff of a team that has not won a game since 2007, but it sends a message to other recruits that it’s okay to commit to this up and coming program. Not to mention it puts a pretty famous quarterback in the stands at Husky stadium.


Skyline There’s a twist in this story. Next September during Jake’s and Nick’s senior season, their two high schools will face off against each other on the 18th in Sammamish Washington. All eyes will be focused on the two quarterbacks – the one who accepted Washington’s offer and the one who refused. This is only a beginning to their saga- over the next four years Washington and BYU will play each other three times. This will make for an interesting rivalry between the two highly touted athletes.

No word on whether his famous sister will be attending the UW as well.

*This is a late note, but maxpreps ranks Skyline and Oaks Christian 12th and 9th respectively.

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Washington Ranked 99th by New York Times

washington-huskies In Paul Myerberg’s 120 team count down, the UW have come in at number 99, down from a 2008 preseason 63 for last year and up for #118 at the end of the 0-12 2008 season.  The review is exhaustive, well written, and a must read for every Huskies or Pac-10 football fan.

Paul asks:

But in the last five years, Washington has won a total of 12 games, and last season’s winless campaign stands as the lowest point in the long, storied history of the program. How could things possibly go so wrong?

That’s the question people will be asking for years, and much longer if the program fails to wash that bad taste of the last several years out of fans throats. He goes on the say what I’ve been saying for months:

I’m also willing to believe that the Huskies could perhaps take two Pac-10 games they’re not supposed to win.

Yup, people agree we are heading for a 4-8 season (assuming we beat Idaho and WSU, the only games we’ll be favored to win) – and this is only if Locker stays healthy.

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Odds on 2009 National Title

thumbnailCABO1SKY According to the Wiz (not the Seinfeld version) the odds are next year’s national title game will be (Florida && (Oklahoma || USC)) – in English, that’s Florida and Oklahoma or USC. There is also a fair chance of Texas or Ohio State – of the two, I’m putting my money on Texas. I’ve listed the top 13 here for your viewing pleasure. You can check out The Wiz’ home page to see the rest.

Rank School Odds
1 Florida 7/4
2 Oklahoma 5/1
2 USC 5/1
4 Texas 8/1
5 Ohio State 17/2
6 Oregon 20/1
6 LSU 20/1
6 Virginia Tech 20/1
9 Alabama 22/1
10 Florida State 30/1
10 Notre Dame 30/1
12 Penn State 35/1
12 Miami 35/1

However, since I enjoy blogging about the Pac-10, here are the odds on eight of the 10 Pac-10 schools. You will notice that Stanford and Washington State are not listed. I assume the odds of that were too low for the oddsmakers to bother.

Pac-10 School Odds
USC 5/1
Oregon 20/1
Cal 60/1
Arizona 100/1
Oregon State 100/1
Arizona State 150/1
UCLA 150/1
Washington 200/1

The Huskies are down there pretty far, to be honest I’m surprise they listed them at all. But I guess since they bothered – well that must mean something.

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