By JOHN SLEEPER
SEATTLE – Don’t chide Nancy Paus for hoping UCLA whips Washington Saturday at Husky Stadium.
After all, her son, Cory, is the Bruins’ starting quarterback.
But next year, everything changes. Her other son, Casey, a quarterback from Lincoln-Way High School in New Lenox, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play at Washington next year.
Which team do you root for then, Ma?
“God knows,” she said. “I imagine we’ll be wearing a lot of different colors that day.”
Realistically, the Paus brothers have only an outside chance of actively competing against each other anytime soon. Cory is a redshirt sophomore, and Casey would either have to start next year or the year after in order to have a brother vs. brother matchup.
When Casey Paus enters Washington next fall, he will be in a free-for-all to replace the graduated Marques Tuiasosopo. As of now, the spot appears to be between sophomore Cody Pickett or junior J.K. Scott. Also on the roster is Ryan Porter, a JC transfer who is redshirting this season.
Also coming in for next season is Taylor Barton, who is playing at San Francisco City College after playing one season at Colorado under now-Washington coach Rick Neuheisel. Barton will have the added competitive advantage of entering Washington in time for spring practice and may pass Scott for the backup spot.
Since losing 39-10 to Oregon, a game in which Oregon pulled away in the fourth quarter, the Bruins are 3-1 in the next four games, all whose winning margins have been eight points or fewer. In the 46-38 loss to California, the Bears and Bruins took the game into the third overtime.
“We could easily be 8-1 ourselves, or even 9-0,” Bruins coach Bob Toledo said. “We both have the ability to win close games.”
UCLA also has the art of the comeback in common with Washington. The Bruins have trailed in the first quarter of all nine of their games this season and have rallied to win six times. UCLA rallied from 14 points down against Cal, only to lose.
“I laugh at people who talk about ugly wins,” Toledo said. “They’re all close in the Pac-10. We’ve all got good teams, and the offenses have just gone crazy this year.”
But the apparent anomaly can be explained, in part, with the teams’ non-conference foes.
The BCS rates the Huskies’ schedule – which includes non-conference foes Idaho, Miami and Colorado – as the fourth-toughest in the nation. Washington won all three of its non-conference games, the most impressive of which came against Miami, third in the BCS and second in both major polls.
Oregon, on the other hand, is 2-1 in its non-conference games, including a 27-23 loss at Wisconsin. The Ducks also played Idaho and Nevada in a schedule rated 16th in the country.
In addition, the Bruins are practicing with wet footballs to prepare for the anticipated soggy conditions.
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