Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Husky Stadium Could be Scary

That doesn't suck (click to enlarge)
After nearly two years of renovation, the University of Washington will unveil the much anticipated new Husky Stadium Saturday at 5pm, two hours before the kickoff of the the inaugural game against Boise State.  As the site of my first ever college football game back in 1997, Husky Stadium will always hold a special place in my heart.  It has one of the greatest atmospheres in college football and without a doubt, sitting upon scenic Lake Washington, it is the greatest venue in college football.

Husky Stadium has also proven to be one of the loudest venues in college football. During the 1992 night game against the Nebraska, ESPN measured the noise level at 135 decibels, which as I understand it, was the highest decibel level ever recorded in a college football stadium.  If you've ever watched a game on TV when it gets loud, you can see the camera shaking.  Autzen Stadium remains the loudest stadium I've ever been to, but I can tell you from experience that when 70,000+ fans Husky fans (compared to 59,000 Duck fans) get loud, it's a whole different experience.  I remember my chest vibrating like I was sitting on the subwoofer at a Metallica concert.  But in my view, two things have hurt Husky Stadium's claim as one of college football's best gameday locales.

The track
That huge, stupid red track that separates the fans from the field by about 25 yards. Compare that to smothering, claustrophobic feel of Autzen Stadium with the stands just a few feet from the field.  The track keeps the fans away from the action and the noise from the field.

The Huskies haven't won more than seven games since 2001.  For a program that was a national powerhouse in the 80s and 90s, this is not acceptable.  Last year, they lost to the Ducks for the 9th straight year, let the Apple Cup slip away, and were defeated by Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.  Fans get loud when they have something to cheer about.

The New Husky stadium solves the first problem by eliminating the track.  All 70,000 fans will now be right on top of opponents.  But for the debut to be a real success, the Huskies must win.  A loss in their opener against Boise State would be disastrous. As Steve Sarkisian enters his 5th year as head coach, fans expect the Huskies to compete for the league title.  So for this season to be considered a success, the Huskies must win eight games.  And they need to beat either Oregon or Stanford, as well as the Cougars along the way.

No easy task.  But if they can pull if off, Husky Stadium will be feared once again.

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