steve, well, this is actually yesterday's tractors, but i'll give it a go. also check out gardenweb.com/mowers.
riding lawn equipment for both husqvarna and craftsman is made by american yard products. i could not tell you why the husky is a tad more expensive.
if you're in an area where both sears and a husky dealer are options for you, why not stop by home depot and check out their scotts which is now made by john deere (previously it was murray and the product was were sorry).