Puppies! And they're purple too!
The Pac-12 is almost here, and to ring in the new conference, we're going to take a look at the schools of the Pac-12 and share some interesting facts and history. Today we'll look at the University of Washington.
First Football Season: 1889
Varsity Sports: 19
Football Stadium (built/capacity): Husky Stadium (1920/72,500)
Basketball/multipurpose Stadium (built/capacity): Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion (1927 as University of Washington Pavilion/10,000)
Football Conference championships (Claimed National Championships): 15 (4)
Total NCAA Team Championships (last): 7 (2009, Softball)
Most Successful Team Sport: Crew (3 Women's NCAA titles, 14 IRA Varsity Eight Men's Championships)
Did you know? A lot of people know that the Washington mascot used to be the Sun Dodger, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Seattle's weather. What most people don't know is that they have actually gone through a variety of nicknames, including: Vikings, Squids, Malamutes, Eagles, Blue Moons, Tyees, Indians, Northmen, and Olympics. Speaking of the Olympics, in the early part of the 20th century, it wasn't unusual to send the college champions of crew to represent the US in the Olympics during Olympic years. In 1936, the men's crew team traveled to Berlin, and much to the chagrin of Adolf Hitler in attendance, beat the German and Italian teams for a gold medal.
History with Stanford: As much as many Californians refuse to admit it, Washington is a very talented school in academics and sports. Stanford and its fans have not been immune to this line of thinking, even though ample evidence exists to the contrary.
Stanford football used to relish years that they didn't play the Huskies, especially in the '80s and '90s. In fact, the Huskies prevented Stanford from having a second Rose Bowl appearance in three years in 2001, even though Stanford finished the regular season 9-2 and 6-2 in conference play. But that doesn't mean that there was an acrimonious relationship between the schools. Rather, at least in football, for a few decades Stanford, and for that matter the rest of the conference, did not and could not keep up with Washington. For a team that went on to go undefeated in 1991 and win the National Championship, avoiding Washington was always a good thing.
But what about sports not football-related? Clearly, the most difficulty that Stanford has had with the Huskies has been in women's volleyball. No where is this more evident than in the mid-2000s when Washington routinely beat (and it wasn't even close in some games) Stanford. It especially was disappointing to some Stanford fans that players such as Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza, and Kristin Richards left the Farm with only one national championship in part because they could not solve the Washington Huskies.
Going forward, Stanford and Washington have a lot to be happy about. Both football teams are on the rise, softball (despite a off-year this year for the Huskies) will be competitive, Stanford's crew teams are gradually becoming more competitive, and volleyball will remain a thorn for both teams. Despite these competitive feats, don't be surprised to see many memorable games between the Huskies and the Cardinal in the future.