We start tonight with the “Revenge Tour.” Because that’s what it is for the Husky football team: From the Arizona desert last night to Seattle this Friday night and ending in Eugene, Oregon one week from Saturday.
And even though last night was an undercard to the main events ahead, it was still big. The Dawgs hadn’t won a game in Tucson in ten years; so regardless of expectations, they needed that result. They needed to exorcise whatever demons stood between them and victory in Arizona over the past decade, exact that revenge, and move on.
But now… NOW, it gets good. I might be sitting in the stadium where the Huskies upset Stanford back in 2012 right now. But the last time the Dawgs beat Stanford at Husky Stadium? That was all the way back in 2003. And the last time the Dawgs beat Oregon at all? That was also 2003.
I mean, we’re talking 13 years! We’re talking the same year that Apple first launched iTunes. The same year Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California. In fact, any kid who celebrated a Bar or Bat Mitzvah this year was born the same year the Huskies last beat the Ducks and last celebrated a victory over Stanford at Husky Stadium!
For a program with such a storied history – that’s a really long time! And that “Purple Reign” we hear about – that return to glory - cannot be accomplished in full until those streaks are broken.
Thanks to Chris Petersen, the Huskies are an impressive program on the rise. But it’s also gut check time. This is the point where we learn whether the Dawgs have truly “arrived,” or if there’s still more mountain to climb. This is the point where all the longtime Husky supporters can relieve themselves of more than a decade’s worth of built-up angst – or have to wait at least one more year.
I mean, I asked Petersen one question and one question only at his first press conference when he was hired: “Are you gonna beat Oregon?” The Ducks streak over the Huskeis was too long then, and it’s even longer now.
And a win over Stanford would be a Top 10 victory over the defending conference champs.
So if you’re not at Husky Stadium on Friday night, I hope you have one heck of an excuse. Because for just the fourth time in that stadium’s history and the first time since 1997, we’ll be watching two Top 10 teams squaring off. We’ll be seeing that setting at its best – under the lights, with 70-thousand strong, with a home team that finally just might be worthy of all the hype.
Beat Stanford and Oregon the next two weeks, and the Dawgs could be a Top-5 team with the inside track at a conference title and a berth in the national playoff. Digest that one. Try to take it in.
These two weeks hold the key to unlocking a world of possibilities.
So take a deep breath, Huskies. Your “Revenge Tour” continues this Friday night.