"this weekend: I still think the Dawgs win this one..why? because we can't score if we don't get six (our kicking game is HORRIBLE!) and I have ZERO confidence in Brink and ZERO confidence in our pass defense....So, the way I see it is that Harrison gets 175...we will rack up 500 yards of total offense and lose 24-21...and yes, we will miss at least two field goals....Hope I am wrong, but I think Paus will play well, and I think Brink will make a couple of HUGE TOs...one that will directly lead to 6 for the puppies and the other that will take 6 away from us...But, man, the difference between 5-6 and 4-7 is HUGE...and man, do we need to get that Husky Monkey off of our backs!!!!!"
Michael, COME ON. Let's think about this for a minute.
First off, on offense for WSU - we will run the ball like crazy on these guys. Not only have they lost several decent players over the course of the season, but in just the last 4 days they have officially lost two of their best defensive players in Lobendahn and now the big d-lineman, Mike Muliapuloioa. That's two HUGE losses for them, two players that really helped them play good, aggressive D that we saw for 30 minutes a game the last month for UW before wearing down based on the 117th-ranked scoring offense in the NCAA (that would be DEAD last!).
Trust me, if we commit to the run - and STICK to the run, no matter what - just like we did vs. UCLA, well, it won't be all about Brink making a key mistake. He'll only be asked to throw under 30 times, max. I see a repeat offensive performance from the UCLA game, and I believe Brink will be just fine.
Next, offensively for UW - easily their 3 best players, their 3 offensive captains to begin the year, will ALL be out of the game - Khalif Barnes, their best lineman in years, Charles Frederick, and all-everything fullback Tuiasosiopo, all OUT. The apple cup hero from last year, Corey Williams, also out with a broken wrist. They won't even suit up. Their tight ends are beat up to all hell. The running game has been below-average, at best. The passing game has been "fools gold" so to speak, racking up some OK numbers of late, but it's very misleading. On paper it looks ok, but what you've seen is numbers coming after the games were WAY WAY WAY out of hand and the dogs have been "called off" so to speak, and the other team just kind of sits back and surrenders the 8-yard out vs. giving up the home run ball. Don't worry. Paus is AWFUL and sure, he might throw for 300 yards, but he'll also throw a couple of picks in crucial situations and even when guys get open, he'll throw it in the dirt of 5 feet over everyone. He's horribly inaccurate, incredibly slow and predictible in his delivery, and even a weak WSU secondary will be all over these guys.
One more thing on UW's offense - I heard Hugh Millen, former UW QB great and really a very good analyst on KJR yesterday, talking about the offense. He said that Chambers, the young WR, was coming along and does possess big-play ability, but he also said that overall as a group they are terrible and very inconsistent, not only do they have bad hands, but their route running is horrific. He said as a group, top to bottom, what's on the field right now is the worst WR group in 30 years at UW. EASILY the worst. He even said on one play in the second half, all 3 WR's ran THE WRONG ROUTE! IT was laughable.
One other point on the offensive game play for Saturday - weather is going to be a factor. Kickoff is at 4 PM, and already forecasts are for the temp to only be in the upper 30's during the day, but it will be into the 20's as soon as the sun goes down by about 5:30 or so. Paus is a SoCal boy, and for UW to beat us, they are going to have to come up with some gigantic, quick-strike home run balls. In 20 degree weather where the QB is from SoCal and also practices in Seattle where it's been in the upper 40's - low 50's for the whole year, and they've been practicing inside, to expect them to throw the ball all over the yard on us in the cold?? I don't think so.
Let's look at this realistically - the last 3 years, WSU was favored to win this game, but UW got big performances from players like Reggie Williams, Cody Pickett, Kai Ellis, Terry Johnson, Charles Frederick, Rich Alexis, etc. Guys that were, when they were excited to play a game, were as talented as anyone in the Pac-10, and they have been SKY HIGH for playing WSU. This year??? I don't care how excited they'll be, they just don't have the talent. I'm not saying we are the top-10 team we've been the last 3 years, but we're not 1-9 with the only win over lowly San Jose State! As Clint told me on Sunday as we discussed what the opening line would be, "you just don't go 1-9 by accident! We should lose by at least 14 points, maybe more."
Think about that again - 1 AND 9???!??! Even when Mikey Price was the King of Poop Island, we always went at least 3-8. Put that in proper context. Remember how bad some of those WSU teams really were? Steve Birnbaum or Paul Mencke anyone?!?! UW has been shut out this year, and a couple of other times they never even scored a TD. Even when we were blown out at ASU, we still scored 28 points in garbage time. UW, in so many games blown out this year, never scored more than 21 points IN ANY GAME THIS YEAR, even when the other team had the 3rd or 4th string in garbage time! It's so bad, last week they lose a game 42-12, at home, to Cal, and the entire hour of their coaches show was all about how hard they played, they never gave up, how if they could have gotten a couple of breaks, etc......DUDE, you just lost by 30 points at home! It's SHOCKING how far and how fast they have fallen apart.
Couple that with the idea that they have this 6-year jinx on us, do you REALLY believe a team this awful will stroll into Martin Stadium and beat us? Don't you know how badly we want to beat up on them!?!? We are 4-6 right now, and with one more stop vs. Oregon and one last push vs. Stanford when we were first-and-goal from inside the 5 - twice - and both times came away empty - and we'd be 6-4, in position to go to 7-4, maybe even win the bowl game and go 8-4! Reading Doba's comments this week, he is absolutely focused on winning this game. During his weekly press conference, some questions were asked about next year and recruiting or whatever, and even though he talked about it somewhat, he really just wanted to talk about the Apple Cup. Doba even said that last year he felt they took too much of a "ho hum" approach, and he wouldn't do that ever again. Make no mistake - we'll be ready.
Bottom line? This game isn't about WSU and what we can or cannot do. We will do exactly what we want, in that we will dominate the line of scrimmage, run the ball all night long with Harrison, Thompson, even Bruhn will get into the act, and Brink will be efficient. It's really all about what UW cannot do. They just don't have the talent, they don't have the leadership on the field, and bottom line, they have no idea how to win a game, especially a rivalry game like this where we can't WAIT to kick their butts.
WSU 28, UW 10.