Happy Football Friday, post Thanksgiving Style. Don’t know about you all, but Brinkhater feels an awful lot like the coach of Kansas after yesterday’s spread.
Time to fire up the fat pants:
As for our Cougars, well, if this was the traditional Apple Cup week (you know, the one that happens the week BEFORE Thanksgiving), you could automatically mail this one in as a big fat, stinkin’ loss. Instead, this team has spent the week together with no student distractions or without the normal ability to “get away” from this failure of a program. Instead, they’ve all been fed a long week of serious introspection (plus, they've shared Thanksgiving and all that other stuff).
Plus, you have to think that with all of the rumors about Doba’s departure as well as the senior class’ overwhelming failure to get to a bowl game, that this group is really circling the wagons.
To add to all that, you have a Westside press that is doing their utmost to convince the world that the Puppies are something other than 4-7. Honestly, you would think that this group was 8-3 or better based on the press coverage.
So, the tables are turned and you have a Husky team with all of the expectations and a Cougar team that is all-but forgotten. Usually, when the talent gap is not that wide (as in the case this year), the underdog pounces on the opportunity.
Moreover, as Brinkhater has noted here and elsewhere on the W-W-W, the Huskies are the one Pac-10 team other than UCLA that little Alex has a lot of confidence against. You have to think that with both receivers ready to go + Collins that he is poised to have a big day.
But what this game comes down to is three simple, simple points. And they are thus:
1) Can the offensive line help establish a BIT of a running game, AND can they protect Alex Brink for his swan song performance? For the past few years, our O-Line has been VERY poor against the Dawgs. At the same time, the Dawgs’ D line has played WAY above their heads in this game. This trench battle will be particularly huge.
2) Can Jake establish a deep passing game? Our game plan this week will be to pressure Jake while trying to keep the game in front..If Jake can strike over the top early, this game could get ugly. But, when he can’t, the Dawgs become predictable. Watch the deep pass early in this game.
3) Can the Cougs make a couple of Big Plays? As we’ve noted all season long, this team moves the football, but somehow struggles to score points. A couple of big plays early may help this group finish drives in a way that has eluded this group all season.
The prediction: All week long I’ve been going with the same Brinkhater, soothsayer instincts that have guided me to an amazing 11-0 season. Despite how much I hate the puppies, I keep seeing a quick 14-0 Husky lead turn into a classic 34-17 drubbing. I really can't imagine a different outcome on so many different levels.
But, in the end, I can’t hide my Crimson colors. My gut says that the defense will find a way to keep it close and Alex and company will come up with a deciding play late.
Cougs win 25-23 in a who-cares Apple Cup classic (but fellas, do yourselves a favor, PLEASE jump up and down on that purple W once again, it may be a lllllllloooonggg time before we win against the Dawgs again!).
Oregon 31 UCLA 17. UCLA has no firepower, Oregon’s D will be mad, and the world will see that Brady Leaf plays okay when he’s in a different set. Sets up a nice loss to the Beavs next week.
Notre Dame 31 Stanford 17. Charlie Weiss shows that the Pac-10 is the worst major conference next to the Big 10.
Kansas 31 Mizzou 30...Kansas secures a spot in the National Championship game no matter what.
Enjoy the games.