university of washington blog

UW Huskies football history: *My* five heartbreaking moments in time

Top Dawgs once

Many a moment I can remember as a child sitting in front of the TV screen watching my Washington Huskies beat the crap out of their opponent.

From a weaker Pac-10, to those Rose Bowl appearances, the Huskies were once the pride of Seattle. But all that seemed to change the minute the great Don James left town.

It has been a long time since the Huskies were the talk of the town, but one day I really do believe we will rise to the top again, and unseat those ugly Ducks of Oregon for pacific northwest supremacy.

Here is my top 5 heartbreaking Huskies moments

#5: 1993 Rose Bowl vs. Michigan

This was a game the Huskies had, and they let it slip right through their paws.

A close one still, but Michigan pulled out the victory 38-31 thanks in part to future NFL flops Elvis Grbac, and Tyrone Wheatley.

The Huskies had the lead at halftime of this game, 21-17, but then Wheatley went to work on us. An 88 yard TD run pulled the sails out from under us defensively, and there was nothing that Mark Brunell could do to get us back.

This was the year we were trying for our third consecutive Rose Bowl win, so the lost was that much more devastating to the purple and gold faithful.

Billy Joe Hobert. The man who cost us two decades of grief (

#4: East bias cost a championship

Talk about bitter-sweet. An undefeated run through the Pac-10, a Rose Bowl appearance against Michigan, and a national championship year for the Huskies in 1991.

Only the sports writers on the east coast didn’t see it that way. The sports writers were at a stale mate as to who should be the national championship; Washington, or Miami.

With the good old days of the polls marking the champions, the Coach’s went one way, and the AP went the other.

Leaving the Huskies to have to share the national title with the Hurricanes.

This one still stings me to this day.

And the NCAA’s response to requests for a matchup between Miami and Washington? We finally did get our game with the Hurricanes, three years later.

This system still beats the hell out of the BCS, but, there was definitely a flaw in the system that year.

#3: Billy Joe Hobert takes money from boosters

This one hurt a lot for Huskies fans, but especially me. At the time Billy Joe Hobert was a step-step cousin to me.

Though I never met him, I have often wanted to look him up now a days, and give him a firm kick in the shins for what he did to the Husky program.

One year removed from our co-national championship run, this bone head decided to take $50,000 dollars and a new car from a booster.

Should’ve known he was a chump the way he got named the starter.

This one incident single handily set off a chain of events that the Huskies still haven’t recovered from.

The good news?

Once drafted, Hobert went to the one place where NFL rookie QB’s go to kill their careers before they ever take off, Oakland.

Serves you right loser.

The man. The coach. The Dawg Father. (photo

#2: 2004 Apple Cup

In state rivalries are what make college football so special. And when your team loses, it makes the pain that much more real.

In 2004 the Washington State Cougars finally beat the Huskies in the Apple Cup for the first time in seven years.

That’s a long time to one up your in state rival, and it almost gives the game a gimme feel.

But the Cougs outlasted the Dawgs in Pullman in this one 28-25.

After an impressive shot at a comeback was started with a TD pass from Isaiah Stanback to Craig Chambers, and then the two-point conversion was added, the Huskies cut the lead to three with 4:04 remaining in the game.

But luck was not on our side that day, as Stanback ran out of bounds as the clock expired, giving the Cougars the first of what would be two Apple Cup victories in a row.

#1: The Dawg Father steps down

With the fallout of the above mentioned Billy Joe Hobert incident looming, Don James took the easy way out; retirement.

Sure that may have not been the most noble of ways to depart from the place that adored him, but, like the incident itself, there was no way to cover this black eye.

Don James led the Huskies to four Rose Bowls in his 18 year tenure in Seattle. He was the winning-est coach in Huskies history, and not to mention the co-national championship with Miami.

At the time, he was the only coach I knew to roam the sidelines for the purple and gold. He came to town three years before I was born, so it was quite a let down for me when he left.

Though I think we may have finally found our replacement for him in coach Sark, he will never be forgotten by this man. The best years of Washington Huskies football came with him on the sidelines.

Numerous NFL quarterbacks have him to thank for their careers, as well does the state of Washington for the dynasty that he led us through.

You can never replace a legend. You only hope you can find someone who can live up to his dreams.


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About Clinton Bell

NWSB Editor. Born and raised in Friday Harbor. Even though he makes his home in Mesa still bleeds Seattle Blue and Green. Mariners Seahawks Sounders till the day he dies! Bring back his Sonics! Connect with Clinton today!
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