Part of being a Husky football fan these days is like being an overly cynical restaurant critic. If the food tastes good, you begrudgingly acknowledge it. If it doesn't, you rip it a new one and make sure everyone reads your review.
The latter has been the five-week response to this University of Washington team, losers of three of its first five games.
With all of the preseason build-up — the Top 20 Associated Press ranking, 81 percent of the starters returning and Jimmy Lake's declaration that anything less than a championship pursuit is unacceptable — people have been genuinely offended by the Huskies' lackluster start and not afraid to show it.
A grossly underachieving UW team is not a new development to the Seattle fan base by any means. Rewind to 1985 and you will find those long-ago Huskies, who were coming off a stirring Orange Bowl victory over a fearsome Oklahoma unit and returning a lot of key players, were hammered by Oklahoma State and BYU to open the following season. It was supposed to be the other way around.
No, what's different this time is the voracity of the negative fan response. More sedate team followers and long-term media members can't remember anything quite like it. The backlash has been beyond ugly.
Ready to pounce on him since the man's hiring, disgruntled UW fans have called for offensive coordinator John Donovan's head. They've offered to help him pack. Sell his house. Point him down the interstate
They've sought matching bookends so they've called for Lake's neck, too.
They criticized the coach's offense as unimaginative and blasted his defense as unaggressive.
Almost nothing can satisfy them now.
Bralen Trice picked up an Arkansas State fumble and ran 72 yards to score and he was chastised for being too slow in reaching the end zone.
So what set off all these intense feelings of discontent?
Well, similar to a Broadway play, it you don't come out and win over your audience right off the bat, you probably never will.
In this case, the Huskies did irreparable damage to themselves and their fan-base loyalties on opening night.
They lost 13-7 to Montana.
The other day, Lake off-handedly referred to that forgettable game as a close, hard-fought battle.
As a coach, he was trying to be respectful of a previous opponent.
As a competitor, Lake should have publicly called it an unforgivable sin.
There's no two ways around it — his team suffered the worst loss in Husky football history.
It came at the hands of a FCS school, which is like the varsity playing the Jayvees.
The fans looked around their glitzy stadium and saw the "finest setting in college football," as the school likes to drumbeat this slogan. It's a palace that they've paid for and continue to shell out exorbitant sums for in seat licenses — and they were treated to the worst outcome in 132 seasons of purple and gold football. They expected a football team to match the drapes.
No wonder everyone is still so hopping mad and unforgiving.
Now Montana football fans will take offense to this, but nobody hears them.
The UW is Power 5 team.
With the remodel, the Huskies have one of the newest and finest stadiums in all of college football.
It has all of the trappings in expensive weight rooms, locker rooms and a gaudy indoor practice facility, all stuff supposed to attract players who win. A lot.
And they're 0-1 against the Big Sky this season.
Ensuing road losses to Michigan by blowout and Oregon State on the final play and an overtime escape at home against a fairly mundane California team have only added to the fan displeasure.
People accuse Lake of being neglectful with the program. Of not properly utilizing his veteran players. Of not recruiting the top players. Of trying to put a head coach in an assistant coach's body.
Considering what's happened already — and we've given this a lot of thought as we read through the posts that haven't stopped coming — these hopped-up Husky fans have every right to be as unhappy as they are.
It could also be just pent-up angst boiling over from the pandemic intrusion on life in general and specifically on college football. Or maybe it's nightmares re-emerging of those not-that-long-ago Keith Gilbertson and Ty Willingham dreadful seasons of 2004 and 2008 that ended up a collective 1-22. But 2-3 in 2021 has made everything worse.
Next up is UCLA, a once-proud program that appears on the rise again under Chip Kelly after a couple of decades of unshakable malaise and continual coaching changes.
Imagine the level of anger if the Huskies lose to these guys on Saturday night and fall to 2-4.
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