I'm excited for kickoff, but I really haven't had a whole lot to say in these final few days. I would say we've analyzed this game to death, but we really haven't. We've dedicated most of our coverage to Sesame Street and the overall upcoming season, not just the first game.
The reason for this is pretty simple. We don't know squat about the Huskies. I don't mean that we don't care or we haven't bothered to learn anything about U-Dub, it's that no one knows anything. I keep lurking on the UW blog hoping that I'll glean some insight into their team, but they don't know either. There's a palpable sense of optimism because of the dawning of the Steve Sarkisian Era, and I don't blame them for that. Besides, its not like things can get worse in Seattle. But everything is a guess.
I do believe Sarkisian will turn that program around. If you've ever been to Husky Stadium, it really is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country. Seattle is a great town and Washington has a proud football history. There's simply no reason for this program to be as bad as they were last year. They will improve and hopefully, they will return to their rightful place as one of the best programs in the Pac-10.
But it won't happen right away. It's not going to suddenly change overnight. Hell, it might not change this season. Really, it will be a victory for Washington if they simply make tomorrow night's game close. I'm not saying this to be condescending, I really do like the Huskies and think they will be improved, but 0-12 teams need to take progress wherever they can find it. And progress simply means playing LSU tough for a full sixty minutes.
We have an unofficial rule at ATVS that we do not make predictions. Just too many things can happen and the best team does not always win. Can Washington win this game? Certainly. A jacked up team playing their home opener under a new coaching staff? You don't have to imagine some bizarre series of events for the Huskies to come out and win. Is that likely? Not really. It's far more likely that we'll see Washington ride the emotion of the season opener for a half before LSU's superior depth and talent allows LSU to pull away late.
What should help LSU is that it is unlikely LSU is going to overlook anyone. LSU is just as jacked for this game and it's been a long offseason for this team, waiting to get the awful taste of last season out of their mouths. LSU has every reason to come out focused and ready to make a statement: we are back. Last year was a fluke. Washington wants a complacent juggernaut treating this game as an automatic win. That's how upsets happen. However, LSU needs to make a statement just as badly as Washington does. Both teams desperately want to put last season's disaster behind them. LSU's focus should negate Washington's edge in emotion. We can't overlook anyone, not after last year. Better yet, the players know it.
Let's kick this thing off. I'm not making a prediction, but I really think this year can be something special. It all starts on Saturday.