First, Jimmy Lake took a shot at the Southeastern Conference.
Then, Lake and his Washington Huskies took Montana's best shot – and got knocked to the canvas turf in a 13-7 loss to their would-be Pacific Northwest rivals and lesser-scholarship, Football Championship Subdivision foe.
This came after Lake had entered the week defending his program's game against the Griz, which won against Washington for the first time in 100 years.
“I think there's always going to be a place for this, somewhere, whether it's us or in another conference,” Lake said, speaking in general to regional and FBS vs. FCS contests as the ACC, Big Ten and PAC-12 seek to formalize their future 'Alliance.' “I know the SEC, they love to play Northwestern Directional State. Those guys play two of them per year but nobody talks about that. I think it's still here to stay, and I think it's great.
“I played and coached at an FCS program. It's great for college football. I don't think those should stop. At all. Even with this Alliance, I don't think the main goal is for all your non-conference games to be against those teams (partnered in the Alliance). I don't think that's the goal.”
Scheduled before the contract-less 'Alliance' was announced last month, this week's Washington at Michigan matchup had been billed as one of the season's premiere intersectional contests.
The Huskies now embark on the 4,600-mile roundtrip against the Wolverines with their head coach apologizing to fans for the team's “unacceptable” loss.
“We know we did not give a performance that was Husky football, and we apologize for that,” Lake said this week. “We are just as disappointed as you are. We're going to correct that.”
Lake shouldered blame when asked directly by a reporter how coaches could not have gotten the Washington ready or made better in-game adjustments.
“It was very unfortunate. Starts with me first. Starts with me first,” he said. “We've got to be better prepared, we've got to have a better plan. And we did not execute a good plan. It all starts with the coaching first. And it starts with me. …
“It's unacceptable and it should not have happened. We did not expect that result at all. I think what we more expected was what happened on that first drive. They made some adjustments, our adjustments weren't as sound as the adjustments they made. We didn't play … we did not respond the way we should.”