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DEAR STEVE: HERE'S A LAMP AND SOME OXYGEN

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Gather ye rosebuds while ye may: while West Coast football fans are genetically incapable of caring about football like most other college fans--NOBEL PRIZE!!! NOBEL PRIZE!!!--they still do, in between living perfect, mellow lives of casually pursued xtreeem sports and casual sex, care about football. Washington fans still do. In fact, they used to harm people. Quite badly, as in Miami's case in 2000.

Which is why Washington fans may want to pause in their lunchtime ascent of Mount Rainier and put down the notepad they're using to take notes for their next piece in Outside magazine to consider the magnificent descent of their program, and the tremendous shitpile their new headcoach is buried under. Most stories seem fit to cast a coach's task list as being the inheritance of just one bad coach, but Washington's is a series of false peaks upon false peaks: first the Luciferian fall from the 11-1 2000 season into Rick Neuheisel's firing, the first nadir under Keith Gilbertson in 2004 at 1-10, and then the total heat death of the Willingham era and the winless 2008 season.

Washington's had the worst kind of three-way one could possibly imagine having in terms of coaches this decade, meaning even a cold-hearted hanging jury such as ourselves has some degree of long-term patience with Steve Sarkisian. There's no honeymoon period, because if the bride is dead it doesn't matter what you're doing. This is not a marriage, but rather a zombie resurrection. If Sarkisian is capable of getting Washington over 500 in three years, that's success. It hurts us a bit just to type that about a program we remember beating an NFL-grade 'Canes team at the turn of the millenium, but it's true. If Sarkisian can show up for work every day during the season without bursting into tears and chomping Zoloft like rolls of Smarties, that would be success enough for year one.