Washington Huskies Football: Have We Witnessed The Rebirth Of Excellence?

Brad HinkleContributor IDecember 31, 2010

This could be a very common sight for Duck fans very soon.
This could be a very common sight for Duck fans very soon.Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Washington Huskies have finally done it.

It took us a three-game winning streak at the end of the regular season just to become bowl eligible, but the Washington Huskies really did it.

It took us a decade, but we finally got back to a bowl game and shut down the Nebraska Cornhuskers 19-7.

It wasn't a thing of beauty; it wasn't offensive dominance, but our defense, which seemed to be fueled by the ghosts of the 1991-1992 team, that shut down a Nebraska rushing attack that humiliated it in Seattle earlier this year.

The Huskers simply had nowhere to run because Mason Foster was everywhere and the rest of the defense was where he wasn't. We sacked the opposing quarterbacks five times and knocked starting QB Taylor Martinez out of the game quickly in the third quarter.

I was overcome with cheer, so overcome that I couldn't part ways with the game once we went up 7-0 early in the game; I was actually toting a radio around with me just so I could hear the game, I went to a place that I knew would show the game just so I could see it.

The best part about that was that the radio was about 5-7 seconds faster than the television, so I knew what was going to happen before the rest of the restaurant—take that technology.

What we all witnessed, in the span of two years, was one of the worst teams in Division 1 college football history become a bowl winner and do so against a very legitimate opponent.

Montlake Jake gave us all scares early in the game when he was hit in the head; I was cringing at the sight of it and worried that he wouldn't be able to finish, but our local legend persevered and was back in the game by our next possession. He wasn't doing anything too pretty throwing the ball, but the effort was still more efficient and productive than his last, especially considering things like the glorious 25 yard rushing touchdown.

It wasn't pretty, but we got the job done and in the end, that is all that matters.

Next year, we will be walking into the new Pac-12 with aspirations of greater heights, but we will have to fill the void at quarterback before we can honestly expect super improvement. You can't just lose your best offensive weapon, your leader and expect to turn around and continue to preform at a high level—ask the Florida Gators.

However, we have two highly respectable candidates with high upsides in Keith Price and son-of-legend Nick Montana waiting to take the reigns, and there is even the outside chance that Joseph Gray shocks everyone, though I find it unlikely.

Next year, our defense will lose Mason Foster but will be more experienced and better for it overall; I expect great things as far as improvement is concerned and believe that it won't be as easy to blow us out in the future, if the shut down we laid on the Huskers is any indication.

Of course, next year we will be playing Nebraska again, where hopefully I won't have to listen to half of that game over AM waves.

I doubt Bo Pelini will be able to say, "It's not what they're doing right, it's what we're doing wrong" next time either. Try to not underestimate us again, or we may put on a show that even your fans in Lincoln would be able to appreciate.

UW Huskies, your 2010 Holiday Bowl champions. Bask in the glory and bow down to the Dawgs.