Hello Steve Sarkisian. This is your mission if you choose to accept it.
I introduce your week two opponent.
The LSU Tigers are one of best teams in the nation. Currently they are ranked three in the latest AP poll. Since 2001 the Tigers have finished in the AP top 10 seven times. Over that same time period, LSU has been dominant at home. How dominant?
Over the past 11 seasons, the Tigers have lost a total of 10 games at home. That’s an average of less than one a year. Four of those seasons LSU went undefeated in Baton Rouge. Five of those seasons the Bayou Bengals dropped one home game. In fact, the past eleven years have seen the Tigers lose more than one home game only twice. In 2008 LSU lost three games at home, and in 2001 they lost two.
Tiger Stadium aka Death Valley is loud. Former Alabama legend Bear Bryant made the analogy of playing in the stadium to being inside of a drum. ESPN declared in 2007 that Tiger Stadium was the “scariest” place to play.
It doesn’t stop there. Similar sentiments have been published in The Sporting News, Gannett News Service, and Sport Magazine.
Oh then there is this; The last non conference loss the Tigers suffered at home was in 2000 to Alabama-Birmingham. Since that time, no non-SEC team has bested LSU in Baton Rouge. Of those ten SEC losses at home, six were to top ten ranked opponents.
Current head coach Les Miles has yet to lose a non conference game at home posting a 28-0 record if you need it.
Sweating yet Steve? If the 93 thousand plus rabid fans aren’t enough to rattle you, how about the team you’ll be on the field with?
The Tigers are ferocious on defense in a conference known for producing the best defense in the land. Four LSU defenders were tabbed as First-Team All SEC at the conference media days. One of those defenders is no longer on the team, in cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.
Think you are getting a break? Think again. Fellow defensive back Eric Reid has also received first team accolades. Therold Simon received Third-Team honors in the defensive backfield. Overall, LSU has six First-Team All-SEC players.
In the SEC, players are fast. I’m not talking about receivers and corners. Barkevious Mingo has been clocked at running a 4.4 40. Not bad for a wide-out or running back. Except he’s a defensive lineman. Even punter Brad Wing is a First-Team All-American. His best known highlight? Not a punt, a fake punt in which he outran Florida defenders to the endzone.
Giving the Tigers any extra motivation on Saturday would be similar to kicking a bear in the testicles. Not a smart move. Huskies star quarterback Keith Price didn’t get the memo. Price admitted that LSU was good but told a reporter that his squad was not to be overlooked,
But we will be on our A game. Trust me.
More bad news. UW lost running back Jesse Callier and defensive end Hau’oli Jamora for the season. Offensive tackle Ben Riva is out indefinitely.
In order to pull off this gargantuan upset here is what the Huskies must accomplish:
1. Zero turnovers. Don’t do it. Don’t think about it.
2. Create turnovers. You might want to create at least three, giving Price and the offense a short field.
3. Win special teams. A punt return would be nice to go along with a blocked field goal attempt, while keeping the Tigers from any big plays in the return game.
4. Find Austin Seferian-Jenkins. UW’s own version of the Law Firm is a big pass-catching tight end that could be the Huskies best offensive advantage. Price needs to use the 6’6″ pass-catcher to bail him out.
5. Get lucky. Rub a rabbit foot, eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, pray to Zeus, Jesus, Tom Cruise, and Oprah. A fortunate bounce of the ball, a bad call that goes the Huskies way, something along those lines is needed.
Coach Sarkisian. This is your mission if you choose to accept it.
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America
You can follow James on Twitter as well.