Gameday dawns: Checking the San Francisco Chronicle this morning, it seems like Stanford is veiwing this as a very big game... clearly because they think it's a potential win they don't want to let get away. No one quite said anything that could reasonably make bulletin board material, but clearly coach Jim Harbaugh and QB Tavita Pritchard think Stanford is going against someone of their own level and some who -- if they play well -- they should beat. Especially at home.
1:15 p.m.: Just arrived at the stadium ... a bit earlier than usual because I wanted to check out the new stadium. The first impression is very good.
The place doesn't look much different from the outside ... it coudn't, because it's mostly built into a berm. But inside, it looks like it is instantly the most fan-friendsly stadium in the Pac-10. The stands seem to be built as close to the field as Qwest Field ... maybe even closer. And with those tight stands going completely around the field, it has the feeling of an outdoor basektball arena built around a football field instead of a court.
The press box is also a big upgrade over previous.
I'm about to go take a walk around, but the first impression is dazzling.
Finally: Let's plan for the usual gameday drill: I'll report in here with pregame notes as they trickle in, file quarterly updates during the game, then turn it over to you for postgame discussion before popping back in with notes and quotes from the lockerroom.
1:40: UW sports information staff confirms that tailback J.R. Hasty was not part of the traveling party on this trip.
2:15 p.m.: Let me say this one more time: Wow. This stadium is amazing. It is a testament to the need for UW doing whatever it needs to do to remove the track as part of the Husky Stadium renovation. I have never -- never, not even in Qwest Field -- seen a stadium with the seating so close to the field. On the lower and second levels, the fans are amazingly close to the action. Inside, the main concourse is laid out like Safeco Field, where you need never lose sight of the field. The concession stands and restrooms seems new and ample. And the place has a smaller footprint than the old stadium, which leaves undisturbed the nice exterior parklike feel, which had always been this place's greatest charm. The place doesn't have tradition, and it doesn't have rabid fans. But now it seems to have pretty much everything money can buy. And in this case, the money seems well spent.
2:45: One other thing my little walk around the stadium drove home: It's warm out there. It's gotta be mid- to upper 70s. As I write this, about 95 percept of the field is in full sun. That should shink as the 3:30 kickoff nears, but neither of these teams are long on depth, so the heat could figure in.
3:30: Check that. We've just been told gametime temperature is 81 degrees. (However, most of the field is now in shadow
3:35 Today's UW captains are Anthony Russo, Greyson Gunheim, Louis Rankin and Jordan Reffett.
Huskies won the toss and will receive.