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December 4, 2011Sunday night, the Huskies will find out which bowl game they'll be going to and who they'll be playing. The excitement in Dempsey during Saturday's practice was palpable.
"The kids will probably know before I do," said coach Steve Sarkisian, who seemed to be the most calm of all. That's not to say he isn't pleased.
"I'm just happy that Christmas morning I'm going to wake up in a hotel room. That's a good thing."
Sarkisian said he doesn't have a preference on which bowl game the team gets invited to.
"Whichever bowl decides that they want us to be part of, we'll gladly embrace that," he said.
The players agreed.
"Wherever they want us to go, we'll be ready to play," said cornerback Desmond Trufant. "We'll be happy to go anywhere just to have an opportunity."
Bowl games such as the Alamo Bowl and the Holiday Bowl are on the tip of most of the players' tongues, and they seem to be happy with either.
"A bowl game is a bowl game," said linebacker Cort Dennison.
Dennison said he takes every game seriously, so this is no different.
"Especially the older guys," he said. "We don't take anything for granted. We've been (through the) lowest of lows, so we know what it feels like to get an opportunity to play in a special event like a bowl game, so we cherish every moment of it."
Dennison and the rest of the Huskies are willing to play just about anyone.
"I want to play the best of the best. That's what makes college football fun," said Dennison, displaying his competitive side.
"We're going to play a good team regardless," said Keith Price. "I've got to show up wherever I go, so it doesn't matter (where the game is)."
Price took it easy during Saturday's practice, and plans to use this week to rest as much as possible so he can get his legs back to where they used to be.
At practice, the younger members of the team got more reps, and Sarkisian seemed pleased with their performances.
Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said the energy was great at practice after having a break for a week.
"Everyone was running around. It was real fun. It's great to be back out here," Seferian-Jenkins said.
Not only is Seferian-Jenkins excited, he said he feels great too and his legs feel "way, way better."
Like everyone else, he's excited to go to a bowl game. Any bowl game.
Seferian-Jenkins said both the Alamo Bowl and the Holiday Bowl are great, so there's "no complaining here." He did say however that maybe the older guys would want to go to the Alamo Bowl because they haven't been there before. Either way, he feels "blessed to play in a bowl game."
They may be freshmen, but they understand the opportunity they're being given and what it's going to take.
"It's going to take a lot of hard work, and work that I'm willing to put in," said freshman receiver Kasen Williams.
After making a statement during their last regular season game against Washington State, Williams wants more.
"I'm just excited because I've never had this experience before," Williams said. "This is something like the Apple Cup. It was my first Apple Cup and that was amazing, and the bowl game is just going to be on a much higher level than that, so I'm excited for that too."
The freshman class has pressure on them to help the team win another bowl game after last year's Holiday Bowl win against Nebraska.
"We think this team is going nowhere but up in the future and we have high expectations," Williams said. "This is just one step for this long journey that my class is going to be going through."
For the seniors on the team, this is the last game they'll play with the Huskies before leaving their legacy in the hands of the younger classes.
"I realize that I've had a fun career and a career that I'm going to take with me for the rest of my life," Dennison said. "But I just got to realize we have a football game to play, one more game, and when it's all said and done, then I'll look back (and reminisce)."