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Double drag likely this weekend for Hawks and Huskies fans

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
NFL referee Bill Leavy at a Seattle practice last year, where he admitted making bad calls in the Seahawks' loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. Leavy is working Sunday's Seahawks/Steelers game - where the Hawks are 14-point underdogs.

This might not be the best weekend to be a Seahawks or Husky fan. Both teams are big underdogs in road games against major football powerhouses.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel can't recall a time when both teams were so heavily favored to lose in the same weekend.

Huskers want revenge from Huskies

The University of Washington Huskies are 17-point underdogs in their game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday. Nebraska is all too familiar to Washington. The Huskies lost to Huskers a year ago, 56-21. But UW won 19-7 when the two teams met in the Holiday Bowl a few months later.

Art says their frequent matchups are unusual.

"This is the first time this has happened outside of the years around World War II where Washington has played one opponent three times in a calendar year. Washington is 2-0 yet a 17-point underdog; Nebraska is 10th ranked in the country and they are spoiling for revenge."

Seahawks predicted to lose big to Steelers

This Sunday's game in Pittsburg is just the second time the Seahawks and Steelers  have met since Super Bowl XL five years ago. The Steelers won 21-10 amid several controversial calls (more on that in a moment).

Art says the Steelers are a football powerhouse and the Seahawks are possibly the worst team in the NFL this year, mainly due to their young offensive line. But even he didn't expect the Hawks to be 14-point underdogs in the game.

"That almost never happens in the NFL because the league is structured for competitive balance, so that every year the least has at least some hope and the best teams sometime decay quickly. You rarely see spreads in the NFL beyond 10 points."

Return of controversial referee

To add insult to injury, the referee who made several controversial calls in the Steelers' Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks will be officiating in this Sunday's matchup.

When Leavy came to Seattle last year to talk about new NFL rules, he issued an unexpected apology. The Seattle Times' Danny O'Neil wrote that Leavy admitted he "kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and impacted the game."

Art jokes that this COULD work to the Seahawks' advantage.

"Maybe the only hope in this weekend is that Bill Leavy has such a conscience that he feels he owes Seattle one. And this would be a great weekend for a payback."

You can read more on this topic from Art Thiel at Sportspress Northwest.

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