The News Tribune's main UW story for Saturday discusses just how important this game is for the Huskies. I'd just say very important -- the difference between 2-1 and 1-2 is huge, as even Coach Willingham agrees.
However, Willingham was a little uncomfortable with the way linebacker Scott White described the importance of the game ... which seemed to imply that a loss would inevitably send UW down the wrong road.
I think they were largely saying the same thing, but I found it interesting listening to them saying it.
Meanwhile, here's an early look at our gameday essentials:
FRESNO STATE (1-1)
AT WASHINGTON (1-1)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., Husky Stadium
Television: FSN. Radio: 950-AM.
The series: Tied 1-1. Washington won 49-14 in 1979 and lost 35-16 in 2004. Both games were played in Seattle.
What to watch: Both offenses feature tailbacks ranked near the top of Division I-A. Fresno's Dwayne Wright ranks third nationally with an average of 157 yards per game; UW's Louis Rankin ranks eighth with a 128.5-yard average. ... Washington quarterback Isiah Stanback is coming off a poor performance in which he was pulled late in favor of Carl Bonnell, who led a TD drive. UW coaches insist there is no quarterback controversy, but the only way to fully stop one from developing is for Stanback to produce. … Washington has outscored its first two opponents 34-22 in the first halves, but has been outscored 44-21 in the second.
What's at stake: Both teams are 1-1 and understand the vast difference between starting the season 2-1 and 1-2. Washington's hopes of six wins and a bowl invitation rise or fall considerably with today's result. As a non-BSC school, Fresno's dream of a BCS bowl may have disappeared with the lost to Oregon last weekend, but hopes of even a national ranking will dim considerably with a loss today.
Pick: Fresno, 34-24. Washington has been shaky in the second half of both games so far. Nothing short of four good quarters will be enough against these Bulldogs.