So here we are, Coug fans. We're standing at the edge of potentially one of the strongest finishing kicks to a season that we've had in a long time, and maybe the strongest finish in the Doba era. As well-documented this week, if we can win out and finish at 6-6, the odds are extremely good that we'll see postseason play. The Spokesman broke it down earlier in the week, so take a look if you are so inclined.
Ask yourself this - after the 53-7 loss to Oregon, who the hell would have possibly thought we'd be in this position right now? I know I didn't, and I was with Brinkhater, that perhaps it would have been the proper move at the time for Doba to step down during the bye week! That's how dire things looked. But to Doba's credit, these guys are playing their butts off right now. The UCLA victory in dominating fashion was sweet, and even in losing last week, they gave it everything they had against a superior Cal opponent. Who knows, just one or two more plays and we come out of Berkeley with a win. The point? We're not really as far away as we thought, and clearly these guys are getting better (OK, not the QB, and yes, I'm done with the whole Brink debate. He is who he is and nothing will change until he's gone, so just leave it at that).
Anyway, we'll keep it short-and-sweet this week. I watched UW and Stanford last week, and let me tell you, the eyes don't lie - Stanford is BAD. Really bad. They have a program-wide talent gulf that isn't even at our level. To put that UW game in perspective, you have to remember that the Huskies are on pace for one of their worst defensive seasons in the last 30 years. They are that bad. And Stanford could muster only 9 friggin' points against them, at HOME no less?? Unbelievable. They are also beat up, too, losing some key guys along the way, including their top DT in Udofia, and now their leading WR is out for tomorrow on a suspension. They still have WR's Evan Moore and Mark Bradford, both fairly talented guys who could still scare us a little. And then you think about the USC upset, and the fact that they did go to Arizona and beat them as well, both on the road and in places that we just got throttled....But Ostrander and Pritchard, his WSU ties be damned, are NOT good players. We are a much better team right now, and they are much worse since those upsets, and that's the bottom line.
I told Brinkhater earlier this week that I would be a lot more worried about this game had we actually won last week, but given the circumstances, I'm not. We're at home, we're a team that's played hard, inspired football, and Stanford has run out of gas. Momentum can mean everything in college football, well, momentum and health anyway, and right now we're somewhat healthy. At least we're a lot healthier than we were a year ago! I think we'll be nice and balanced offensively with the return of Ivory to the backfield, and remember that magic number of 100+ net rushing yards, where we're 7-3 since the beginning of 2006. We'll make it 8-3 this Saturday. I'm going WSU 26, Stanford 10.
Other Pac-10 games:
USC 23, Cal 20 - The Berkeley Bears are a wounded unit right now. Their o-line is great, but Longshore can't move right now and that's USC. USC isn't all that great on offense right now either, but with their punishing defense, I think they'll take care of business.
ASU 31, UCLA 17 - Dennis and company get it going in the right direction again. UCLA's fade can't be stopped now.
OSU 33, UW 20 - UW is back-slapping quite a bit this week based on a win over a bad Stanford team. OSU losing Canfield might be the best thing to happen, because half their team has thought Moevao should be the guy to start all along. But Yvenson Bernard will be the difference, and of course, the Beaver D is as good as it gets in the Pac-10. Corvallis is one of the most underrated home field advantages in the conference, and their defense can run and hit better than anyone out west. You have to wonder how many more big hits Locker can withstand, and believe it, the Beavers will attack him from all angles.
As always, enjoy the game, and GO COUGS!