Pacific Takes bloggers Adam Butler and Jack Follman engage in a little Q&A about Washington and Arizona in preparation for Saturday night's showdown in Tucson between the 3-3 Huskies and the 3-3 Wildcats.
Arizona vs. Washington isn't one of the most heated rivalries in the Pac-12, but the series has produced some very memorable games in recent history - The Desert Swarm upsetting #1 Washington and ending their 22-game winning streak in 1992, 1997's "Leap By the Lake," and 2009's "Immaculate Interception" are all remembered fondly and painfully by fans of both teams.
This year's matchup of the two teams pits two programs that are both 3-3 and searching for that pivotal win to spark the second half of their season so Saturday's game has a good chance of turning into another classic. With the tight matchup so crucial to both fanbases, we thought it would be fun to have a Husky fan and a Wildcat fan go back and forth a little bit.
Jack Follman (Washington fan): If I remember correctly, the first one moved an 11-year-old Jack Follman to sorrowful tears and the second one moved a 24-year-old Jack Follman to joyful tears. I also remember this. For some reason, Washington vs. Arizona games in Husky Stadium produce freak plays.
Jack Follman: Does it feel better to have two other teams in the conference now that also haven't played in the Rose Bowl? (Note: Playing UCLA there doesn't count)
Adam Butler: Oh totally! One is the loneliest number and now we can both commiserate and deflect the taunting. I couldn't be happier. It's like the best thing since the Pac12-DirecTV contract.
Adam Butler: Carrying on, Justin Wilcox has shown he's pieced together a pretty daunting defense, which piece of the Arizona backfield do you think is a bigger concern for the Dawgs: Ka'Deem Carey or Matt Scott?
Jack Follman: Matt Scott. One of the things that has tripped up the Husky defense this season is quarterbacks showing mobility. They've held up well against some good offensive lines and running backs already this year too, so I think Scott is a lot more of worry.
Jack Follman: Most expected Washington's offense to be good going into the season and the defense bad, but pretty much the exact opposite has been the case. Still, which worries you more, getting outscored by the Huskies, or getting shut down by Justin Wilcox's defense?
Adam Butler: Look, Arizona made Josh Nunes look good, so ultimately I don't think there's an offense that really "concerns" the Wildcats; they're all concerning. This is a team that's going to outscore you to win and they have the weapons to do that. And Washington has the counter-weaponry to not let it happen. While it is in the Wildcats' favor that they've got mobility under center it'll be interesting to see how the Dawg frontline handles the spread.
Adam Butler: Halfway into a season the Huskies had some pretty high hopes despite knowing they had a hefty early season schedule, is UW on the optimistic or disappointed side of the fence?
Jack Follman: I think disappointed for the moment, but I think that will change if they can get a win on Saturday. I don't think many people thought they could beat LSU, Oregon or USC and have a better record than 3-3 at this point. Getting blown out by LSU and Oregon the way they did depressed a lot of people, and not being able to beat USC when they were practically handing the Huskies game piled onto that. Also, there is still a large contingent of Husky fans who still romanticize about the Don James era and think that they should still only be giving up 10 points a game and beating Oregon by 20 every year.
Jack Follman: What do you miss most about Mike Stoops - the o-faces he made after every flag, the visor, or peaking with 8-5 seasons?
Adam Butler: Visor; I loved that thing. But I would like to say that for all his sideline antics - the ultimate reason I think he'll always peak at 8-5 as a head coach - the man deserves a lot more credit than he's received. He took over a program just months removed from the team walking out on their coach and had them legitimately playing for a Rose Bowl appearance.
Adam Butler: Can you shotgun a beer faster than Steve Sarkisian (dude looks like he just came off frat row, am I right?)
Jack Follman: I doubt it. Especially since Sarkisian is from Torrance, California, which is the setting for my favorite movie, The Stoned Age, which is basically an ode to shotgunning. Although, the bro in Sarkisian seems to go away the longer he is coaching the Huskies. He seems to have that thing that afflicts U.S. Presidents now where they age like 10 years and gain 25 pounds every four years because they are under so much pressure. Though that could also just be the result of shotgunning a lot of Rainiers.
Jack Follman: If Arizona loses Saturday and falls to 0-4 in conference, and 3-4 overall, do you think they can still get to a bowl game?
Adam Butler: Short answer? Yes. They have the "easiest" part of their schedule to close but a loss on Saturday would make that real tough. Four game losing streaks are generally not conducive to things like confidence or momentum and so I'd seriously begin to question their bowl hopes. But when they beat ASU a bowl might not even matter.
Adam Butler: Does Saturday's matchup feature the two most intimidating 3-3 teams in the country?
Jack Follman: Aren't you forgetting about Texas State? I am tempted to say yes, but I would actually put Tennessee ahead of one of them (flip a coin) if I had to pick only two. The Volunteers won fairly convincingly against NCState and fought tough games on the road against Georgia and Mississippi State.
Jack Follman: Which school do you think has more obnoxious kids from Southern California that are trying to get away from their parents, Arizona or Arizona State?
Adam Butler: USC. Hey got ‘em! But let's see, I was a Southern Arizona kid who escaped his parents by heading to Southern California, so I really have no beef with SoCal. I could see the Pacific Ocean from my freshman dorm. Within your question, however, I did see an "obnoxious" and an "Arizona State" and - well - there's your answer.
Adam Butler: Having orchestrated blackouts yourselves, was Husky nation impressed, appalled, or indifferent to ASU's "Blackout the Ducks" Thursday night?
Jack Follman: At first I thought you were talking about me personally and blackout drinking and the many blackouts I have orchestrated, but then I realized what you were actually talking about. I think the Husky nation is impressed with the idea of "Blacking out the Ducks" simply because they are glad that ASU is trying whatever they can to beat the Ducks. Though I'm sure that they would prefer them to "Black out the Ducks" by severely injuring every single player on the Oregon team and having them cancel the rest of their season.
Jack Follman: Which Arizona basketball player, from any year, do you think would have been able to help out the football team the most if he played?
Adam Butler: The easy answer here is Fendi Onobun. After four years in Tucson he moved on to play a season of football at Houston and then became a sixth round draft pick. Currently, he's a free agent. The other answer I'd give is Gene Edgerson. The aggressive forward played from 97-01 and just banged. Dude loved contact. Also, Ortege Jenkins got some play for the hoops squad. He was good at football.
Adam Butler: Favorite sports bar in Tucson...go!
Jack Follman: Never been to Tucson so no idea. One of my lifelong goals is to see a game in every Pac-12 stadium and I have half of them checked off. Honestly, Tucson resides a hair above Salt Lake City and a long ways down from Palo Alto for where I want to go of the locations I haven't yet. So we'll see how long it takes me to get there.
Jack Follman: What do you think is the biggest obstacle Rich Rodriguez faces in trying to make Arizona a team that can regularly challenge for the Pac-12 title?
Adam Butler: Arizona itself. Let's make no bones about it: this is a basketball school and always has been. But let's also get realistic that football is the only true moneymaker and there's an SEC trained AD at the helm in Tucson. There's a reason Greg Byrne went out there and got Rich Rodriguez. I'm not going to try and convince you that Arizona has long been a sleeping football giant, but I will tell you that whatever happened at Michigan turned RichRod into a sleeping giant.
Adam Butler: What happens Saturday night?
Jack Follman: My gut instinct would be that we see something similar to the Oregon State vs. Arizona game with a high scoring shootout, but this really seems like one of those games where both teams come out too hungry and jacked up and is filled with mistakes. Those games typically favor the defenses. I think the game is somewhere in the 20's with the winner squeaking it out by a point or two. I almost can't even pick a winner because I think it will be so close, but I'll go with Washington, since I'm assuming you are going to pick Arizona.
Jack Follman: Prediction for Saturday?
Adam Butler: Like you, I think this is a tough one to call but I'm taking the Wildcats out of their bye week at home. Matt Scott's playing at a very high level and Ka'Deem Carey leads the conference in touchdowns. The defense had previously been banged up so hopefully the two-week hiatus proves enough time to get what's already a thin group into competitive shape.
Jack Follman: Bonus Question: Yes, I know that I have heard the story a couple of times, and I'm sure I could Google it and get the answer. But what the hell does Bear Down mean and why is it printed on the field? And what would it take to get this explanation printed below it on the field to end further confusion?
Adam Butler: Oh I'm happy to explain. John "Button" Salmon - the student body president, QB, and catcher - was in a what-would-become fatal car accident. He was visited daily by coach Pop McKale and on his final visit before Salmon's passing, Salmon drew his coach in close and told him, "Tell them...tell the team...to Bear Down." But to simplify the on-field painting, we could just write, "Wildcats > You." Bear down.
Jack Follman: Thanks for making me feel bad about making fun of it.