This has been a fairly quiet week in Cougville, wouldn't you agree? Must be the hot-blooded rivalry between these schools. Rivalry? What rivalry?? No rivarly, nothing to see here. I'm sure when the game gets rolling we'll want to destroy Idaho, but there are no bad feelings....or is there?
I remember a day when Idaho beat us. Actually beat us TWICE in a row, back in 1999 and again in 2000, the latter a wild one where Gesser racked up a ton of yards....and lost. I still remember seeing Idaho dance on our WSU logo. That sucked. We think times are tough right now, just stroll down memory lane and think of the era after the 1997 season and before the 2001 Sun Bowl year. Ah, yes, the King of Poop Island Mike Price years. Sniff-sniff.
But seriously, Jason Gesser lost to Idaho! Can you believe that? The biggest winner in WSU history, the guy Price dubbed as the MVP in the history of WSU sports, lost to Idaho at home?? WOW were we bad.
Ok, on to this week. We'll keep it short and sweet. Idaho is fat and sassy after winning last week before a whopping 9,000 fans at the Kibbie Dome. But that was last week. Sure, they fought hard vs. USC in the opener, but please tell me exactly HOW USC gets excited for Idaho?? A USC scrimmage might have produced more emotion than just facing the Vandals. But I don't think we'll see the Cougs come out flat this week, as there is enough on the line that despite Doba's love of Akey, the players want to drill them. This is the last time they play for a little while anyway, so the last thing WSU players want to do is hit the mall in Moscow, only to see a bunch of Vandals in black-n-gold sweats walk past them and pop off about how they beat them! It's not going to happen.
Idaho doesn't have much in terms of offense. Little Steven Jackson, Deonte Jackson, had a big game last week, but their QB's don't get the pulse racing in any way. Enderle and Nooy, whoever gets the most PT, won't put much of a dent in the WSU defense. And I think our rushing defense will handle Jackson, Jayson Bird, Brian Flowers or anyone else that touches the ball out of their backfield.
Meanwhile, it's easy to say there is cause for concern because Akey knows the Cougar players and coaches at such an intimate level. But this actually might be Akey's biggest downfall. Why? Because Doba, Levy and Rosie KNOW AKEY just as well! And don't you think Levy and Rosie have a few tricks up their sleeves to really nail Akey when he least expects it? Maybe Akey knows these guys too well, and that could get him caught with his pants down around his ankles on a couple of occasions Saturday night.
There's a reason Dwight Tardy's picture is up today, and that reason is this - he's going to run wild on Idaho. With Ivory banged up and likely out this week, Tardy will get a ton of carries. If we know Doba like we think we know Doba, we can forget about an aerial circus like last week. We will probably throw it a lot early to get a comfortable lead, but then it's run, run, and run some more until the scoreboard hits zero's. I mean let's get real, Idaho will have a hard time topping last year's 4 wins. Akey cleaned house, booting 17 players off the team in the offseason. They are REALLY YOUNG. Half these guys are barely out of diapers. We should do what we want to do, when we want to do it.
But make no mistake about it - WSU NEEDS THIS WIN. They know what lies ahead on the schedule, and this is one of just 5 home games in Pullman. It sounds as though there's been a good week of practice, and everyone is relatively healthy. I'll go 38-13, Cougs.
Around the league - USC 36, Nebraska 21. Biggest game in Lincoln since the last time a top-ranked contender from the Pac-10 rolled in and kicked their asses. That would be UW back in 1991, so we'll go with the exact same score from that game. USC looks a lot like 1991 UW. Dominating defense that is deep, talented and well coached, veteran QB, running game by committee. And oh yeah, USC has cheated in recent years with the Reggie Bush house and Dwayne Jarrett living rent-free. Lots of parallels here.
New Mexico 27, Arizona 23 - UPSET ALERT. But really, not a huge shock, but the Mildcats are going to take a few more games to get the spread going. Let's hope it lasts another couple of weeks! Besides, these guys always start slow. The heat on Stoops' seat will be turned up a few more degrees after this one.
ASU 45, SD State 13 - Carbon copy of last week's blowout loss for SD State? I can't imagine Rudy being any worse than Brink against that defense. ASU might have 35 by the half and then cruise to easy win.
CAL 53, LA Tech 20 - Bears speed is unbelievable. Avoided a major letdown last week, coming off the Tennessee win at Colorado. But they'll be ready this week.
Oregon 30, Fresno ST 27 - A near-upset alert this week. Oregon will have sore shoulders from patting their own backs all week, reading how great they are. Never mind that Michigan really, really, REALLY stinks right now. FSU isn't very good, but they'll be in revenge-mode from last year's fake fieldgoal loss at home when they had the Ducks on the ropes.
UCLA 21, Utah 9 - Bruins O is steaky right now, but oh that defense.
Stanford 24, San Jose St 23 - Improved Cardinal squeak one out in a bit of a surprise.
UW 19, Ohio St 17 - Locker and Rankin get it done on the ground. But UW isn't perfect, in fact they are far from it. They have some issues in the passing game. If it wasn't for Marcel Reece breaking tackles for a long TD last week, Locker would have had less than 150 yards passing vs. BSU. UW was shut out in the 2nd half last week, and if they hadn't won the turnover battle 4-1, they could have easily lost that game. But how can anyone be impressed with Ohio State right now??? Blah blah wins over Youngstown State and Akron at home?? Sure they weren't inspired by the opponent, but this is the 12th ranked team in the nation?? The 63rd ranked offense against those two teams at home? They better have a top-ranked defense facing two teams that lousy on offense. These are not last year's Buckeyes, and even last year's team was exposed that, outside of Ginn and Gonzalez, as being average-at-best in terms of team speed. Brinkhater has been preaching this about the Big 10, that they are in one of those "slow" cycles right now. The bowl season last year exposed that with Ohio State and Michigan getting undressed in the BCS.
Enjoy the game, and GO COUGS!