Monday, November 27, 2006

If it wasn't over before....

This puts the nail in the coffin:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/college_football/20061127-1413-bn27pointsett.html

N. Illinois gets the bid. The true hope for the Cougs was to see a 7-win Pac-10 team fall here, but, this guarantees that 7-win ASU and 7-win Oregon are taking the Pac-10 slots. We are done. Good-bye 2006, time to work on wrapping up the season and look ahead to 2007.

ON a nice note, the All-Pac-10 teams have been announced, and Mkristo Bruce and Eric Frampton are First-TEAM! Cool. And, take a look at the 2nd team QB. Brinkhater, the floor is ALL yours..... Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, November 26, 2006

FUN With Bowl Breakdowns!

Ok, not really. But I thought I'd do some nosing around and see who's eligible, and how long the odds actually are IF the Pac-10 doesn't go the extra mile and Tom Hansen puts his tail between his legs (again).

The following is a breakdown of 6 and, in some cases, 7 win teams. Things start to crystalize pretty quick as you go through the list.

6-6 teams:
ACC:
FSU (6-6)
Miami (6-6)

Analysis: 8 bowl-eligible teams, 8 bowl tie-ins = nobody gets left out. UNLESS Miami or FSU turn down a bowl bid to the MPC Computers bowl. Hey, when you consider a sexy Florida school in Boise on New Year's Eve?!? Wouldn't you rather stay home and party on south beach? So would I! Can't even fathom how uninterested FSU or Miami fans would be to take in that game, let alone even watch it on TV after a 6-6 season, which is normally an unmitigated DISASTER for them. I'll say that there is a "sliver" of hope that WSU could sneak in here, but it's a pretty big long-shot now that the ACC has 8 bowl-eligible teams.

BIG 12:
Kansas (6-6)
Oklahoma State (6-6)
Analysis: Like ACC, 8 bowl tie-ins, but 9 bowl-eligible teams. OSU is rumored for the Independence Bowl, in fact it's virtually guaranteed, so it's Kansas headed to the wildcard group, which I'll list below all this.

Big East:
Pitt
Analysis: Big East only gets 5 bowl tie-ins, as Navy as an independent got the Meinke Car Care Bowl. Pitt is in the wild-card grouping.

Big Ten:
Iowa
Minnesota
Analysis: All 7 bowl-eligible teams in the Big Ten are spoken for, including Iowa and Minnesota.
Independents:
None
Analysis: Navy and Notre Dame are both already in bowls, Navy in the Meinke Car Care Bowl, ND headed for the obligatory BCS game.

Mid-American:
Kent State
N. Illinois (7 wins, but listed here)
Analysis: This is where it hurts the Pac-10, and particularly WSU, the most. This conference has 5 teams that are bowl-eligible, including 7-win N. Illinois, but only 3 bowl tie-ins. That puts both N.Illinois and Kent State in the wild-card groupings.

Mountain West:
New Mexico
Wyoming
Analysis: Mountain West has 5 bowl-eligible teams, but just 4 bowl tie-ins. New Mexico goes to the New Mexico bowl, accepting the bowl bid already, so Wyoming is in the wild-card grouping.

Pac-10:
Arizona
UCLA
WSU
Analysis: As we've been over several times, the pac-10 has 8 bowl-eligible teams, but just 6 bowl tie-ins. All indications are that UCLA has a back-door deal with Hawaii already done, yet nothing is final. There are various scenarios that we've touched on, but if all things are equal and the Pac-10 takes the easy way out, LIKELY we'll see UCLA claim spot #6, leaving Arizona and WSU in the wildcard group.

SEC:
Alabama
Analysis: SEC has 8 bowl tie-ins, but 9 bowl-eligible teams with Alabama as the only 6-win team in the conference. They are in the wild-card group.

Sun Belt:
Arkansas State
Louisiana-Lafayette
Troy
Analysis: Just 1 bowl tie-in here, which goes to Middle Tennessee. The other 6-win teams go into the wild-card groupings, and quite frankly, must be placed at the bottom of any/all lists for bowls.
WAC:
San Jose State
Analysis: San Jose State actually has 7 wins, but with the WAC only having 6 bowl tie-ins, they are on the list here as a wild-card team.

WILD CARDS:
Kansas - 6-6
Pitt - 6-6
N. Illinois - 7-5
Kent State - 6-6
Wyoming - 6-6
Arizona - 6-6
WSU - 6-6
Alabama - 6-6
Arkansas State - 6-6
Louisiana-Lafayette - 6-6
Troy - 6-6
San Jose State - 7-5

Now, remove N. Illinois and San Jose State, as they are guaranteed to get a bowl game based on having 7 wins (totally BOGUS!). Now you are left with the following:
Kent State - 6-6
Wyoming - 6-6
Arizona - 6-6
WSU - 6-6
Alabama - 6-6
Arkansas State - 6-6
Louisiana-Lafayette - 6-6
Troy - 6-6
Kansas - 6-6
Pitt - 6-6

That's 10 teams with 6 wins. But, guess what? There is ONLY 1 SPOT available, after you place N. Illinois and San Jose State! That's right, with those 7-win teams placed, that's 63 teams in bowl games, and only 1 spot available.

With that pool of 10 teams, using the process of elimination, we can remove Kent State, Wyoming, Ark St, La-Lafayette, and Troy, as they lose out in any/all comparisons to the higher-level BCS conferences. Then, I believe you can remove Pitt, as people walk around and bitch about WSU losing their last 3, but it was even worse for Pitt, losers of their last 5. And, I think you can probably remove Kansas, as even though they won 3 of their last 4, they still have some cupcake city wins (Northwestern State? Louisiana-Monroe? South Florida? Toledo?). They have ZERO wins to hang their hat on in 2006, so I can't imagine they'd have any reason to be ahead of AZ, WSU or Alabama. So they are out.

That leaves us with Arizona, WSU and Alabama.

Yes, Alabama is an SEC school, but they lost 3 of their last 4 games, with their only win coming against Florida International. Their best win turns out to be their best win of the season, vs. Hawaii to open 2006, but otherwise, they didn't beat another bowl team. Plus, depending on what you read, Mike Shula is probably on his way out, and a 6-6 record down there is reason to fly the flags at half-mast. So, in my mind? See ya later Bama.

Finally, it's between Arizona and WSU. And, in the end, if I had to make that pick? I'd have to pick Arizona, and for some very good reasons:
1) Arizona was the hottest team in the Pac-10 down the stretch, outside of USC, winning 3 of their last 4, including wins at WSU when we were ranked, at Oregon when Oregon was ranked, and over a highly-ranked Cal team.
2) WSU cannot match that, as our signature wins are over Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA, but that's it. And, WSU lost their last 3 games to finish at 6-6.
3) Finally, of course, head-to-head. Arizona went into Pullman and won a huge game for them, totally turning around their season and building their confidence while really dousing WSU in some cold, wet reality.

So there we have it. Worst-case scenario, we're going to be in the final mix of bowl teams on the table, but we WILL lose out. Our only saving grace at this point? Hope like hell that Tom Hansen grows a pair all of a sudden and demands his 6-win teams are placed by the bowl tie-ins, and let ASU (which is now "Dirk-less" after firing Koetter tonight) and Oregon get their at-large bids, knocking the unworthy N. Illinois and even San Jose State out of the picture! Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, November 23, 2006

2007 Preview--Say Hello to 5-7

Happy Thanksgiving Cougar Nation!

Well, in the midst of speculation that our bowl hopes may not be completely dead, Brinkhater thought he'd throw some fuel on that fire and state how DIRELY important it is that we play anyone, anywhere in a bowl THIS season.

Why is that so important?

Because next year's schedule and fortunes look BRUTAL. In short, this team, as much as ANY TEAM in the last 20 years of Cougar football desperately needs those additional practices and reps. We need it in the worst way!

So, keeping in mind that Brinkhater nailed the 6-6 season before the season began, here is my look at 2007:


2007 - WSU Football
September 1
@ Wisconsin LOSS
September 8
SAN DIEGO STATE/Seattle WIN
September 15
IDAHO WIN
September 22
@ USC LOSS
September 29
@ Arizona LOSS
October 6
ARIZONA STATE (HC) LOSS
October 13
@ Oregon LOSS
October 20
OREGON STATE WIN
October 27
UCLA (FD) WIN
November 3
@ California LOSS
November 10
STANFORD (DD, AFD) WIN
November 17
@ Washington LOSS

In my math, that is 5-7. Keep in mind, that we have been 1-8 at home in conference over the past couple of years, so my prediction that we will do well at home may well be a real push.

But, I think we'll beat a still-bad Stanford, we'll gut one out against the Beavs, and UCLA is the team that we just seem to have a number on. There's our 3 conference wins.

Beyond that, its trouble.

The good news is that the season is so brutal that I honestly don't think that experience will matter much at QB in terms of our fortunes, I really don't. In no uncertain terms, now is the time to make a change at QB.

But, at the least, lets give Alex A LOT more work with the receivers that we'll have coming back.

We NEED that bowl game! Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Not much else to add

A picture from a much happier time......before kickoff yesterday!

As the headline states, not too much to add here. Just a thoroughly disappointing end to a season that once held so much promise. Sure, there is a mathematical possibility that WSU could still end up in a bowl game, but, it's hard to imagine we're high on any list right about now, coming off a 3-game collapse and looking not very good in the process.

Maybe in the big-picture kind of way, I really wonder if we're staring straight into the abyss, and there's now no way to stop it. I wonder, if as I heard about 1000 times walking out of the stadium yesterday, that if Doba is really our "Keith Gilbertson" as a head coach. You know, a really good assistant in his own right, but as a head coach, he just doesn't cut it. After the 2003 season, culminating in the Holiday Bowl win over Texas, Doba could have run for King of Pullman and won in a landslide. But they've followed that up with 5-6, 4-7 and now 6-6 seasons. Is 3 straight non-bowl wins acceptable after 3 straight top-10 finishes in the AP poll!?!? Apparently it is, and, for the very reason that drives basically everything in the country.

Money. That's why. Pure and simple. Money. We are the POOREST school in the conference, 10 out of 10 in every possible way you analyze it. We have Doba locked up until 2010, and he's the lowest-paid head coach in the conference. We can barely afford to keep the staff together as it is, and the last thing the university is going to do is fire a guy like Doba and pay him off while they also bring someone else in and start over. It's just not going to happen. You know why? Because we as fans are not doing enough about it. Like the Dan Weaver article criticized people a few weeks ago, in that as a group, WSU fans give the LEAST, and yet expect the MOST out of the program. Period.

No, I'm not going to start a "Fire the Coach!" campaign, or register firebilldoba.com or anything insane like that. But I seriously doubt now that he's got the head-coaching chops to avoid the basement next year.

Everyone (including myself) needs to look in the mirror and ask what we can do to step up and help the program before it slides into the abyss, because as Brinkhater says, this is setting up to be a brutally tough next couple of seasons if things remain as-is. And given the "state" of "State", don't expect anything to change. Read more ...plus comments

Congratulations Washington

No other way to put it.

There was one team on the field last night that looked like they had something to play for. And it wasn't us.

And that shocked the holy hell out of Brinkhater.

When you think about how BIG this game was for our program, and how much bigger it was for us than for them, well....I'm still nearly speechless.

But, Tye got his boys to play and they played, so Kudos to the Tyee club for that. And what happened to us?

You can check out Sedihawk's take at AOL. Its a good one, although I'm not going to agree with it entirely (although he was there, so you decide). Here are Brinkhater's takes:

1) What happened to the D?

Granted, the 3-4 and its effectiveness waned down the stretch. But since 2003--when we were loaded with NFL talent--this defense, though plagued by injuries the past couple of years--has just not been effective. The biggest issue has been our blitz schemes. As Doba noted last year, other teams had figured us out. Well, they figured us out again this year down the stretch. When you read the quotes in the paper, you're gonna wonder what's going on with preparation (third week in a row, the players talk about being unprepared or surprised).

Say what you want, but this team was better defensively than what it showed. The coaches HAVE to be accountable for that. It may be time for someone's head to role on the staff. Its NOT getting done.

2) What happened to our Punter?

Don't know about you all, but why our punter decided to have Saturday be his worst game BY FAR is just beyond me. He took the Biggest strides in the history of ever with the biggest shank jobs in the history of ever. Again, I don't understand it, but its fair to say that our special teams play has been THE WORST ever for us in the Doba era. There also needs to be accountability there.

3) Burn Martin Stadium Down to the Ground

There was a post on Glenn's blog earlier in the year lambasting Kasses for picking against the Cougs before the Oregon game because Glenn didn't recognize our 'home field advantage.' Well, in the last two years, we are a whopping 1-8 at home in conference play. That, dear Cougar nation, speaks volumes about the state of our program. Pathetic.

4) End the Brink Regime.

Sedihawk is pretty adament that there was no one open yesterday. Fair enough. Although my argument is beyond tired at this point, I am also flipping sick and tired of dismissing our program's woes on everything BUT our quarterback. The bottom line is this:

a) His mechanics don't allow him easily to "dump over" the line to hit the middle or semi-middle slant (he was good straight over the middle this year, but never found the slant pass--which is where he got picked off all of last year. This year he didn't throw it at all--he threw a possession curl. The slant used to be a huge part of our playbook!)

b) When he rolls out, his arm strength limits him to out patterns to receivers that are rolling with him (he can't throw cross field--another limiting factor).

c) While he clearly has toughness, his legs don't provide us with an extra dimension to our offense.

d) His bubble screens take FOREVER to get there--which means that seldom, if ever, does the short pass yield yards after the catch--another staple of previous offenses. Yesterday, you saw younger guys drop a few of those because of hearing "footsteps." The ball just takes too long to get there...

e). Building on "e", his arm strength yields far too many timing routes--which get taken away real quick when defenses pinch up.

f) Too often he plays "great" on one hand, but then misses CRUCIAL gimme passes which cost us CRUCIAL first downs. (and games!). This type of error is something you take as a growing pain with a young QB, but not one that has played for three seasons...

The list can go on and on and on.

Bottom line of bottom line:

1) We go 9-3 this year if Bumpus and Hill Don't Get Hurt

2) We are going to have a losing season next year.

3) We are going to have a losing season the year after that if our QB is in his first year.

Its that simple.

It was a bad season, with bad breaks. But you had your chance Mr. Alex and couldn't get it done. Time for you to hold the clipboard now.

And its Time for You Mr. Doba to make some serious changes. We talked about it last year, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TEAM. The inmates (your assistants) don't run the assylum. You do. So, run it. (I would make no changes to the offensive coaching staff, by the way).

Clearly, the status quo just ain't working.

What a long offseason it will be! Read more ...plus comments

Friday, November 17, 2006

Last Regular Season Coug Game

I don't think I'm in that picture Hawk because I was too busy hugging Jerome Harrison elsewhere. And speaking of hugging Jerome, that was where I discovered Jerome could have truley ran for and been voted in as the mayor of Pullman. What a great guy. He didn't even mind me cupping his ass during the hug.

Here's a series of thoughts I had this week. Remember when the Cougs used to lose games by "Couging it"? One thing I think we've enjoyed in the Doba era is that "Couging" games has become a thing of the past. The Cougs hold onto leads and if they lose games they usually are losing them right from the start. However, is there a new trend of "Couging" a season rather than games? If the Cougs lose tomorrow my friends, they "Couged" it. They blew what could have been a 9-3 season and finish 6-6 with probably not much likelihood of a bowl game. It is amazing how much better 7-5 sounds than 6-6 right now.

They good news is they can and will do it. They will do it for the same reason they did it last year... pure pride and finishing on a positive note. The extra motiviation they have this year is a bowl game. I really don't see how our defense can't make Bonnell and/or DuRocher wet down their leg. I also think that the offense has had enough time together now without Hill and Bumpus to be able to click better. Maybe they have a kicking game now too huh?

Cougs 28 UW 17
Ducks 28 UA 24
USC 32 Cal 27 USC will find a way to win, even though they aren't the team they used to be.
Beavs 35 Stanford 10
Sundildos 30 UCLA 23

Come on guys... THE Ohio State is your national champion. The only team they've haven't given a total ass-whoopin' to this year is Illinois. It won't be big but it will be authoritive.

Buc's 27 Wolverines 17 Read more ...plus comments

Football Friday, Week 12

Well, Coug Nation, the end is now near. And while its easy to be lulled asleep by the last few weeks, it is important to note that Brinkhater is now sitting at 10-1 in the season prediction department for the Cougs. With a win this week, Brinkhater plays for the National Championship.

So, what's it gonna be, you ask?

Cougs, cougs, cougs, cougs, cougs in this one.

Sedihawk brings up a good point below--namely, that the Cougs NEVER play well in this game when they are favored. NEVER.

But, as bad as Husky teams have been over the past couple of years, they have NEVER been as bad as the team that is headed east on the bus right now. Simply put, this Husky team is absolutely AWFUL. (and let this be known Coug fans, IF we were to lose this game-and we won't--heads should roll. This would be the biggest collapse in the history of the program!)

That said, this WSU team is not much better due to injuries on offense, although per Sedihawk's comments, I think you will find a MUCH different performance from the defense this week with the return of our DTs.

I also think that despite recent woes, that the coaching staff will implement the two TE set this week and use it early. In other words, Brinkhater predicts that the Cougs WILL run the ball this weekend--to the tune of 155 yards on the ground.

Mind you, this game is NOT going to be pretty--unless you are into "pretty" frustrating performances.

But, as we've learned with this team, as the running game goes, so does the defense. As the running game goes, so does Alex Brink. And since we will find a way to run, all will be good.

Cougs win this one handily 24-10 despite some UGLY three and outs from both sides...

Elsewhere:

Ariz 21 Ore 17: Oregon can't stop the run. Arizona has learned how to play power ball--they also can cover well enough to keep Dixon in the pocket. When that happens, Oregon can't score.

Cal 31 USC 21 Simply put, SC is NOT an 11-1 team. CAL's ability to run and play D will be the difference here. First RB in 40+ years for Da Bears.

OSU 51 Stanford 3: Mad Beavers meet a Stanford team that now has NOTHING to play for. This one will be brutal.

UCLA 28 ASU 27: Wacky Crap-10 just gets whackier.

Mich 31 OSU 24 (OT): Greatest football game ever before the game becomes greatest football game ever played after the game. With the spirit of BO working like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mojo is all towards Michigan. I agree with Sedihawk, Michigan is MUCH better than people have given them credit for. This one IS the classic! Read more ...plus comments

Football Friday - lightning round



Lightning-fast Football Friday.

Yes, I'm in this picture. As is Rooster, I believe, although it's kind of hard to get a clean look at him. This is after the 2004 Apple Cup.

Anyway, first, our game - I had a ridiculiously long over-analysis on this game at AOL, and literally as I was typing the last line, I got a fatal error on my internet explorer window, causing a lockup. Sucks, I know. But I lost EVERYTHING. But, maybe that's a good thing. It forced me to look at things much more on a simple level, and sometimes that's the best approach.

To me, it's all about the defenses. Whoever plays better defensively, with more emotion, creates turnovers, etc, will win. It's going to be a bare-knuckle brawl and will fully lack anything resembling flash-n-dash. That said, I have to go with the Crimson army, returning the top 3 DT's. The trickle-down from that development alone cannot be overstated. It means more 4-3 defenses, more blockers occupied at the line of scrimmage, very little double-teams of Mkristo, the LB's are free to fly around and make plays, with the better pass rush off the edges that means life is better for the secondary in pass coverage, on and on and on.

Even though WSU never, never, EVER plays well in this game as a favorite, I'm picking the Cougs to pull it out, 22-19.

Other games:
USC 30, Cal 27 - Boys from Troy lock up the Pac-10. Longshore not what we thought??
ASU 34, UCLA 20 - The Devils are off the mat and playing with confidence again.
OSU 35, Stanford 9 - Beavs strike back after lackluster UCLA loss.
Oregon 27, Arizona 16 - It might be even closer than the score. Arizona has a really good defense, we know that, but their offense has improved to where they can put a scare into anyone.

FINALLY, the biggest game in the history of ever!?!? I'm calling the upset here. I can't believe Ohio State is a 7-pt fav. I know it's in Columbus and all that, but still, Michigan is really good. I'm also not totally sold on Ohio State's defense, and as we know in rivalry games in November, defense usually makes the difference. Michigan 28, Ohio St 27. Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, November 12, 2006

LOOKING FOR A THREE-PEAT

Well, Cougar faithful, we now stand at the season's Brink. One game to decide whether this program has a shot at resurrection or whether we are doomed to have our best year in "the cycle" be the pinnacle of mediocrity.

You see, with the exception of 2001-2003, this program has lived and died on the bigtime quarterback. The goal: eat it for two years while the shining-stud-to-be takes his lumps in the system so we can eat people alive when he FINALLY gets it.

Obviously, this system has been effective: Rosey went 9-3 after SUCKING for a year and a half before. Bledsoe when 9-3 after SUCKING a year and a half before. Leaf went 10-2 after struggling through a year and a start. And Gesser went 20-5 after an injury-riddled and uneven fresh and sophomore campaigns.

We now know that the "formula" that worked for the past 18 years didn't work with Alex Brink. 27 starts into his tenure, the Cougs now sit at 12-15. At this point, it does no good to say "I told you," but I do feel more than justified to call a spade a spade. So, let me say it as it is:

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS TO KNOW THAT ALEX BRINK WILL NOT PLAY A DOWN OF COUGAR FOOTBALL IN 2007.

That all said, let me make this point clear:

ALEX BRINK SAVES HIS LEGACY--and perhaps the program--BY BECOMING THE ONLY QB TO BEAT UW 3 STRAIGHT YEARS.

Its just that simple.

The Dawgs are a BAD football team right now. And we are just on the outside of "terrible" right now.

Both Defenses are awful. Both Offenses are nothing short of offensive.

But, with the game in Pullman, the game really comes down to one question:

Who do you want at Quarterback, Alex Brink or Carl Bonnel/Johnny D?

Obviously, any sane person would take Alex over those two jokes. And so, any one in their right mind would HAVE to install the Cougars as prohibitive favorites in this game.

So, its on your shoulders, Alex. Win this one and we will have a leg to stand on for this season and beyond.

Lose this one, and you will solidify yourself as the Biggest Bust that this program has witnessed over the last 30 years. Read more ...plus comments

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Picks, Week 12-1

Well last Friday I filled out my picks, hit the "Publish Post" button and headed out towards Pullman for what turned out to be the worst weekend I've had in a long time. I'm kind of glad my post didn't post because I said some rediculous crap. Things like "Arizona is going to be on the business end of an ass-whoopin'" or "Arizona won't be able to pass and will kill themselves with turnovers thanks to Mother Nature" or "Expect a shellacking". Stuff like that. Bad things always happen to me when I try to talk trash. Lesson learned.... again.

The weekend started out okay. I got to Reardan in time to watch the last half of their game on Friday night. By the way in Reardan they call it Friday Night Light (no plural) and the smells of the neighboring dairy scream B-11. They improved themselves to a 9-0 record by beating the Springdale Chargers 26-6. The mighty Indians have now outscored their opponents by a combined 349-53. And for comic relief Springdale showed up to the game with 12 players. It is very weird to look across the field and see 1 guys standing on the sideline. Hopefully the Axtell boys read this thing.

On to Saturday that started out okay as well with a couple beers and a pre-game sideline pass provided by my man Todd Thrasher. I went and found my seat as soon as Arizona scored on their 3rd play of the game. I then sat in the cold rainy weather and watched possibly the poorest Cougar performance in a long time. Like I said after last years Oregon State game, it is amazing how much this team relies on Jason Hill. Whether he is catching passes or not.

As I was about to leave my mom's house on Sunday morning, we got a call that my dad had a heart attack and was being flown to Sacred Heart. This was followed up by a quadruple bypass on Monday. Sweet... a 3-day weekend. He's in good shape now, but he'll be splitting time at my brother and I's houses during the next month or so of recovery. Apparently Saturdays game didn't have anything to do with his heart attack. I asked.

I picked 4 out of the 5 games last week if you guys are willing to believe me. I don't think I'm in the running anymore though anyway.

Anyhoo, here are my picks for the week:
Sundildos 23 Cougs 17 (I'm going to try reverse psychology here)
UW 24 Stanford 10
USC 32 Oregon 21
Cal 32 Lucky Bastards 13
Beavs 24 Brew-ins 20 Read more ...plus comments

FOOTBALL FRIDAY, WEEK 11

Happy Football Friday to all the Cougar faithful. Hope you all had a solid, solid week. As always, hard to believe that we are in the 11th game of this season. And what implications this one has for the future of this program.

As noted earlier in the week, this one may be the most important game of the Doba era. Win this week and you are headed straight for 8-4 with an Apple Cup, that while still HUGELY important, would not have the same pressure attached to it. Plus, 8-4 is so qualitatively different than 7-5 or 6-6. With a down year likely next year, and with two losing seasons in the rears, we REALLY need a GOOD season this year to show that we're still a truly competitive program.

So, what's gonna happen this weekend?

While Brinkhater loves Sedihawk's optimisim--and prays that he is 1000% correct--the outlook of this weekend's game is just not so rosy for me. That said, I totally agree that we are better than the Devils, I think we are more of a team than the Sun Devils, and I think that we are much better coached than the Sun Devils.

I also think that our quarterback, Mr. Alex Brink, is MUCH better than their little sophomore. So, if you do the little position-by-position checkbox thing, we win this game. Period.

But, I don't think that anyone who knows this team and knows Mr. Brink can overlook how MONUMENTAL the loss of BOTH Hill and Bumpus are to this offense. In the end, I just don't think that we are going to be able to move the ball and when we do, we're gonna struggle to score touchdowns. Its really that simple. The sad thing is, with one of those two guys at 100%, we win this game. With both of them, we run away with it.

Nothing would delight me more than to see Brink light it up and to have us win this game going away. Like I said last week as well, nothing would delight me more than ANY WIN. I'd take a 3-2 romp right now.....(I also think that there's a chance that the two TE POWER BALL set that I eluded to earlier in the week COULD prove to be very effective).

But, my sense is that it ain't gonna happen. ASU 21 WSU 13. Cougs will battle with the Dawgs next week to see whether Sedihawk (pre-season prediction 7-5) or Brinkhater (pre-season prediction 6-6) were the soothier soothsayer.

Other games:

UW 21 Stanford 20--UW is not playing well now and Stanford is improving--at least according to them. UW will be thinking "lay up" while Stanford will be VERY motivated to avoid a winless season (and yes, they will think they can win this game). This one may be something ugly.
USC 38 Oregon 27 - Quack will be kept in check until late, Troy will RUN over that defense.
CAL 48, AZ 7 - Any chance of an upset or close game evaporated with the Cats upset over the Cougs. Now, AZ has Cal's attention and the Bears will want to make a BIG statement before the USC game. When we see this score, last week will feel even worse
OSU 38 UCLA 14: Love Sedihawks upset call--could happen. But to me, OSU is just too hot and UCLA just too not. TO's do the Bruins in--again.

Enjoy the last weekend of untelevised Cougar football.

Win this stinkin' game, fellas!

And GO ALEX BRINK! (I'm changing the moniker if we win) Read more ...plus comments

Football Friday Game 11

The usual AOL preview is up. Hard game to call, really, and you can make an argument in a lot of different directions. I'm not being a "homer" this week, but bottom line? I think WSU is more resilient than ASU. The Cougs have bounced back from a loss every time this season, and you have to wonder what's up at ASU with 3 gignatic blowout losses. To me, that's not a team that's "together". Tight all the way, but WSU 24, ASU 20.

Other games:
UW 38, Stanford 10 - Setting up for a big AC next week?
USC 33, Oregon 29 - Big game, big performance from the healthy USC offense
CAL 24, AZ 17 - Tighter than expected with USC on the horizon
UCLA 26, OSU 24 - Upset alert! OSU is hot, but UCLA in must-win mode at home. UCLA put up 516 yards of offense last week vs. Cal, so I have a feeling they'll gut this one out. Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dallas Fan is Really, Really, REALLY mad.

Check it out:




Rant #2:




Be afraid, be very afraid. Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hey, ASU is Limping Too!

Yep, we're beat up. But so is ASU.

Getting up early is going to go a long way towards beating them down in the desert. With the struggling confidence of Rudy Carpenter, and now their 800-yard tailback is probably out with a sprained ankle? And a couple of starting o-lineman and their #2 WR are also out, as well as another 3-yr letterman at WR!?!? Hmmm. Meanwhile Ropati is coming back this week and will hopefully play in the D-tackle rotation as we see more 4-3 against their running game? Double-Hmmm.

See, it's not that bad! It's NEVER that bad fellas.

Oh yeah, tidbit of the week. Alex Brink is now #1 in total offense in the Pac-10. Not bad. Read more ...plus comments

Monday, November 06, 2006

POWER BALL

Well, Coug fans, how does the hangover from Saturday's debacle feel two days after the fact? Don't know about you all, but Brinkhater woke up this morning in the bluest of blue moods. Without question, the next two games loom large for this program. And, it would be hard to argue against the notion that this Saturday's game represents the most important football game that has been played by the Cougies since the 2002 UCLA game (where we clinched the RB after choking against the Puppies).

Why such superlatives?

Well, you win this Saturday and you clinch a bowl birth--something that this program HAS to do this year. Second: you win Saturday and you take a GOOD dose of confidence into the Apple Cup and LOSE a whole lot of pressure in the process. Simply put, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that UW will be coming in at 5-6--so it will be A LOT better for us to have a bowl wrapped up, so we can just focus on winning a football game (as opposed to NOT losing the Apple Cup, and our entire season with it). Third: you win Saturday and you probably win the Apple Cup. Meaning: you finish 8-4 (Bravo, Rooster) and have a chance at finishing a SOLID (not great, but solid) season at 9-4.

On the flip side, lose this weekend and you lock up Alex Brink as being the only third year QB in the Post-1985 era to not win at least 9 games in the third year. You also assure no better than a 7-5 finish which is NOT a very good season if you have ANY standards for what appeared to be a pretty proud program not so long ago. When you factor in that next year will be a real struggle for us given our losses to graduation, and well, we simply have GOT to put a strong finish on this year.

So, how do we do it?

First of all, as Glenn K stated in the paper, its now time for Power Ball. The Cougs must insert the two TE set this week and get ready to POUND teams with the running game. Toward that end, Alex Brink has got to STEP UP in a major, major, MAJOR way. While Brink has been SOLID in the middle third of the season in throwing the ball over the middle, he will have to do so now WITHOUT the benefit of open space and lanes. In other words, he must make quick decisions, deliver the ball with zip, AND deliver the ball with pinpoint accuracy.

Obviously, these three criteria have not been Brink's strength. In other words, for us to win, the Offense must now be Power possession oriented and Brink must become something that he has truly never had to do before--be a playmaker.

In short of shorts, this is the deal. If Alex wins the next two games, I'm changing the moniker to "Brinkslave" "Brinklayer" or some such. And, I, Mr. Brinkhater, are sure hopeful that he does. The future of our program depends on his ability to rise to this tremendous challenge.

Fairly or unfairly, the season now comes down to Mr Alex. Lets hope that both he, and that flipping jeckyl and hyde o-line, are up to it! Read more ...plus comments

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Let DOWN(er)!

Scroll down to the previous post to see that some of us were nervous about this game. And for good reason. Bottom line: Brinkhater is not good enough at anything to have an undefeated season (in this case, in the Coug prediction department).

Now, next week looms large for both bowl and program hopes.

With Bumpus and Hill potential casualties, the impetus will be on Brink to find a way to get a win.

We'll see how it all plays out. But, too bad about the injuries. With Hill and Bumpus, we would not have lost this game.

Woulda coulda shoulda

(but why the fake punt????) Read more ...plus comments

Friday, November 03, 2006

Football Friday--Week X

Happy Football Friday to all. Hope you've had a good week. As you can all tell, our famous staff are struggling to reach the finish line...with no bye week, its all pretty tough.

Couple of quick hits regarding this game:

1) This game has let down written all over it. I know that people are jacked about how bad Arizona is, but remember that they've had two weeks to scheme and their D isn't bad. When you factor in the weather, this one is gonna be ugly, at least for a while..

2) We need a blow out in the worst way. For one, it will allow us to rest guys like Bruce. Second: we need to get Rogers some playing time. As of right now, if Brink gets hurt, we're back to the Gesser-Kegel scenario in the 2002 Apple Cup. There's NO WAY Rogers gets time next week, so hopefully, we'll get up big and they'll get him some time.

3) We need a big win to solidify ourselves in the polls. This is a big time of year for recruiting and to parade into people's homes ranked in the country is BIG for us.

End analysis: we're gonna win this game going away, but its gonna come late. Final score: Cougs 28 Arizona 7 (but it will be 14-7 late in the third). It won't be exactly what we needed, but it will do. Hell, ANY type of win will do...

Other games:

ASU 24 Oregon State 17 (Here comes the letdown!)
UW 28 Oregon 27
CAL 41 UCLA 7
USC 155 Stanford 2


Enjoy the game not being televised--again! Read more ...plus comments

Quick Football Friday

I'm sorry to say that my 3-yr old has the chicken pox and it's my turn in the "rotation" to stay at home with him, so I'll be brief....

The AOL preview is up. Nothing super, really, it felt like Hamburger Helper without the hamburger. You know, all helper, NO MEAT. Maybe it's because the overall tone of this game sounds like it won't be filled with Sportscenter moments? I don't know. I just hope they aren't as flat as I was writing this week's preview! By the way, can you believe this is the 10th game of the season?? Amazing.

My football Friday picks:
WSU 23, Arizona 9 - upper-40's and rain, decent AZ defense keep it tight until very late.
Oregon 30, UW 26 - both teams LOVE each other, and UW will give all they have.
OSU 26, ASU 24 - Beavs are for real, but so are the Devils.
CAL 36, UCLA 17 - The annual 2nd half fade begins in Westwood?
USC 45, Stanford 6 - Someone MUST PAY for USC's first loss since John Kerry was a rising senator with White House aspirations!?!

Great timing on the botched joke there John. And a great job on the GOP dog pile! I would imagine Karl Rove sent him a nice love letter after that F-UP! But, let's get real here. So John Kerry screwed up the punch line of a joke, so what!?!? There are actual books, we're talking full-blown novels, dedicated to "Bush-isms". 'Tis the season I guess. Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Write a check....

or SHUT your mouth. At least that's the gist of the article. Brutally honest, not that the numbers are a shock but the tone is somewhat surprising.

We are, as a whole, a pretty apathetic fan base. From lousy and inconsistent attendance to the lowest fan donor levels of any program in the conference, we are bad. Yet we expect so much and criticize so heavily in the process.

Maybe it's because of the last few years of losing, or the traditional "WSU cycle" that people speak of, where the program enjoys very nice moments surrounded by pretty bad football. You know, the highs of 1992 was followed by 1993, 1994 was followed by 1995-96, 1997 was followed by 1998-2000, 2001-2003 was followed by 2004-2005, etc, etc, etc. Maybe it's the up-and-down nature of things that prevent the average Joe from jumping on and finding some extra money for a program that needs it so bad that it won't even move a game for TV because of the funds that it would take for another project (believe me, that sounds weird, but there is a certain reason a game wasn't moved for TV because of another event that would cost the university some $).

I will say this - to this day, I still don't understand why Spokane doesn't get behind the program more. Here is a school 80 miles to the south that plays an exciting brand of football and is really eastern Wa's team, yet the fans just don't get hooked. Granted there are a decent number of fans up there, but really, with the population (Spokane County has 440,000+ residents), you'd think there would be enough fans to sell out a football game. Yet I was there at homecoming for the Cal game, and there were maybe 30,000 people there. Weak, weak sauce. Read more ...plus comments