SEATTLE – Of all the things the University of Washington football team allowed to creep into its collective psyche during the last week, the prospect of losing another football game was not among them.
“We go into every game expecting to win,” senior receiver D’Andre Goodwin said this week, “so 0-2 hasn’t crossed anyone’s mind.”
So no one needs to bother telling this year’s Huskies that only three UW teams to start 0-2 this century went on to finish with inexcusable records of 1-10 (under Keith Gilbertson in 2004), 2-9 (under Gilbertson in 2005) and 0-12 (under Tyrone Willingham in 2008).
That kind of history has been erased from the program’s memory, and the wealth of talent and experience on this year’s team makes another catastrophic season seem far-fetched.
But with a 0-1 record, and upcoming games against No. 6 Nebraska and at USC in the next two games, a loss to Syracuse today could take a lot of the wind out of UW’s hopes for a return to respectability.
It’s just that the Huskies aren’t looking at today’s game, which begins at 4 p.m., as any kind of make-or-break proposition.
“Each game you play each week is the biggest game on the schedule,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “So we’ve just got to go out and do what we’ve got to do to win the game. (Whether the Huskies are) 0-2 or 2-0, whatever, we’ve just got to come out with a W.”
On paper, this appears to be a good week for the Huskies to bounce back.
While Syracuse manhandled Akron for a season-opening win last weekend, the Orange haven’t won more than four games in a season since 2004. It’s been even longer – 11 years – since Syracuse has started a season 2-0.
The Huskies also have the advantage of playing at home, where they have won five of their past six games. While UW still hasn’t won a road game in 13 tries, the Huskies have been competitive – and occasionally dominant – at home during the Sarkisian era.
By all accounts, Sarkisian would seem to have the UW program back on track toward regaining respectability. With all but four starters returning from a team that went 5-7 last season, the Huskies have every reason to believe they’ll put an end to their seven-year bowl draught this year.
But things got off to a rocky start when UW dropped its opener at BYU last week.