I'm glad this is the last game of Round 1, because these headline puns are getting harder to come up with every game. Anyway, welcome to the final game of the first round of the inaugural and final Avezanno Cup, where we use the finest revisionist history tools known to mankind to determine The Worst Pac-10/12 Team Of All Time Where All Time is Defined As The Past Sixteen Seasons (or TWPTOATWATIDATPSS, if you're the acronymical type).
If you're just joining us, the original concept is outlined here. Previous Round One games are here: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention where I
stole the idea from received great inspiration for the concept.
The big mystery in this game: The Mistake on Montlake qualified four teams for the Cup, but so far, only one has made it to the quarterfinals. UW has one more chance to join OSU and WSU with multiple representatives in the quarters.. but it won't be a walkunder. Ty Willingham's 2005 team has its hands full of suck, facing the sadly immortal 2006 Stanford Cardinal Sin.
Who will fail to prevail? Are you as excited as I am? Really? That's funny, I don't remember telling you how excited I was. Is that you in the corner of the room? Did you just move the curtain? Would you at least go get me another beer if you want to hang out? Grab one for yourself and pull up a beanbag chair, as we continue after the jump....
How They Got Here
#7 2006 Stanford (1-11 / 1-8)
PTS/G: 10.6 (118th of 119) ▪ Opp PTS/G: 31.4 (108th of 119)
SRS: -8.73 (98th of 119) ▪ SOS: 8.87 (1st of 119)
One of these men is veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton. The other is veteran college football coach Walt Harris. Can you tell who is who? (Hint: One of them has a football field in the background.)
The '06 Cardinal was a historically, hysterically inept team, led by one of those coaches who lucked into his dream job only to find it a bloody nightmare. It's hard to make Buddy Teevens look like Bear Bryant in retrospect, but Harris pulled it off. Pushed out at Pitt after coaching the Panthers to one of those "well, they won the Big East so I guess we have to give them a BCS bid" BCS bids -- his agent had gone public with his belief that Pitt wasn't one of the top 20 jobs in the country; the nerve of that guy! -- Harris was hired over Norm Chow, which tells you something about the level of chlorine in that coaching pool.
Card fans had an inkling something was amiss during the 2005 season, when Stanford somehow managed to lose to UC-Davis; but they still managed to win five games with Teevens' leftovers.
Then 2006 arrived and, hello, epic suckitude! That Stanford played the nation's toughest schedule is scant succor; it's hard to sugar coat eleven losses, scoring barely ten points per game, outscored by three TDs per game. Add to that the ignominy of putting one of the nation's worst football teams in one of the nation's most beautiful settings, the newly remodeled Stanford Stadium, which was still half empty for most games despite the seating capacity having been decreased by over 40,000.
This was the "crowd" for homecoming:
The season's lone highlight, a 20-7 win at Washington, where Stanford hadn't won since 1975, got the Card off the schneid; it was their first win in 364 days, and the last under Harris, who was sacked after the Big Game, replaced by Jim Harbaugh. The rest, as usual, is history.
Harris's legacy: He managed to land Toby Gerhart as a recruit.
#10 2005 Washington (2-9 / 1-7)
PTS/G: 21.5 (91st of 119) ▪ Opp PTS/G: 30.6 (91st of 119)
SRS: -3.12 (75th of 119) ▪ SOS: 6.32 (16th of 119)
Did UW hire Ty Willingham because he had proven an ability to beat Oregon?
Twilly was 2-1 against the Ducks while at Stanford, and the 2001 win at Autzen had cost Oregon a shot at the BCS title game. And legend has it that Rick Neuheisel had been hired for the same reason. There had to have been a good reason to hire a fired coach, right? Some said Notre Dame never would have let Ty go but for a misguided attempt to lure Urban Meyer to South Bend. And if George OLeary hadn't fudged his resume, Ty might be coaching somewhere in the MAC right now.
Instead, Ty failed up.
The Husky Football Franchise had fallen on hard times, to be sure, but in Montlake there was a sense that it was just a matter of time until the ship was righted and the natural order of the universe restored. After all, Neuheisel wasn't a bad coach, just kind of an arrogant dickwad who was unjustly terminated. And Keith Gilbertson was a stopgap measure, a legacy returned home at the tail end of his career to help his alma mater. Then, who should drop into president Mark Emmert and AD Todd Turner's laps but the unjustly fired and conveniently black head coach from the greatest college football program in history! Pennies from heaven, right?
Derek Johnson, author of Bow Down To Willingham, put it this way:
Had Emmert conducted due diligence and talked to people from Notre Dame, he would have heard stories of an arrogant and incompetent coach who exerted little effort in recruiting and golfed multiple times a week during the football season.
Ty must have had a good time on the links in 2005. The Huskies weren't the worst team in America, but they were pretty bad. They had seven home games but won only one, against Idaho. There was an unfortunately timed rematch with Notre Dame; Ty's old team beat his new team by three touchdowns. The only other win was a shocker, over a confoundingly inept Arizona team that had just beaten #7 UCLA 52-14. Along the way, Twilly was putting together a resume of suckitude remarkably similar to his predecessor.. 45-21 at Oregon.. 56-17 to Cal.. 51-24 to USC; losses to ranked teams, not totally unexpected. But losses.
But if you're going to start a season by losing at home to Air Force, why not cap it by losing the Apple Cup at home, in spectacular fashion? Why not indeed.
BENZDUCK'S LINE: 2005 Washington -10 .. Yes, the huskies were bad, but they could at least score points; Stanford was just monumentally horrible in 2006.
|Final - 8/28/2012||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Total|
|2006 Stanford Cardinal||0||0||0||0||0|
|2005 Washington Huskies||3||7||14||17||41|
Wow, I didn't see this as a blowout. Toby Gerhart apparently wasn't Toby Gerhart yet, and any defense that makes Isaiah Stanback look like RG3 is the stuff of legend, and a solid Avezzano Cup favorite going forward.
So, the Beavs and Cougs each land two entries in the quarterfinals.. but Washington, despite qualifying a full 1/4 of the bracket, only manages to send one team to the next round. There may never have been a greater immoral victory.
Stay tuned for the quarterfinals! The games promise to be real barnsmolderers.