Friday, November 02, 2007

Football Friday, Week Whatever

Greetings Crimson Nation. And welcome to the FIRST football Friday of November. Speaking of which, does it seem that long ago that when the "N" word rolled around we all thought of this:

And then thought of this:


I mean, weren't we like 2-20 in November over a period of five or so years???? Brutal.

It still is really shocking to think how good we eventually got given how BAD we were in November for all those pre 1997 years......

Anyhow, we now are facing what amounts to one of two final pivot games of the year (The Beavs game is #2 assuming we can beat Stanford). Win this weekend, and I think one would have to surmise that 6-6 is squarely in the cards. Lose this week, and it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine how we could run the table and save .500

As I told Sedihawk this week, its pretty hard to get a feel about this game. On one hand, we have a CAL team that is just REELING. I mean, if we were to jump on them early, it seems highly probable that they could flat-out lay down. Moreover, given Longshore's health and inability to move outside of the pocket, I think we're actually poised to have a pretty good game defensively. That said, given the lightening speed at WR and RB on the Bear side of the ball, Brinkhater is conceding that the Final Tally for the Golden Bears will be between 21 and 24 points assuming that we can move the ball without tragic (see Oregon game this year) turnovers. In the end, whenever we face fast teams like this, we always give up a few big plays.

So, for us, the key question is whether or not we can score. Personally, I am pretty darn confident that 28 points is going to win this thing. But, I am nearly 100% confident that 31 points will do the trick (again, IF we play well and take care of the ball offensively).

Are we up to it?

Certainly, the loss of Tardy is really going to hurt us. But, I am with Sedihawk that McCall can and will be an adequate replacement. But, our BIGGEST need in this game is to bust out one DEEP play to soften the middle of the field and to FINISH when we get in the red zone. Oh yeah, Alex MUST NOT turn the ball over either inside the 20's.

Can it be done?

Looking back at last year, we had that two game stretch where everything came together before injuries wrecked what would have been a Sun Bowl year for the Crimson Army. Was last week last year's win over Oregon? Is this week last year's smacking of UCLA?

We'll see.

Ultimately, this game REALLY does come down to Alex Brink--which as we've said at the beginning of the year--most games would. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a winnable game for the Cougs if Alex plays like a senior and if the O-Line is able to provide suitable protection. We really don't have to be lights out to win this thing: just efficient and opportunistic.

Of course, I don't see Alex coming through. We're gonna continue to struggle to score in spite of piling up the total yards..

CAL 27 WSU 17

Other games:

Oregon State 24 USC 23 Serna gets carried off the field after drilling a 54 yarder as time expires. Why the Heck don't we have a stinkin kicker???

Oregon 41 ASU 21 Too good are the quack...Its gonna be fun watching them get left out of the National Championship..

Stanford 28 UW 27....Dub don't play D and Stanford executes too well...

Arizona 31 UCLA 14....Arizona wakes up after its too darn late......



Sedihawk said...

Good stuff Hater.

All I know about this year? Anything (and I mean ANYTHING) can happen. Look at the top 10 in the BCS right now. 9 of those 10 weren't even top 10 when the season started, and half of them weren't even ranked. This is the year of the upset/unthinkable/etc. So why the hell can't it happen?

Brinkhater is right though, this team struggles to cash in. Yards are pretty for the weekly stat sheet but the bottom line is we can't seem to execute by putting the ball in the end zone. In days gone by, we could get away with it with a Drew Dunning nailing field goals from everywhere, but that was a long time ago. However, 27 points last week is encouraging, no matter what anyone says.

As long as we're balanced, and our recent history backs this up as we're now 7-3 when rushing for over 100 net yards the last two years, we'll keep this thing interesting. But, I'm more worried about our defense today. Doba hinted that Cal's o-line is so good, that you might be better off not blitzing. Well, when you look at games where we've just kind of sat back on D, we've been shredded (AZ, USC, Oregon, WISC). Games that we've attacked (UCLA and ASU), we've been good. I hope he's playing possum, but I sure as hell don't want to see us to go back to being passive on D, or they'll chew us up. If we're going to go down, don't go down scared! Go down in flames at least and err on the side of aggression vs. passive.

Bottom line is they have too many weapons. It's on the road, and we think our game is must-win? What about Cal? They absolutely CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE THIS GAME, or else they might be teetering on bowl-eligibilty before you know it. They've got USC next week and so they know they must get this one.

I'll go Cal 31, WSU 20.

USC 20, OSU 13 - the two best defenses in the conference, if not the nation, but SC gets them at home. OSU without Bernard is really in a world of hurt offensively.

Oregon 32, ASU 23 - Quacks keep it rolling and ASU is spent after last week's huge emotional win. By the way, did anyone see the Autzen Stadium exterior on ESPN?? WOW. I haven't been there in ages, but my God, what a friggin' palace. We have a LONG way to go to compete with stuff like that!

UW 38, Stanford 17 - UW offense is clicking in ways that it hasn't in, well, forever. They are going to blow out the trees.

AZ 27, UCLA 16 - UCLA's annual fade job coincides with AZ's annual 2nd-half sprint to the finish.

One more thing - SAVE OUR SONICS! What an amazing soap opera. There's tons of stuff that has been written, but clearly Clay Bennett has become not only the most hated owner in Seattle history (and that's saying a lot) but ESPN's Jim Caple calls him the worst owner in sports history. And, NO, this thing is SO NOT OVER. It's only begun and it's going to get super-ugly before the final chapter is written.

Check out Caple's piece:

Also check out True Hoop, ESPN's top-notch NBA blog:

We know the national media is on our side, hell, anyone outside OKC should be rooting for this team to stay here!

To stay up on the latest, and this thing changes almost every day, but bookmark and you'll be in the loop:

longball said...

Today is going to be ALL about momentum, especially on the road. We have a terrible time getting this team in sync, either the offense is hot, or the D, but never the two at once. This game it will be critical that big defensive stops are answered by scores and vice, versa.

Hater, you are right about being aggressive on D. With what we have witnessed this year i'll be shocked if Doba really retreats from the attacking style thats worked so well. Then again, i wouldn't put it past him to seem completely out of touch with the strengths of his own team. Lets just hope that win, or lose, we get after it on D and in the running game so we can say we gave it our best shot.

So far this season we are the world's worst road warriors ever, getting blown out in every game. This team keeps taking steps forward and the next one is to compete on the road. MOMENTUM- we gotta get it, and we gotta keep it.