There’s some optimism about the State of Washington’s schools in their bowl games, but that optimism appears guarded.
The college football bowl season begins Friday, and both of Washington’s FBS schools are playing in bowls: The Washington Huskies take on the Boise State Broncos in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, the Washington State Cougars face the Air Force Falcons in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 27 in Phoenix.
Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on how the Huskies and Cougars will fare in their bowls. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Washington (7-5) faces Boise State (12-1) in the Las Vegas Bowl. Washington State (6-6) faces Air Force (10-2) in the Cheez-It Bowl. How do these State of Washington schools fare? Full context, including a look at their seasons, here: https://t.co/ChmEPjgOao
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) December 16, 2019
Add it all up and vote is pretty even across the board, with a slight tilt toward success. The most votes went toward both UW and WSU winning, but at 33 percent it was a low percentage for a four-choice poll. Coming in second was UW winning and WSU losing, which received 29 percent. Third place was both teams losing at 20 percent, while 18 percent predicted a WSU victory and a UW loss.
So the vote totals leaned toward the state schools. However, I know the tendency in these polls is that the vote skews toward the local teams. The fact that 47 percent of the voters think at least one team is going to lose and 20 percent believe both will, at least to me, is actually a somewhat pessimistic outlook.
Under normal circumstances I don’t think this would be the case. Washington an Washington State play in the Pac-12. which is a Power Five conference, while Boise State and Air Force are both in the Mountain West Conference, which isn’t. The Huskies and Cougars, when they’re bowl-caliber teams, should beat teams from the MWC. Granted, Boise State is a special case because of its long history as a power mid-major, and both the Broncos (12-1) and Falcons (10-2) have superior records to the Huskies (7-5) and Cougars (6-6). But I suspect in a different year these match-ups generate voting that’s considerably more favorable to UW and WSU.
Another thing the voting reveals is that there’s a little more belief in the Huskies than the Cougars, given the 11-percentage point difference between the UW win/WSU loss and WSU win/UW loss options. This could be a product of Washington thrashing Washington State in the Apple Cup yet again, it could be a product of us being on the west side of the Cascades and there being more Husky fans among the voters than Cougar fans.
But I’m an admitted Husky guy, and I have to say I have no more faith in UW beating Boise State than I do in WSU beating Air Force. Just the name Boise State scares the heck out of me, and that would be the case even if Washington had a good year. The Huskies didn’t, and I continue to be baffled that the Huskies are a 3.5-point favorite over a team that’s ranked No. 18 in the nation when Washington is unranked.
As for the Cougs, I really have no idea who should be favored — Air Force, with Glacier Peak High School graduate Mosese Fifita spearheading the defense, remains a 3-point favorite. However, I think it’s going to be amusing seeing Mike Leach’s reaction to the Falcons using up all of the clock with their triple-option running game. I have to think the time of possession in this one is going to be two-to-one in favor of the Falcons, even if WSU wins.
Anyway, the first two bowls take place Friday, and there are 16 Snohomish County natives who are on the rosters of bowl participants, so you may want to pay extra attention to those games.