Huskies vs. USC

By Josh Feit September 19, 2009

[Editor's Note: Introducing PubliCola's football coverage. And we don't mean this soccer stuff. No commie football. This is the American version.

Welcome SeahawksNerd whose first installment (symbolically enough?) is about the Huskies. And this isn't Josh posting. SeahawksNerd will have his own byline in time.]

The Huskies open up their Pac-10 schedule with perennial powerhouse USC in Seattle—a matchup that pits new UW head coach Steve Sarkisian against his former squad.  The Huskies have turned some heads nationally in the first two weeks of the season, with a gritty loss to current #9 LSU in their home opener (a game in which the Huskies outgained LSU 478-321) and a workmanlike victory over Idaho last weekend.

Letdown? The Trojans are coming off an enormous emotional victory in their marquee, nationally-televised matchup last week against Ohio State. USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley put to rest questions about his ready-for-primetime status, leading a winning 14 play, 86-yard game-winning drive with 1:05 left. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Barkley appears poised to sit this one out with a shoulder injury, leaving QB Aaron Corp to make his first collegiate start. Whether or not this is a downgrade talent-wise is debatable, but the wildcard of a first-time starter who clearly wants and believes he’s best for the job accentuates the key positional advantage UW holds in this matchup—Husky stud QB Jake Locker.*

The Huskies' defense isn't going to win this one, although disrupting a USC offensive system that plugs in an inexperienced QB will certainly be critical. Nope, the key to a Huskies win is the Huskies' offense.

Even though USC's  front 7 looks to develop into a carbon copy of the USC unit that lost more than half of its starters to the NFL draft, UW QB Jake Locker and Steve Sarkisian offensive scheme, which he's probably been planning since, well, since he took the UW job, must overrun USC. Washington’s offense has excelled in 2 games – averaging 6.1 yards-per-play, including 5.8 against a pretty solid LSU defense. The Huskies win this matchup on paper, and the stadium will be rocking. We’re looking at a pivotal victory for the Husky program.

Prediction: The Huskies have fluctuated between 18 to 23 point dogs in this game since the opening line on Sunday. The offensive line will need to protect Locker and keep UW's threat of RB-by-clusterfuck churning. The Huskies ability to contain USC's scoring given the offensive advantage USC has at every position (except at QB) will likely determine the outcome. If Aaron Corp is up to the task and the USC offensive line dominates, it could be a long day for the Huskies.

Final Score: USC 42, UW 20.

*Misc Fantasy Tip: If you have Jake Locker and are hesitant about starting him this week, please stop playing fantasy football.
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