It's week 2, and we're gonna be sleepless in Seattle for our first game of two against a pack of Huskies this season. But before we go, it's time for a tutorial on our opponent: the University of Washington.
History: The government of what was then Washington Territory wanted to establish a school early on. Initially the territory wanted to have two schools: one in Seattle, and one in Lewis County (which is somewhere south of Seattle, near a town called Centralia. Don't know why they wanted to build it there). But they decided to just build the one in Lewis County. Unfortunately, Lewis County didn't give them anywhere to build the school, so Arthur Denny, a state legislator, convinced everyone else to move it to Seattle in1858.
The school opened on November 4, 1861 as the Territorial University of Washington. Early on it suffered closings for a lack of students and they didn't graduate a single student until 1876. By 1889, the school became too big to accommodate a campus in downtown Seattle (the Metropolitan Tract, Sean), so they moved to their current location in 1895, north of the city center. They still own the Metropolitan Tract and it brings in a lot of $$$ for the school. In 1909, the campus hosted the World's Fair (just a few years after my alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, did the same).
The university expanded massively during the interwar period, building the first two wings of the Suzzalo Library. After WWII, they began work on the medical school, which would house one of the top ten hospitals in the nation. This was also a sad moment in the school's history; the Japanese and Japanese-American students were sent to concentration camps and were denied their diplomas until 2008. UW continued to expand into the 60s and 70s, when enrollment increased to nearly 34K.
Location: Seattle. The Emerald City. Birthplace of grunge, Jimi Hendrix, Starbucks, and Microsoft. It's one of the most literate cities in the US (hopefully that means they know what a lot of these really esoteric words are). They also have a big Boeing plant south of downtown, and are working to fix the massive car congestion with rail lines (they only have one so far but I think they're building more) and the nation's only all-electric bus fleet.
One of Seattle's most famous exports is probably Nirvana, but Pearl Jam also called Seattle home in the early 90s. Even the Presidents of the USA are from there, so the music scene is pretty good. They actually have a rock museum which I went to. Of course most of that area (read: around the Space Needle) is tourist trappy so I recommend avoiding it.
There are lots of famous companies headquartered there. Beyond the companies I listed, Nordstrom and Costco also are headquartered in the area. The Seattle mayor is trying to get biotech companies to move in. And of course there are always great views of Mount Rainer. And the occasional orca in Puget Sound.
Academics: The official undergrad enrollment is 30,790 students and they have about 12K grad students. The school is in a three way tie with UC Irvine and Rensselaer Poly for 41st on US News' Best National Universities list. The school is in the AAU, which also helps make it one of the better schools in the country. Among public doctoral universities, UW ranks 11th.
UW is well known for its med school. They rank #1 in the nation in primary care and nursing (16 years and counting) and #6 overall. The school of social work, pharmacy school, library information school, and graduate school of education are also ranked in the top ten of their respective categories. And I have to give a shout out to the school of engineering (21st in the country).
They host the ResearchChannel, a TV channel dedicated to disseminating research. They also have a great scholarship program for in-state residents who earn up to 65% of the state median income or who live at up to double the poverty line, and one of the best early entry programs in the nation.
Famous Alumni: Being a bigass state school, there's no shortage of names on this list. Michael P. Anderson of the Columbia space shuttle disaster went there. Both of Bill Gates' parents went to UW, but he didn't go there. Lots of people from there went to the NFL, most notably Warren Moon. In music, the Presidents and Kenny G got their starts at UW. And the greatest nerd in all of history, Ken Jennings, went there. In acting, UW brought us martial artist Bruce Lee and comedienne Julia Sweeney.
Mascot, logos, and fight song: UW's colors are purple and gold and were established in 1892 by the students (rumored to be named after the first stanza of Lord Byron's poem The Destruction of Sennacherib:
Of course their gold is more of a baige-ish gold, but it does have the metallic color that defines gold, so in retrospect they probably have a better case than, say, Iowa or Akron. The primary logo is a purple block W, but they also use a secondary logo featuring a Penn State-esque drawing of a Husky dog. Much more pleasant to look at than UConn's verson.
Washington's nickname is the Huskies, which is used by nine schools total, including UConn, Bloomsburg (PA), Houston Baptist, Michigan Tech, Northeastern, NIU, St. Cloud State (MN), Southern Maine, and of course UW. Other than UW, UConn and NIU play I-A football, and Northeastern is in D-I for most sports. The mascot was originally the "Sun Dodgers" (which I find hilarious but I think they should've kept for at least some uniqueness, and if you know what the weather is like in the Pacific Northwest you'll know what this nickname came from). In 1922, they changed it to the Huskies, of course, via student poll.
The Husky is represented by two physical mascots. The traditional mascot is a live Alaskan Malamute who follows the team onto the football field and has been around since 1922 (originally it was a Siberian Husky, but in 1961 they switched to a hereditary line of Alaskan Malamutes). There have been many over the history of the school: Frosty I, Frosty II, Wasky, Denali, King Chinook, Regent Denali, Sundodger Denali, King Redoubt, Prince Redoubt, Spirit, and now Dubs I. In 1995 the school introduced a costumed mascot to act as a substitute for when a dog is injured. Two years later they named it "Harry the Husky."
Washington's helmet designs are basically some variations of these, and have been that way over the years. Originally they used gold helmets with no logo, and purple helmets with no logo, but then they alternated between these versions. When they used the solid color helmets, getting to put a "W" on the helmet was considered to be a reward for hard work.
Washington's fight song is called "Bow Down to Washington."
Bow down to Washington,
Bow down to Washington,
Mighty are the men
Who wear the purple and the gold,
Joyfully we welcome them
Within the victors fold.
We will carve their names (names!)
In the Hall of Fame (fame!)
To preserve the memory of our devotion.
So heaven help the foes of Washington;
They're trembling at the feet
Of mighty Washington,
Our boys are there with bells (bells!),
Their fighting blood excels (excels!),
It's harder to push them over the line
Than pass the Dardanelles.
So victory's the cry of Washington
Our leather lungs together
With a Rah! Rah! Rah!
And o'er the land
The loyal band
Will sing the glory
Of Washington forever.
The song was written in 1915 by a guy named Lester Wilson for a contest. Originally, the opening words included "Dobie, Dobie, pride of Washington! They're trembling at the feet of mighty Washington!" after legendary football coach Gil Dobie. In addition "Rah, rah rah!" is more commonly replaced with "Fuck Wazzou!" Stay classy.
Athletics: UW sponsors 9 womens' and 10 mens' sports. They were one of four founding members of the conference that would become the Pac-10 in 1915 (oddly enough, they were one of TWO schools, the other being Cal, to be a member of that conference for the entire 95 year history of the conference). The conference was originally called the Pacific Coast Conference, which when it disbanded in 1959, reformed as the Athletic Association of Western Universities, which was nicknamed the Big 5 and Big 6. It became the Pac-8 in 1964 and the Pac-10 in 1978. It will become the Pac-12 in a few years.
Washington's football team began playing in 1889, and won the Pac 10 championship 15 times, and won 7 Rose Bowls and 4 national titles (1960, 1984, 1990, and 1991, with all but the 1984 title won in the Rose Bowl (the 1984 title was won in the Orange Bowl)). They went on an amazing 63 game unbeaten streak between 1907 and 1917 under coach Gil Dobie, who never lost in his career there. James Phelan, Darryl Royal, and Don James are other coaches at UW who are in the College Football Hall of Fame. They play their games in Husky Stadium which is about 90 years old. The school is one of many that likes to call itself "Quarterback U" because many of its QBs go on to play in the NFL, notably Warren Moon and Mark Brunell.
The basketball team has an interesting history, too. They've been to 15 NCAA tournaments, 5 Sweet 16s, and the 1953 Final Four. They won 10 conference championships and won the Pac-10 tournament twice. The current coach is Lorenzo Romar, and the school is the alma mater of slam dunk contest winner Nate Robinson and NBA Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy. The current arena is Hec Edmunson Pavilion, built in 1997.
UW has a strong crew history (13 men's NCs and 11 women's NCs), but the NCAA doesn't sponsor that. Notably, the UW crew beat up Hitler's racial engineering projects in 1936. They followed that up with a victory over the Soviets in the 50s.
Other national championships include women's cross county, volleyball, and softball. Washington does not have a lacrosse team, sadly.
Rival: Washington plays two rivalry games: the Apple Cup against Washington State, and a rivalry with Oregon. The Apple Cup (because Washington grows a lot of apples) football trophy with Wazzou has recently been the toilet bowl rivalry, but it has brought memorable games, including in 1975, 2001, and 2002. I'd say more, but I'm visiting some people and my ESPN college football and basketball encyclopedias aren't with me, which is why I don't have much to say about Oregon.
Outlook: I don't know much about UW, but Jake Locker could be a threat. Still, knowing our defense can hold a crap team scoreless, we should hopefully not allow Washington to put too many points on the board, thus putting some pressure off of Nassib. Still, the offensive line needs to look good. My prediction is Syracuse wins by a field goal. Go Orange! #BeatWashington!