Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Compelling Gameday

Top of the morn to you, Cougar Nation. And welcome to the most compelling game day that we've had since the Cougs headed to Corvallis in 2005.

On that day, we were 3-0, fat and sassy, and looking at returning to the rankings for the first time in a year. Of course, things looked great early as we raced to a 30-7 halftime lead: the Ghost was unstoppable and Brink was well on his way to a single game, school record of 540+ passing yards.

But, as we all know, the second half was a different story. From the emergence of Brink's inability to throw over the middle to someone on his own team, to Bumpus' fumble, to Jason Hill's injury, to the loss of Derting for the year, we went from what seemed to be a surefire 4-0 to a 4-7 season before we could even blink. With a different second half, what happens to the rest of the season? If Derting stays healthy, what happens to that team? If Hill stays healthy, do we lose to Stanford the next week? From Brinkhater's perspective, a different second half on that fateful first weekend in October would have meant that the Cougs would have entered SC 7-0 and would have flirted with a 8-3 or 9-2 year as was predicted on this very blog. And if that had occured, what would last year have looked like? What would recruiting look like today?

No one knows what the second half is going to hold tonight, but the sense of Brinkhater is that tonight's game is going to be in play at the end of the first half. Thus, the whole fate of the PROGRAM hinges on what happens in the second half of tonight's game.

As I noted early in the year, Alex Brink is going to have to be near super human for us to hover around .500 this year. And tonight is going to be no exception. Simply put, for us to win this game tonight, Alex Brink is going to have to throw for at least 400 yards with probably 4 Touches and ZERO interceptions. In addition, the running game is going to have to have at least 125 on the ground. That's right, in order for us to win, we will need to amass at least 525 yards of total offense. Brinkhater things we will also have to score 42 points.

But wait, there's more!

We'll also have to play a good game on special teams and limit our turnovers to ONE.

Think we can do it?

In Brinkhater's view, tonight is ALL ABOUT ALEX BRINK. Can he rise to meet the challenge of winning a must win game? Can he lead the team to 3 or 4 touchdowns tonight on sure will and moxy alone? Can he keep himself and his teammates cool despite constant pressure to score on every possession?

We'll find out.

Granted, nothing would make Brinkhater happier than to see the Cougs come out and smack a 41-21 pasting on the Mildcats.

But tonight I think we will see how bad the D really is, and within that, will see how our hapless Defense and Defensive Scheme actually KILLS the production of the offense. Again, for us to win, Alex has to be GREAT in spite of getting his touches once every 5 to 7 football minutes. But if we lose, I doubt that it will be his fault.

Mildcats 38 Cougars 24

Other games:

CAL 44 Oregon 41: I like CAL in this one as Dixon stays in pocket and can't deliver on the last possession of the game.

SC 45 Washington 10: Message to Ty; when its 24-0 in the first half, pull your quarterback..Brinkhater does not see Jake walking after this game.

ASU 41 Stanford 27. Much closer than people think. Kinda like the close game that Brinkhater called between Arizona and CAL last week (gulp!)

UCLA 28 Oregon State 27: UCLA proves once and for all what many of you already know--Oregon State ain't any good, and thus, Brinkhater really knows nothing about football....

Enjoy the games.

16 comments:

Sedihawk said...

I couldn't agree more, in that our defensive scheme might be the #1 cause of a loss tonight. But we'll see. Maybe Doba has something up his sleeve and we'll show them something they weren't expecting. It is still a new offense for those guys, and they only did anything meaningful last week because Cal had such a big fat lead. They had to throw it every down, but when the game was "hot" they were blown out. Maybe this is the week Doba cuts these guys loose to try and at least slow down the quick-hitting passing game. But I know this - if he continues to give 10-15 yard cushions on every flippin' play, we're going to be nickel-n-dimed to death tonight.

Maybe most of all our running game will be front and center. What better way to 1) take pressure off Brink to have to be perfect every play, 2) keep our defense off the field as much as humanly possible, and 3) play keep-away from the pass-happy Mildcats? This could be THE NIGHT that Tardy and Ivory and the offensive line carry the mail, so to speak. And, we know that when Brink has a strong running game, we are far, far more successful. Our two worst rushing games last year were against these guys, just 45 yards rushing in the 27-7 loss, and against ASU, a brutal 27 yards in that dreaful loss in Tempe. We run the ball tonight, we can win.

On the other games - I think you are wrong on Cal over Oregon btw. Revenge, at Autzen, Dixon playing out of his mind, and Cal's average, beat-up defense? I think both teams will break 40 points, but Oregon's the pick there.

Also UCLA over Oregon State?? Nah. The 'Ruins are the definition of unmotivated talent. One week they show up and can beat anyone (USC last year, etc). The next week they show up and they get destroyed (Utah this year, etc). The yo-yo continues. Besides, Mike Riley's guys circle the wagons better than anyone in the Pac-10, and it's officially "ON" for them. The Beavs' D is pretty good, especially against the run. You put Cowan in 2nd or 3rd and long, that's a recipe for disaster. Beavers will git 'er dun.

longball said...

You know sedihawk, i am embarassed for you that you had to resort to the tired out "git er done" cliche. that is so 2003. Of course i am over it because everything else you said is right on. I put this game on our ability to run the ball, and not a competant showing of 150 yrds, but a BIG rushing performance, like 200+. You laid out all the reasons why this would help us on BOTH sides of the ball pretty well, but i think an additional point to be made is Arizona's inability to run the ball. That gives us an excellent opportunity to control time of posession tonight. It is one area where we clearly out-perform them and we would be crazy not to try and take full advantage. It means fewer opportunities for Cason to make huge plays, like the dreaded 4th qtr pick-6 we all see Brink throwing in our worst nightmares.

Oh, and Toby "the motor" Turpin should start. He is our most explosive force on the D line so far and he only gets garbage minutes. I say THE FUTURE IS NOW!

Anybody watching this Oregon/Cal score fest? I just knew that all the hype of how much scoring was going to happen in this game would somehow result in a 3-0 first qtr.

Sedihawk said...

I'm embarrassed that you're embarrassed Longball. Git 'er done is brutal, and I don't know what I was thinking. I guess it's the usual commotion around the house on a Saturday AM with the wife and kids and dog, you know how it is. It's a miracle I can write anything, about anything.

Anyway, agreed, if we run the ball and slow them on the ground, it will help quite a bit. And again, Cal was up huge last week and AZ was forced to pass, and even though the final score was what it was, that was basically window-dressing. We'll see what happens tonight.

longball said...

Great day of football so far! (Audios Oklahoma!) And this Oregon/Cal game is a blast. in case any of you geek out on college football as much as i do, this site is kinda fun to play around on. -

http://fightmusic.com/

You can queue up the WAZZU fight song and have a mini-rally right in your living room before kickoff. I wish they would add the shark attack to our list of songs. Maybe when we field a defense they will.

P.S. - Damn, Tennesee's Rocky Top is by far my favorite fight song. I would put that song in my iPod. Of course it might get me so fired up on the way to work i would be in danger of head butting someone on the bus.

Hooty McBoob said...

Well gents, it's 3:48 PM on Cougar Football Saturday and I'm only on beer #2. After this morning's Pop Warner Tiny Mite clash between the Mighty Cheney Bears and the Cowboys, I've been outside doing man-stuff. Work gloves, work boots and all. I smell like dirt and sweat and I'm ready to go horizontal on the couch and enjoy...It's good to be a guy.

Before I break this thing down for all of you pessimists out there I just need to be a proud dad for a sec...

There was frost on the goalposts this morning. It was so cold that about half of the little Bears were crying...but not Mini McBoob. The littlest kid on the field turned in the best performance of his 4-game football career. Three sacks and a forced fumble on 'D'; and a 15 yard rumble for a big first down on his only touch on 'O'. It was a thing of beauty and clearly, this kid is a product of good genes and good coaching.

On to the big kids...

We got scorched last weekend, sure. But did you guys not see some improvement by our DB's? Yes, we played to not give up the big play but had it not been for poor tackling by the front 7, the final score would have looked a lot better. I really believe our young players are coming into their own.

The NFL has a 4-game pre-season, so I'm looking at the first third of the season like this: We just played 4 football games with more 1st-time starters than most teams. Among these players are true Freshmen and JC transfers who are brand new to the system - let alone being a long way from home for the first time in their lives.

Four games. Two Wins over teams we were supposed to beat and two losses that most would say we were supposed to lose. We are right where EVERYONE expected us to be AND our young players have knocked heads with two of the best teams in the country.

Time for liftoff. I really believe we're going to see a fired up Cougar team tonight. We're going to see adequate-to-solid 'D'; an efficient offense and a two-score margin of victory for the Cougs.

At the end of the night, we'll all have a very different opinion of this team.

GO COUGS!

longball said...

woo hoo, mini-mcboob! Doeshe have any offers yet? 'Cause the cougs could realy use a wrecking ball like that on the D line.

Hooty McBoob said...

OK, so there has been a delay in activities for the night...

Instead of hunkering down and watching the rest of the Auburn/Florida game, I just finished watching Cinderella with McBoob-ette. I'm up for the dad of the year award.

On the bright side, I am well into my box of Miller Lite.

No offers for Mini McBoob yet, Longball. We need to get a few more steaks in his belly first. Although the Cougs have a history of small, speedy ends, I don't think a 50-pounder is in the cards quite yet.

Alright boys - time to rumble.

This comment brought to you by Miller Lite.

Go Cougs!

Sedihawk said...

All bow down to Brinkhater. He homered on Cal and UCLA games, big-time. Thanks for reminding me that I know absolutely nothing, about, well, everything!

Although I do know we haven't forced a punt in 5 quarters now...and counting...

Anonymous said...

By the way, USC? BRUTAL. You should be embarrassed tonight. They've outgained UW 419 - 158 through 3 1/2 quarters yet it's still just a 7pt game. 13 penalties, including tons of pass interference calls, etc. Three turnovers, one run back for a score and one that led to another one? They are playing a BAD football game tonight. Why couldn't we have got this USC team last week? Ugh.

Anonymous said...

GRIGSBY FOR HEISMAN! EAT SH*T COUGAR PU$$IE$!

longball said...

Hey gutless "anonymous" Zona fan - how about Jed Collins for Heisman? One man army!

Sedihawk said...

1) How does an AZ fan not only find this site, but actually post? 2) It's probably not an AZ fan. We had some strong anti-Coug anonymous guys post last week, so it's probably one of them. Whatever. Just WIN COUGS! TD WSU and it's now 20-20! :)

Maybe we'll even force a punt...6 quarters...and counting...

And in case you are wondering, no, UW didn't "hang in there" with USC. Sure they only lost 27-24, but USC played, in a word, TERRIBLE. I watched almost that whole thing, and they absolutely dominated in yards but made bone-headed penalties (16!), special teams mistakes, including a missed chip-shot field goal and a blocked punt that UW turned into a TD with a minute to go. As Brinkhater said earlier this year, USC just ain't that special, and I think he's right. A "special" USC team would have won by 23 tonight.

Sedihawk said...

How flippin' GOOD is Brandon Gibson??? If he comes back for his senior year next year, he's absolutely INSANE. Go pro young man, so you don't suffer Jason Hill disease and get frustrated by double-teams and high-ankle sprains!

longball said...

Anyone know the number to a crisis hotline? I don't think i can go on anymore.

Billyblaze said...

OK just found this blog.....Coug alum 94 here......I didn't get a chance to watch the game on tv being here in Nevada (FSN had the ASU/Stanford game dialed in here in my region) and was further frustrated to find it not on xm radio so was following it on the internet (thanks for the delay on usatoday.com :( .......my question is are the Cougs really this bad?? How do we have a 20-20 deadlocked game in 3rd and then just collapse and give up 28 unanswered especially without scoring? Seems like late 2006 all over again.....what is it with Doba coached teams that our Cougs seem to never quite be prepared in the 2nd half? And damn, can we win any game in the Pac-10 this year since Stanford is not scheduled? Also, lets talk Brink - all time record holder in passing who has NEVER led the Cougs to a bowl game - does anyone but me think he is a little over-rated?? Records aside, I don't think anyone who has followed WSU over the years would even put Brink in their top3 Coug QBs of all time.........and I am starting to think our offense is over-rated as well so we won't even be able to hang in shoot-outs with anyone in division I..........anyway, hoping someone saw the game on the tube and can relay what happened??......if this was a must win and this was the best effort we could put forth, I am really worried and starting to regret purchasing tickets for the UCLA game.....someone please give us something positive to take out of this, please ;)

Billyblaze in NV

Sedihawk said...

Welcome, Billy.

I'd love to give you something positive. Maybe the 3rd quarter when we tied it up at 20, you thought that we might have momentum. But they just cannot, almost under any circumstances, stop any sort of offense right now. The warning signs have been there since the beginning, and we've hoped for improvement, but it's just not there. They aren't very good or they are far too young for this defense to be anything but a complete and utter disaster. And it's going to get worse. Much, much worse.

The offense, yeah, it probably is overrated to an extent. They never ran the ball well after the early going, and Brink without a running game will never be much better than average. They'd be a hell of a lot better if they had a defense to go with it, but there's already quotes in the media from several players, Brink included, about the pressure of having to be "too perfect" for them to have a chance to win (read: even the offense is conceding that the defense SUCKS).

Not much else to say now, but there will be more in the coming weeks. But the more you look at it, the harder it is going to get to find a victory anytime soon, if at all. This thing is going downhill in a hurry and right now, it's hard to imagine how they are going to turn it around.