2011 Alamo Bowl Preview
Baylor Bears vs Washington Huskies
If you want to watch a fun football game this bowl season and you want to catch it before 2011 ends, you want to tune in to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. When the Baylor Bears and Washington Huskies get together inside the Alamodome, it is likely that a calculator will be needed to keep up with the frenetic pace that should be established by each of the two offenses in this event.
First, a word is about the Washington team that will represent the Pac-12 in the Lone Star State: The Huskies might be just 7-5, but one year ago, they took the field as a double-digit underdog in another game against a Big 12 foe and proceeded to surprise the experts. Coach Steve Sarkisian’s club was a two-touchdown underdog against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. The game marked the end of Nebraska’s last go-round as a member of the Big 12 before the school’s jump to the Big Ten. The pundits said Nebraska would roll – the Huskers had whacked the Huskies earlier that season in Seattle – but in the unique realm of bowl world, Washington stood supreme. The Huskies bottled up the Huskers’ running game all night long and, with superior lineplay, scored a 19-7 upset that actually felt like a far more decisive vanquishing of Big Red. Washington might have been mediocre during the 2010 regular season, but in the bowl-game spotlight, the Huskies found new energy and managed to flourish as a result. They overwhelmed a Nebraska team which wasn’t expecting such electricity from the other side of the line of scrimmage.
This year, the setup is oh-so-similar for Washington. The Huskies drifted through a 7-5 season in which they wilted in November. Quarterback Keith Price got sidelined because of exacerbated injuries to his knees, which have never been entirely free of pain this season. Backup Nick Montana was unable to lead UW to a win over Oregon State, and it became clear that the Huskies missed their main man under center. However, UW will have Price back in action for the Alamo Bowl, and as a result, the Huskies figure to be able to pitch the ball around the ballpark against a Baylor defense that got torched by both Oklahoma State (59 points) and Texas A&M (55). Partly as a function of its own offense and partly as a result of Baylor’s porous secondary, Washington should be able to score in bunches.
Then there’s the other side of this fireworks-filled matchup.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III is merely on his way to winning the John Heisman Memorial Trophy. The stellar signal caller enabled Baylor to beat Oklahoma for the first time in school history, and he also led BU to nine wins for the first time in the program’s existence since 1986, when the Bears were coached by the iconic Grant Teaff. Griffin has taken Baylor to rare heights with his awesome combination of blistering footspeed and a souped-up rifle arm. The Bears can score from any point on the field as long as Griffin is healthy. He will have a month off to prepare for this game, which means that Washington’s mediocre defense – hammered by USC and Stanford this season – will be in for a long day.
Washington should victimize Baylor’s defense. Robert Griffin should eviscerate Washington’s linebackers and secondary. Yes, you should expect a lot of points in San Antonio; if 75 total points aren’t attained in this tilt, you should be very disappointed when all is said and done.
By: Matt Zemek
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