Friday, November 23, 2007

Football Friday, Week Apple Cup

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!).

Elsewhere:

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.

25 comments:

Sedihawk said...

Good stuff Brinkhater, as always.

I think this week has gone pretty well in a circle-the-wagons type deal. They have been forced to come together rather than splinter apart, and maybe that will be the difference. And hey, we're not in bowl-competition, just like 2004 and 2005, so maybe they'll be loose and come after UW like they are double-digit underdogs.

Also, one thing to consider - NEVER weigh what the team did the previous week before a rivalry game! Last year, UW laid the biggest egg in the Willingham era, losing 20-3 to winless Stanford, yet came to Pullman and won. I still remember Doba saying on his coaches show, when someone pointed out how low UW would be coming into the game, that "once the game starts, I'll guarantee you UW won't be feeling sorry for themselves or thinking about how they lost to Stanford!" In 2005, UW killed Arizona on the road, 38-14, and then came home only to lose the AC in Seattle. And in 2003, UW was absolutely, positively embarrassed 54-7 to Cal in one of the biggest track-meet losses they've had in this decade, yet they came home the following week in the AC and beat the #9-ranked Cougs!

On the other side, in 2004, WSU came into the AC off a 45-28 whipping at ASU, yet rallied for an AC win at home. In 2005, we had lost 7 straight games, many of the heart-break variety, before coming into Seattle and winning.

Bottom line? Last week doesn't matter, and I think that's where the Seattle media has missed this week. There's too much being made of WSU losing like they did, and UW winning like they did, last week. Kids are resilient and in this attention-deficit disorder culture of today's youth, they can barely tell you what they had for breakfast, let alone what happened a week ago! Better said, it doesn't matter and all that does matter is what's right there, smack dab in front of them. So I'll guarantee that the Cougs won't be thinking about the Oregon State debacle once things get rolling tonight.

I agree with much of what you say about today's game, but for one big thing - Jed Collins. He might be the unsung MVP of the team, at least in the second part of the season. He's Brink's security blanket with the 50+ catches but his biggest thing that he does is the blocking in the running game. They run the ball so much better when he's on the field, either straight at TE or in motion as the psuedo-fullback/H-back. I can't get the UCLA game out of my head and watching him block for Tardy's 200+ on the ground. That is a huge, huge loss as Doba says he's "a 4-play guy this week". And while I think Woodard is OK, he's not close to Jedzilla.

And that's where we're going to come up short. The trend of Brink not winning without a 100-yard rusher will continue and, for some reason, UW's defensive front-7 will play better this game than they have all year long. I don't know what it is, maybe our O-line talks trash all game to fire them up, I don't know, but UW gets after us with a vigor that you just don't see out of them the entire year. I'm going UW 32, WSU 27.

Other games: Oregon 28, UCLA 23. I agree here, Oregon is pissed off and UCLA quit weeks ago. Leaf and the running game will be plenty.

Stanford 26, ND 13 - ND is TERRIBLE.

Kansas 41, Mizzou 37 - Who say this one coming as a possible BCS title participant???

Anonymous said...

At least the Doba speculation will be over here shortly. The word is Monday press conference to announce what's up. If you are keeping your coach do you wait until Monday to say so? No way. He is out of there. I would be happy to see him pull a Dennis F at A & M and just to the pre-emptive resignation instead of waiting to get terminated but he has said he won't quit so it will have to be Mondya.

Anonymous said...

how tough is it to be a duck right now? holy schnikes.

game-wise, come-on brinkie, just once, clutch it up and put us all in our place.

coug97

ps, i hate this game. t-minus 9 minutes till kick.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna throw up, special teams again choking.

Anonymous said...

It's just a microcosm of the recent DOba era. Special team f-uck-ups, poor tackling, lookout blocks from the o-line, and a QB who will throw for 300 yards, yet we will only score 17 pts. A change at this point isn't even a luxury, it's a necessity. I hope sterk grows a pair by Monday.

Sedihawk said...

My question is their defense. Why is it UW continually plays their best against us on D, year after year? They are the worst in the conference and get absolutely drilled by the likes of UCLA and Arizona, yet against us it's lfike it's 1991 all over again. They are more physical than we are and they are winning the battle in the trenches, on both sides. They really, really want to beat us. For UW fans that act like their you-know-what don't stink and claim this isn't a rivalry, well, UW players sure as hell treat it as one. They come after us in this game like their hair is on fire and we spend 60 minutes on the run! We're supposed to be the fiesty, underdog "little brother" that brings the intensity and desire and emotion to beat the big bad superior program. They are supposed to be scared of us, aren't they??

Sedihawk said...

Quite a first half. We looked dead when Locker rushed it in from 23 out for the 17-7 lead, but hey, Brink's going out swinging at least. After the way this thing started, it's pretty admirable we've gotten up off the mat. NICE JOB.

Brink over 200 yards passing in the first half, it's hard to think he won't top 400. But can we get TD's? Still hoping to break 27 pts against a BCS opponent, maybe it's tonight!

How about Frischknecht?? 83 first-half yards and two TD's?? Nice.

One more thing - Locker is going to be frightening when he learns to complete even 55% of his passes, but right now in his career, the more passes he has to throw, the better. After that hot start he's really cooled.

Anonymous said...

OMG, we actually are winning at intermission - can we put together 4 quarters on the road???.......poor DeMarco...his huskies are losing....oh well, love the throw back helmets and our TE of the future.....lets give some props to Ivory on the ground as well.....damn, how does a Coug team just give up a td on the opening kickoff?? - oops, forgot it is a Doba coached team that always seems to spot the opponent 14pts just because he is such a nice guy.....dude, this is football, not a xmas gift exchange....anyway, he is the grandpa we all wish we had......ok Cougs, just 2 more quarters......don't let up....ya know the Huskies wanna put up 50 on us......Brink, just one game left - this is it.....do it, DO IT!!! ;) Huskies gonna get kicked vs Hawaii next week - how can't Hawaii not be in top 10??

Billyblaze
WSU alum 94
Reno, NV

Sedihawk said...

Welcome back Billyblaze, haven't seen you for a while. No matter what happens from here on out, I'm proud of these guys for getting off the mat. They could have easily laid down, but they have fought back. Can't be too negative about that!

Too bad Frischknecht is already a junior, but Collins played so well this year so we didn't see much of him. He'll get plenty of chances next year!

Sedihawk said...

WOW. Another TD. Brink, you are grabbing the bull by the balls. Thank you for going out like a man. WIN OR LOSE, no matter what, there is no doubt you are leaving it all out on the field tonight!

Anonymous said...

RELAX. 28 points, a new BCS high for WSU this year. Yay. Next thing you know you will proclaim Doba as COY and he will keep his job. LONG way to go to find a way to blow it.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please just deck the halls with Locker?? Mattingly, Trent, Abdullah, etc?? Anyone, anyone?? And damn, just like the Patriots, going for every 4th down - who is the UW punter anyway??.....oops, I can't trash on NE - been a fan of theirs since 93 when Bledsoe was their boy (yep went to school with Drew)......19-0 baby with 2nd string QB from Michigan.....hey, anyone thinking of Callhan (sp?) as next head coach?......well not sure if I like it or not but he is out there now....better than Doba? Would Doba demote back to defensive coordinator? Probably not......what will happen?.....I can only hope for a Price/Gesser/or Bledsoe connection......next best is perhaps Callahan? Man, someone hit Locker.....anyone, anyone?? Buehler? Buehler? and who the heck ever gave B.Stein a podium in my email?? ;)
Go Cougs and happy t-day everyone.

Billyblaze

Sedihawk said...

Damn those 3rd/4th down conversions. Worst in the nation for much of the year, and far too many in the 2nd half. Those guys are going to be worn out in another couple of possessions.

Anonymous said...

SOB, Locker up the middle for Husky lead....what the heck are we thinking?....it was run run run....bring up 9 to the box....damn, maybe Doba is not so great at defense?? ;) ok, regroup only 35-28 now and Brink still is about to show his BEST STUFF all saved for this very game right?? It is gonna be GREAT!! I see Brink to Bumpus for a senior moment here to tie the game........hey, just uncorked/tried this new Michelob Ultra Tuscan Orange Grapefruite beer and it rocks!! ;) ok Brink, this is Bumpus's last game......find him dammit!!!

Billyblaze

Anonymous said...

How many seconds does Brink need in the pocket?? Hmmmm.....wait for it, wait for it.......still not enough time.....damn Brink, get rid of the ball after 4-5 secs or frickin bootleg it ...... seasoned experienced senior, what the heck happened?? This philosophy does not work in the pros......you have 3-4secs MAX dude unless you are the golden child TOM BRADY (I hope he is continuing the isotoner tradition, not to mention picking up ALL TABS at restaurants).......ok, D hold them.....we need a break.......damn, we barely miss another sack.......go Cougs, we still have 9mins left.....I'd like to see us for a change score 40+ and put Brink at the head of the victory parade on the shoulders of the OLine......ok, predicting the game 42-38 WSU wins........

Sedihawk said...

Ivory with a misleading 102 yards rushing. Half his total is on two carries! The running game seems major hit-or-miss right now, but down 7 with 8 minutes left they need to keep mixing it up. Can't panic now!

Sedihawk said...

Brandon Gibson WOW! What a game.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to sign it on the 42-38 prediction

Billyblaze

Anyone ever in Reno, NV, look me up.

Sedihawk said...

Brink so far - 22/33, 315, 4td's! But can he top off the pretty numbers???

Anonymous said...

we cannot stop them right now! The d looks gassed.

Anonymous said...

Keep the O on the field with Ivory and give the D a breather.....Brink get rid of the ball after 4 secs...damn!!!........I see OT...

Billyblaze

Sedihawk said...

Have to love the rugby punts. Forrest now 9 punts (FAR too many) but averaging over 43 yards per. Can't ask for much better than that. I bet other programs will copy-cat it next year with scholie numbers as they are, shoulnd't be too hard to find a rugby guy to kick-and-roll it.

Here comes the signature Locker drive of his young career?

Anonymous said...

Brink did it, he frickin finally did it!! ;)

Billyblaze

Sedihawk said...

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!

Atta boy Gibson, and Brink....398 yards, 5 TD's!?!? WOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!

Not over yet though, hang on...

Anonymous said...

Ok, not quite 42-38......I didn't factor in the UW fumble - shoulda at least been a UW FG......anyway, no one ever confused me with Nostradamus....I'll take 42-35.....happy happy snoopy dance....everyone :) ok, so does Doba go?? I think he still needs a demotion - he is a good dc but not a head coach........will he accept that?? He is a nice guy and I really hope he does......of course how can I dislike a guy named Bill?? ;) anyway, we need a change no bowl games since God knows when??.......we can't STAY THE COURSE right?? Anyway, party hard wayne/garth....celebrate tonight and go COUGS in b-ball.....can't wait until we open up the pac-10 schedule.....

Billyblaze
Reno, NV