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
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.