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A good week for Huskies, Cougs fans: Predictions for their season openers

The Cougars open the season at home against Montana State on Saturday, Sept 2 (AP)

If you’re like me, you can’t wait for the start of the Husky football season! I’m being totally honest. I say this because I’m sick of the preseason hype about Chris Petersen’s team. Once the season starts, at least we can shift from preseason hype to in-season hype. If I weren’t a Coug, I would understand why so many people think the Huskies will return to the Final Four this year. Objectively speaking, the Dawgs appear to be loaded again and are worthy of their top-10 ranking.

But as a Coug, I’ve heard way more than I want to about the Huskies. The only good thing about their supposed greatness? It will be even more beautiful than usual when they don’t live up to the high expectations. Anything short of 13-0 and a national championship will be a letdown for Husky fans. I’ll look forward to their first loss at Stanford followed by their second loss to the Cougs and a third loss in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

O’Neil: Huskies’ expectations higher than they’ve been in 20 years

In the meantime, I have to personally endure a new feature at our station called “Washington Wednesdays.” On every show, every Wednesday, at some point we’ll be talking about the Huskies. And it’s not just on Wednesdays, we plan to talk about the Huskies more than we ever have before.

I get it, there’s a lot of interest in the Dawgs. So it makes sense to ramp up coverage of their team. But trust me, every time I hear Brock Huard and Danny O’Neil gloat about the Huskies, I will make a mental note of it and counter with Coug chatter to give our team equal time.

Before I give you my predictions for the week, I want to welcome Tony Castricone to Seattle. He’s the new voice of the Huskies, replacing the retiring Bob Rondeau, who hands down is the best play-by-play man in town. Castricone will call Husky basketball games this season and then also take over as the football play-by-play man next year. And what a year that will be! The 2018 Husky football season will be the best ever! I’m using exclamation points because everyone always writes stories and talks about things that happened 10 years ago. And in 2018, that means we can relive the glory days of 2008 when the Dawgs went 0-12, a benchmark achievement for the program, a record that has never been posted by the Cougs. In 2018, I’ll look forward to reminiscing on Washington Wednesdays, sifting through the Tyrone Willingham era, no doubt tearing up when I go over the details from each blowout loss.

On to the picks:

Washington at Rutgers (UW favored by 27 1/2): The Huskies will play without Azeem Victor and Austin Joyner because they violated team rules. It matters to Coach Pete, but it shouldn’t matter in this game. The Dawgs will win anyway, but will they cover the spread? Rutgers coach Chris Ash led the Scarlet Knights to a 2-10 record in his first season. His offense was the worst in the country, averaging 15.7 points a game. Kyle Bolin, a transfer from Louisville, is the new quarterback. Maybe he’ll make a difference down the road. On Friday night he won’t, not against a rugged Husky defense. Picking with my head instead of my heart in this one. Dawgs 45, Rutgers 0.

Montana State at Washington State (WSU favored by 34 1/2): I know what you’re wondering – are the Cougs going to lose a season opener to an inferior opponent again? They’re 0-5 in first games under Mike Leach. Nope, not gonna happen this year. If it does, feel free to Tweet all the memes and GIFs you want to me, and I’ll probably reply with an “Oh well” and think to myself: “For all the smack I write, I deserved that.” Cougs 61, Montana State 13.