So now we turn our focus on to Washington...
I think everyone knows that this is a big game for a few reasons. The most obvious is SC going up against its former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and former defensive coordinator Nick Holt. The other reason this game is a big deal is because it is the opening of the Pac-10 slate and with SC coming off that huge emotional win in Columbus some are worried of a classic USC let down.
Some might be concerned about the health of Matt Barkley, that is legitimate, but Aaron Corp is ready to go so that concern to me is minimal. Taylor Mays will be in the line up as well even with a slightly sprained knee. There is no way that Mays is going to miss playing in front of his home town fans one final time.
Washington, as we all have seen has seen some down times in the past few years. The reasons are really not that big a deal we all know what we have seen...
But with Sarkisian at the helm there has been a resurgence in UW's attitude both with the team and with the fan base. That is a good thing. The Pac-10 needs its other teams to step up and be contenders.
Of course many have already noted that UW is a USC lit at this point. Sarkisian obviously has used his USC experience to shape the program into a more competetive team as we saw against LSU and Idaho. I am sure watching film from either team will be like looking in the mirror for both Carroll and Sarkisian. It is pretty clear that Sarlisian is already molding UW's offense more in the NFL mold...why not it was what he did at SC so why not go with what you know. Sarkisian has some flaws, just like Pete Carroll, in some of his play calling. Stanford and Oregon in 2007 come to mind as does the obious playcalling against Texas in the closing minutes of that game.
But that was then and this is now.
Sarkisian's trek up north is his chance to not only solidify his own legacy but also the Pete Carroll coaching tree. A successful Steve Sarkisian only shows just how good Pete Carroll's system is. Sarkisian claims he is not really interested in the Peyton Place aspect of his move, that it is just about football...
Pete Carroll began his teleconference with Seattle media Monday congratulating Steve Sarkisian for getting the Washington program "turned so quickly."
Sarkisian ended his by stating that he thinks the job Carroll has done at USC "is one of the best, if not the best, runs in college football history."
And so began old home week for the Washington Huskies as they prepare to face USC, the program they are now emulating after hiring away Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Nick Holt and three other staffers.
Carroll recalled how Sarkisian helped him redesign the USC offense after their first year together in 2001, a 6-6 season. The following season, the Trojans went 10-2 and Carson Palmer won the Heisman Trophy and the current USC dynasty was on.
"We never had issues about anything," Carroll said. "We were really, really connected on all that stuff. It was a very, very good relationship."
Carroll said he thought all along that Sarkisian would make a good head coach and had no qualms about him taking the Washington job.
"Whoever thought that [there might be hard feelings] doesn't understand," Carroll said. "When our guys come through this program, they know I'll do everything in my power to help them get the job of their dreams. I'll compete like crazy, try and support them and help them prepare and all of that, battle for them when the time comes, and that is exactly what this is an illustration of. In essence, I couldn't be more happy for these guys. It's the opposite of what somebody might think."
Yeah, well all that goes out the window on Saturday.
And don't be fooled, Nick Holt on the other hand is completely different matter...
Many will understand Holt's desire to get out of the shadow of Pete Carroll...it is his chance to spread his wings and make his own name in the college game but many will point to the way Holt handled it. It would appear that he maybe he wasn't as honest with Carroll in his intentions and that left a bad taste in many people's mouths. To me it is immaterial but don't think that that could be a bit of motivation for Pete Carroll.
Here is a little more on Polk...We may look at this again later...
I don't think SC will fall into the trap of of a let down because of who is on the sidelines across the field. The want to win this game so that UW won't be able to get any leverage against SC out on the recruting trail.
It is going to be a fun week!