Dawgs looking to put "Wuz" in Wazzu
How the Huskies and Cougars match up statistically
By: Malamute, Posted 21 November 2002

Looking to put the "Wuz" in Wazzu and its lofty ranking, Washington (6-5, 3-4) takes on the third-ranked team in the nation, WSU (9-1, 6-0), at Martin Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the Apple Cup. The game matches two offensive juggernauts, the numbers one and two offenses in the Pac-10. Washington leads the Pac-10 in passing offense and is second in total offense. WSU leads the Pac-10 in total offense and is third in pass offense. The Cougars are second in the conference in putting points on the board.

Of the five major statistical categories shown below, WSU wins, 3-1-1, and, in the 20 subcategories, it wins out in 13 of them. (See Table 1).

Of those 20 statistical categories shown below, Washington has an average Pac-10 ranking of 5.65, and Washington State has an average ranking of 4.4. Of the teams they've played thus far, the Huskies' opponents have won 54% of their games and the Cougs' opponents have won a like amount, 54% of their games.  If the rankings (5.65 to 4.4) are normalized by the opponents' loss percentages (the smallest number is best), the Cougars have a statistical edge, 2.024 to 2.599, i.e., ((4.4*.46=2.024) versus (5.65*.46=2.599)). 

Washington State's normalized Pac-10 ranking is 78% of Washington's: 2.024/2.599=.78. Since smallest is best, their ranking is 22% better than the Dawgs'. The Huskies' average experience level is 1.63 years, while the Cougars average 1.86 years per man. (Collegio).

WSU is a 7-1/2 point favorite. It's just the seventh time in 46 years the Cougars have been favored to win over the Huskies. Game time is set for 3:30 P.M., and it will be televised by Fox. The forecast is for partly cloudy skies, with an afternoon temperature of 42 degrees. Rain is not expected.

Both teams should be highly motivated.

Washington State's ranking is the highest in school history and, if they should win on Saturday, can clinch the Pac-10 title and a potential Rose Bowl berth. WSU should be well-rested after a bye week.

The Huskies, on the other hand, can turn around what otherwise has been a disappointing season thus far with a win on Saturday, the outcome of which would knock the Cougars from their lofty ranking and force them to win against UCLA to clinch a Rose Bowl berth.

The Cougars have allowed just 80 rushing yards rushing in their last three games, while Washington ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rushing.

The Dawgs have nothing to lose, while, er ah, the Cougs have everything to lose, which is as unusual for them as a column written by Art Thiel without a metaphor in it.

The Huskies can make the Cougars' task much more daunting by throwing caution to the wind and testing the Cougars' rushing defense with an option attack, the likes of which have been missing  this season--at least, up to last week's game against Oregon. Stopping Rich Alexis when he gets to the outside and has room to run is like stopping an 18 wheeler running down hill.

Throw out the stats; the resurgent Dawgs should win a squeaker and extend their winning streak to three.

Prediction: Washington 31, WUZZU 28

 Table 1. How they stand in the Pac-10

Category UW Pac WSU Pac
1. BALL CONTROL        
Time of Possession 33:04 2nd  27:21 9th
Rushing Offense 82.3 9th  135.2 5th
Passing Offense 351.0 1st  299.9 3rd
Rushing Defense 95.4 4th 91.6 3rd
Passing Defense 258.5 8th 245.6 6th
Pass Efficiency Defense 127.8 6th 110.6 4th
Pass Efficiency Offense 136.1 5th 147.5 1st
Total Offense 433.3 2nd 435.1 1st
Total Defense 353.9 5th 337.2 4th
3. MISTAKES        
Penalties 50.4 1st 69.8 6th
Turnover Margin (all games) -2 8th +1 6th
Kickoff Returns 19.5 6th 18.4 7th
Punt Returns 6.7 9th 11.3 4th
Punting (Net Per Punt) 34.1 8th 36.8 2nd
Kickoff Coverage 22.3 7th 18.7 3rd
Field Goals .727 4th .667 7th
Red Zone Offense 80.4% 5th 72.5% 10th
Red Zone Defense 85.3% 9th 71.4% 2nd
Points For 31.4 7th 34.3 2nd
Points Against 25.6 7th 20.6 3rd
Average Finish in the Pac-10   5.65   4.4



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