The Washington Huskies are working hard to prepare for their first bowl appearance in eight years. They play Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl next Thursday, December 30th, in San Diego.
Sports commentator Art Thiel shared with KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick the many reasons why this game is such a big deal for Washington and not for Nebraska.
Listen to Art Thiel and Kirsten Kendrick's conversation by clicking the audio 'play' arrow above
Nebraska fans don't appear to be too excited about this game – only 7,000 of the team's 11,000 allotted tickets have been sold. Art says Nebraska can’t take this bowl game seriously because they clobbered the Huskies 56-21 on September 18th at Husky Stadium.
The Huskies, on the other hand, have pretty much exhausted their inventory of tickets. Art says UW is excited and “dead serious” about getting a second chance at Nebraska in a bowl game. He says they’ve been tight-lipped at practice and appear to be working on a surprise strategy. And Husky quarterback Jake Locker has had time to heal his broken ribs and come back refreshed.
Art says this is a big deal for Washington. They went 0-12 just two years ago and now they’re in their first bowl game in eight years - in coach Steve Sarkisian’s just second year on the job.
And Art says UW did it with the second toughest schedule in the country. They ended the season 6-6 but they faced nine Pac-10 opponents, and all three of their non-conference opponents made it to bowl games.
“They really did have a tough grind. They survived it. And now they’ve got 15 practices to make something special happen (in) the Holiday Bowl and I think it’s going to be a really close, competitive game.”
Nevertheless, Art predicts Nebraska will win the game 38-35. He says the talent disparity between these teams is still going to be large. He thinks Nebraska will have the physical edge and UW will have the emotional edge.
“And if they get lucky with a special teams touchdown or something, it could be one of the great upsets in Washington football history. Either way, this is going to be a dandy.”
You can find Art Thiel's work at his new website Sportspress Northwest.