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Know your enemy: Bowl edition

Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy if possible. —Stonewall Jackson

University of Washington Campus Photograph Collection


Well, we've arrived at the precipice of the offseason and the final Know your enemy of the year...hopefully I've saved the best for last, and moreover, I hope you all have very short memories because the next Know your enemy you'll see will be highlighting the Huskies once again. The game in Vegas might be meaningless on paper...but these random factoids about UW will be etched on your hearts forever.

Ten things you probably didn't know about the Washington Huskies or their damp hipster haven

10) The area now known as Seattle, Washington was first inhabited by Native Americans some 4,000 years before whitey came to town. The city itself is actually named for a hereditary chief of the Suquamish and Duwamish people, which, when anglicized, translates to "Starbucks" and "Tullys". Arthur A. Denny and a group of white settlers arrived at Alki Point (the westernmost point in modern-day Seattle) in 1851 and decided the site was sufficiently damp for his party to form a settlement, which they did. They moved the site a bit east of Alki Point in 1853 and named it "Seattle". I was unable to confirm the fact that Denny was the namesake behind Denny's restaurants, but historical records do point to him trading "Moons Over My Hammy" with the natives.

9) The University of Washington was founded in 1861 as the Territorial University of Washington after territorial governor Isaac Stevens recommended such an establishment. The founders were unsure where exactly to put the campus so elected to set up two universities—one in Seattle (thanks to one Arthur A. Denny) and another in Lewis County, but then back-tracked and decided that just one university would suffice and it would be guessed it...Lewis County (provided locally donated land could be found). Alas, no one wanted to part with their precious land, so it was back to Seattle they went, where they found a guy that was straight-up giddy about forking over some of his land...yeah, it was Arthur A. Denny again. "Denny's Knoll" ended up being the first 10 acre lot that TUoW rested now encompasses 703—and yes, the knoll was grassy.

8) UW played their first game of collegiate football in 1889 against "Harvard and Yale Alumni", but the coachless squad lost 20-0 to the presumably ascot-clad 30 year-olds from the Ivy League. The following year, the team played another single-game schedule and finished with a much better record—a 0-0 tie against Washington College that the local paper called "as entertaining as needlepoint". The very next year, the squad finally procured a William B. Goodwin, who led the team to its first ever win, a 14-0 romp over Seattle AC and their third ever loss, a 28-0 thumping at the hands of...Seattle AC. Things went on like this for the next few seasons...2 or 3 games a year that generally resulted in losses or generous amounts of yawning, but finally, coach Ralph Nichols procured the winning formula (possibly from a traveling band of gypsies) in 1895 and led the team to a 4-0-1 record with program-defining wins over Seattle AC, Vashon College, Tacoma AC, and...oh...Vashon College.

Thus went the see-saw of Washington football until 1908 when a fellow named Gilmour "Gloomy Gil" Dobie took the reins and proceeded to NEVER LOSE A GAME. Seriously, Gloomy Gil coached the squad to 58 wins in 61 tries between 1908 and 1916 and only thrice tasted non-victory—not losses, mind you, but 3 ties...a 6-6 tie with Washington State and two 0-0 stalemates against Oregon and Oregon State (respectively). Maybe the most impressive was that at Dobie's previous job, coaching North Dakota State, he'd never lost a game either and after moving on from UW, he led Cornell to 3 straight undefeated seasons. All told, Dobie won 182 games in his career, with just 45 losses...nearly all of which came after 1923. In his first 18 years of coaching, he lost just 5 games and went undefeated 14 times. Well, I'll catch you guys later, I'm off to get a Gil Dobie tattoo now.


There is a reason he looked and dressed like an undertaker. His teams were going to kill you.

7) At some point in time...perhaps in a previous life, Whitman College did something to seriously aggrieve coach Claude J. Hunt. Hunt's seething anger toward Whitman boiled over October 25, 1919 as he led his team to a 120-0 win over the Fighting Missionaries...a win that would be considered a hate-crime under current U.S. legislation and also a "Flawless Fatality" under Mortal Kombat legislation. Whitman, a small private school that began as a theological seminary, apparently was "really into pacifism" at the time, and Claude J. Hunt figured that their white flags were no match for the muskets and bayonets they had brought. Miraculously, there were no casualties on the gridiron that day...except, of course, for Claude Hunt's soul.


The Cobra Kai dojo got their motto from Claude J. Hunt.

6) Washington's sports teams have only been known as "The Huskies" since 1922, prior to which they were known as the "Sun-Dodgers" in an obvious allusion to the fact that Seattle is partly- to mostly-cloudy for the better part of the year. It also may have referenced the fact that Sun Microsystems passed up Seattle and chose to put their headquarters in Santa Clara...but we may never know. The school mascot during the Sun-Dodger phase was named Sunny Boy and was a childlike imp that looked like Will Rogers suffering from dwarfism (Exhibits A–Z). Sunny Boy (really, only ever a statue) was retired in '22 when the Huskies moniker was adopted and soon live Siberian Husky sled dogs were accompanying the football teams to the field. The current iteration of the live UW mascot is named "Dubs" and is actually not a Husky, but an Alaskan Malamute. sit on a throne of LIES!

5) Every Yin has a Yang, and Leonard "Stub" Allison is as close to Gil Dobie's yang as any coach in UW history (that sounded wrong). Allison doesn't have the most losses of any coach in program history (that honor goes to Jim Owens), but his .166 win percentage is easily the furthest from Dobie's .975 and it's a bummer too, because if he'd stuck around longer than a year, he could've closed that gap considerably. Nonetheless, Allison's 1-5 season in 1920 was enough to get him the dubious distinction. But Allison did find some success after leaving Montlake and actually led Cal to National Championship in 1937. So turns out that Stub could coach a bit after all, but sadly, his legacy at UW is that of Gil Dobie's...let's say "lady friend".


He was the best of coaches, he was the worst of coaches

4) Possibly not the oldest, but definitely the bitterest of Washington's rivals would be their counterparts in Pullman—the Washington State Cougars. The UW-WSU rivalry began in 1900 and ended in a 5-5 tie, but WSU owns the first win in the series—one they got the following year by defeating Washington 10-0. Out of the 105 meetings between these squads, the Sun Dodgers/Huskies have won 67 and they've played virtually every year since the get-go...they even played twice in 1945 for missing a WWII-forced postponement in '43 and '44. The two teams competed for the Governor's Trophy up until 1962 when the game and corresponding trophy were renamed The Apple Cup to celebrate Washington's apple crops and Washingtonians love of keeping the doctor away. UW's largest win streak in the series is 8, while WSU's win streaks have topped out at 2. However, WSU scored 21 unanswered points in this year's contest to defeat the heavily-favored Huskies, so "put that in your pipes and smoke it" say Cougar fans everywhere (if there are Cougar fans everywhere, that is).

3) In 1889, a careless cabinetmaker started a fire that eventually consumed 31 blocks of mostly wooden buildings in Seattle. The buildings had been built on tidelands and were prone to flooding, so when it came time to rebuild the parts of the city lost to the fire, the city leaders made two decrees. The first was that the buildings be made only of brick and stone, as to prevent the tinderbox effect that caused the first conflagration—the second was that the streets be regraded so that the street levels of the new buildings were one to two stories higher than before. The second rule would presumably keep flooding to a minimum and ensure that the toilets wouldn't back up at high tide. The subsequent construction created a series of below-street-level walkways and businesses that were abandoned once the new sidewalks were completed (well, that and fear of plague), but the seedier elements of the city continued to use the underground buildings and walkways (now tunnels) as they were perfect for brothels, speakeasies and opium dens. You can still visit the "Underground Seattle" sites to this day, although I'm told you have to watch out for the eyeless mole people that reside there—they never evolved into hipsters like the rest of the Seattle populace.


Who wouldn't want to hang out here?

2) The purple and gold colors of Washington were adopted in 1892 and are said to come from the 1815 Lord Byron poem "The Destruction of Sennacherib"—a poem about the siege of Jerusalem. The lines in question are as follows:

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;

I wish that Boise State's colors would have come from a sweet poem, but you know what they say: "nothing rhymes with orange."

1) There are plenty of UW alums that are prominent leaders in science, broadcasting and journalism...but dude, Bruce Lee went to UW. Bruce. Freaking. Lee. Finally I have a reason to embed this video of Bruce fighting Chuck Norris (note Chuck Norris' lovely sweater vest...Dan Paul, eat your heart out):