Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monday Morning Riddle

Happy Monday, Cougar Nation, and welcome to the rest of the Cougar football season known as
POST-MORGUE-DOM...

Have no fear, despite our malaise, we will continue to be your insightful and trustworthy tour-guides of the NEW and IMPROVED poop island.

That said, without further ado, here is today's riddle (okay, its just a stinkin' question):

What is the average amount of points scored by the Cougar offense in Pac-10 games since the start of 2006?????????????????????????????????????????????????.....


The ANSWER: (drum ROLL please):


21.36 points

Yep, you got it, 21.36 points. Don't know about you all, but that adds up to 3 touchdowns (and no, don't give Brinkhater other possible scenarios, cuz Romeen could NEVER and I mean EVER kick 7 field goals in a season, let alone a game!).

So for any of you who think that there's even a chance at respectability have got something else comin'.

Simply put, I think it would be a near miracle for this D to hold any Pac-10 Defense under 35 points. Therefore, in order for us to tie, our offense would have to score 66% higher than its average JUST TO TIE!!! And judging by Romeen's bludgeoning of the left upright on Saturday night, its not even certain that 5 touches would mean a tie!!!!!

In other words, say hello to 2-10, Butch Nation!!!!!.....(though, don't get me wrong, Brinkhater is still holding out hope that we can achieve the 4-8 milestone that was predicted on the eve of this season)...

But, seeing that statistic is something to make the Brinklovers out there really pause...Cuz from Brinkhater's point of view, there's a lot of motion in the ocean, but not a lot of clickin' in the kitchen, if you feel me....

Also, Is it too late to put Ivory Clark at Defensive End???

Have a great start to the week. Read more ...plus comments

Stadium Rennovation Project Now to Include Football Team

Well, I said that by the end of the game last night, we'd all have a very different opinion of this team and I was wrong.

It actually only took until the end of the 3rd quarter for me to conclude that what I thought was a glimmering hope for better things to come was actually heat waves steaming up off of the giant pile of shit that is our defense.

I hate to be so critical of our young players because I know they're doing their best. The problem is, many of them have no business being on a Pac-10 football field. This descent into mediocrity and - now beyond - lies squarely on the shoulder of ol' Dobes and staff.
I don't believe he's forgotten how to coach football but let's face it, as much as Price could be a goof, he had the charisma that Doba lacks. The kind of charisma that gets young athletes to "drink the Kool-Aid." Not having seen much of the last two recruiting classes, we can't say for sure if the cupboard is bare but it sure doesn't look promising.

The modern era of high expectations for Cougar football began in 1988. At that time there was still a lingering sentiment of "we may lose, but we'll get drunk and have fun"; but we slowly began to expect competitive football and then, bowl games. We hit a speed bump after Leaf departed but came back with a vengeance during the Gesser years. Sadly, the departure of the King of Poop Island has ended up to be not just the disappointment that it was then - but the beginning of the end.

Despite all the success that the program has enjoyed over the last 15 years, it has not been enough to elicit big-time donations from our alumni. What happens now? Jim Sterk is going to have a lot of damage control on his hands over the next few months and is going to need to find a new coach that will begin what looks to be a major re-building effort.

No time like the present to start throwing names around. Who should be the next Cougar Head Coach? Chris Petersen? Steve Sarkisian? Robb Akey? Longball? ... Read more ...plus comments

Saturday, September 29, 2007

You Can't Polish A Terd, Beavis

WOW! How good was that, Cougar Nation?!

I mean, if you can't be a bowl team, why not head dead straight for the Bottom Ten?!

Just to recap, we just gave up 48 points and ONLY scored 20!

Yes, despite the fact that Gipson and Collins are really good and Brink had some moments of brilliance, we aren't even that good on offense!!!!!!

The good news is that tonight we batted .500 on fake punts...that's at least .333 for the year..those are All-Star game type numbers in Brinkhater's book.

So, give us your takes....

Here's mine:

The era of Bill Doba just ended.. Read more ...plus comments

A Compelling Gameday

Top of the morn to you, Cougar Nation. And welcome to the most compelling game day that we've had since the Cougs headed to Corvallis in 2005.

On that day, we were 3-0, fat and sassy, and looking at returning to the rankings for the first time in a year. Of course, things looked great early as we raced to a 30-7 halftime lead: the Ghost was unstoppable and Brink was well on his way to a single game, school record of 540+ passing yards.

But, as we all know, the second half was a different story. From the emergence of Brink's inability to throw over the middle to someone on his own team, to Bumpus' fumble, to Jason Hill's injury, to the loss of Derting for the year, we went from what seemed to be a surefire 4-0 to a 4-7 season before we could even blink. With a different second half, what happens to the rest of the season? If Derting stays healthy, what happens to that team? If Hill stays healthy, do we lose to Stanford the next week? From Brinkhater's perspective, a different second half on that fateful first weekend in October would have meant that the Cougs would have entered SC 7-0 and would have flirted with a 8-3 or 9-2 year as was predicted on this very blog. And if that had occured, what would last year have looked like? What would recruiting look like today?

No one knows what the second half is going to hold tonight, but the sense of Brinkhater is that tonight's game is going to be in play at the end of the first half. Thus, the whole fate of the PROGRAM hinges on what happens in the second half of tonight's game.

As I noted early in the year, Alex Brink is going to have to be near super human for us to hover around .500 this year. And tonight is going to be no exception. Simply put, for us to win this game tonight, Alex Brink is going to have to throw for at least 400 yards with probably 4 Touches and ZERO interceptions. In addition, the running game is going to have to have at least 125 on the ground. That's right, in order for us to win, we will need to amass at least 525 yards of total offense. Brinkhater things we will also have to score 42 points.

But wait, there's more!

We'll also have to play a good game on special teams and limit our turnovers to ONE.

Think we can do it?

In Brinkhater's view, tonight is ALL ABOUT ALEX BRINK. Can he rise to meet the challenge of winning a must win game? Can he lead the team to 3 or 4 touchdowns tonight on sure will and moxy alone? Can he keep himself and his teammates cool despite constant pressure to score on every possession?

We'll find out.

Granted, nothing would make Brinkhater happier than to see the Cougs come out and smack a 41-21 pasting on the Mildcats.

But tonight I think we will see how bad the D really is, and within that, will see how our hapless Defense and Defensive Scheme actually KILLS the production of the offense. Again, for us to win, Alex has to be GREAT in spite of getting his touches once every 5 to 7 football minutes. But if we lose, I doubt that it will be his fault.

Mildcats 38 Cougars 24

Other games:

CAL 44 Oregon 41: I like CAL in this one as Dixon stays in pocket and can't deliver on the last possession of the game.

SC 45 Washington 10: Message to Ty; when its 24-0 in the first half, pull your quarterback..Brinkhater does not see Jake walking after this game.

ASU 41 Stanford 27. Much closer than people think. Kinda like the close game that Brinkhater called between Arizona and CAL last week (gulp!)

UCLA 28 Oregon State 27: UCLA proves once and for all what many of you already know--Oregon State ain't any good, and thus, Brinkhater really knows nothing about football....

Enjoy the games. Read more ...plus comments

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Riddle


How can it be very cold yet very, very hot on a football field at the same time?





This will be the only picture of a Husky football player I post on this blog all year...

scroll down...






















Ronald Martinez/GettyImages Read more ...plus comments

Football Friday Week 5: Hot-Seat Bowl Set for Saturday Night

Welcome to Football Friday, week 5 style. And get ready for the Hot-Seat Bowl. I threw out a little preview over here, so check it out if you want. While I didn't make a prediction over there, I will here in just a moment.

I call it the hot-seat bowl for the obvious. If Stoops loses this game, they are 1-4 and for all intents and purposes, he's done in Tucson. Sure, they started 3-5 only to rally late last year in impressive fashion, but a 1-4 start with so many difficult games still to come on their schedule, they are officially done. For Doba, a loss here puts us under .500, and like Arizona, with so many brutal matchups yet to come, particularly on the road, we lose this one and you can clear off your calendar after the Apple Cup, for the 4th year in a row will be a bowl-less holiday season.

Anyway, the thing that gets me about this game is that while the hype is on the passing games, it's going to be all the "other stuff" that decides it. You know, stuff like defense, special teams, and maybe even the running game. And that's where I'm nervous from my WSU fan view. The third down defense is the worst in America, and our passing D is in the triple-digits among all teams. That, my friends, is simply not good, and I dare anyone to try and spin that in a positive light. Doba says "we're getting better", which might be true in some ways. But how a coach can say that when his team failed to even force a single punt last week, well, I just don't get it. I guess he's forced to try and put on a positive face when trying to describe a weakness that is so glaringly obvious, and he's got to try and pump those kids up. It's part of his job to make them feel good about themselves, and not simply pile on the dirt on top of an already deep hole.

But no matter how I look at this one, I just can't get past the defensive ineptness. Not that Arizona is an offensive GOD like Cal or Oregon or USC right now, but they really aren't that far off throwing the ball. And their clear strength, in fact their obvious strategy, is to spread you out and nail you on the quick stuff. Therein lies the biggest reason we're in huge trouble this week. And I'm not just saying this because of what happened vs. USC. Watching our linebackers and secondary trying to stop Idaho was a chore, and I'll say it again, if a frosh QB wasn't pulling the trigger for the Vandals, that game could have gone in a very, very ugly direction. Our linebackers and secondary just can't cover very well, period, end of story, and with the pass rush not doing a whole lot when it counts, it's a lethal mix.

I hate to be negative, and this is a WSU fan blog in every sense, but folks, unless we see a drastic improvement in the passing defense, I just don't see it this week. I'm going Arizona 37, WSU 30.

Other games:

Oregon 49, Cal 45 - It's Bananas Offense as teams combine for over 1,000 yards. Dixon will erase memory from last year's meltdown at Berkeley that started the Ducks slide. Jonathan Stewart will have a huge game, as the Cal D lacks bite. Bellotti nails his former pupil in a big game, finally.
USC 39, UW 16 - It'll actually be close for the first quarter or so, but USC will pull away. We've seen this drill far too often. Be careful Jake Locker, for you may want to slide or run out of bounds instead of trying to run over Maualuga or Rivers at linebacker. Those guys want to put you in the MORGUE, not the hospital, ala Dick Butkus.
OSU 27, UCLA 24 - Canfield actually takes care of the ball, Bernard has a strong day, and the Beavs ride the homefield advantage to a big key win.
ASU 40, Stanford 21 - Dennis the Liar keeps the heat on the rest of the conference. Rudy and that offense is something else right now.

Enjoy the game. I HOPE I'M WRONG! And GO COUGS!








Read more ...plus comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Will it Get Better? Or Have We Only Just Begun?

Don't you just love Pete Carroll? High School Harry, as they call him, but that genuine enthusiasm is infectious. Look at all the talent he gets on a yearly basis, just so much talent in the pipeline it's amazing, and yet all those kids play their butts off for him. He's got "open" Wednesdays in practice, where literally all jobs are up for grabs and the players fight like hell. On Fridays he's got the lineman vs. lineman game, wherever they are, and the only rule is no running plays. I know the Reggie Bush scandal, I know about the Matt Lienart - Dwayne Jarrett free rent deal, but they are the teflon program right now.

And what a perfect situation he's in down there. He's King of the LA football scene, making all that dough and just a complete rock-star coach in every sense of the word. As I told Brinkhater on Sunday, let the NFL rumor mill churn, but he's a complete FOOL if he ever bolts that program. Why walk away from something like that? I guess we all need a challenge in life, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and there's only so many championships you can win on a lower level before the hunger eats you alive and you have to try on the highest level again. Especially since Carroll already gave it a shot at the NFL, and did an average-at-best job. But he's really a Dennis Erickson if you ask me, a guy who's going to be a hall-of-famer in the college ranks, but doesn't really need to prove himself on the next level.

Anyway, the P-I had some good notes on the ineptness of our '07 defense, so I had to use some of it this AM. Good stuff too. It's especially drastic when you compare where we are today vs. where we used to be, in very recent times as a matter of fact.

I did some housecleaning on the site too. Longball wanted some fresh links, so I've updated them to the right. The Spokesman link now takes you right to SportsLink, and the WSU roster was added as well. Also new is a link to the Pac-10.org stats site, which is an excellent point of reference that is updated by Monday morning at the latest. I removed the Oregon Ducks Wines Family link, as while it's a good site, I don't think any of us were actually reading it. I want to build on the links as well, and maybe we'll feature a Pac-10 section of blog links that hit each Pac-10 team. This thing is always a work in progress, so if there's something you want to see, let us know!

Finally, we're going to start seeing some advertisements hit the site in the next 24-48 hours. Nothing too distracting, and it shouldn't be a bunch of pop-ups or anything like that, but we'll see how it goes. We can always shut them off if they suck or whatever. Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Program On The Line

Well, now that the hangover from last night has lifted, we now sit on the cusp of the most important week this program has faced in a long, long time. Lose this game this weekend @ the Mildcats and you can kiss it all goodbye. NO WAY do we even "sniff" respectability if we lose this game. The legacies of Doba and Brink will rest BIG TIME on this game. No ifs, ands, or buts about it...

With regard to the Conquest post-mordem, here are Brinkhater's takes:

1. Southern Cal was GREAT. Relentless depth at tailback and the fastest most punishing play that I've seen in the LB corps and defensive backfield from a Pac-10 team in a long time. Man, do they hit people. And their physicality of both lines was, again, really, really impressive.

2. Our defense is just beyond awful. Credit Doba, his scheme is such that he is keeping teams under 60 points--hence no plays longer than 25 yards. But, correct me if I'm wrong, DOES ANYONE CARE IF WE LOSE BY 70? Brinkhater sure doesn't, but I'd sure like to see us work a scheme that will allow us to win a game this season!!!! Like I've said, STANFORD will score 38 on us today, but I'm not sure we can score that much given our style of play....we just are NOT a quick hit team offensively...

3. Brink did not have a good game. But face it folks, what you saw yesterday is what you will see for most guys running for their dear life for the whole day. The only type of player who would do okay against a D like that is a top 5 or 10 NFL guy...and Brink is not that kind of player..if you ask him to do more than manage a game, he will fail you...Unfortunately, we are asking him to be too much this year....and frankly, it just isn't fair...Again, if we had ANY type of defense, we wouldn't be that bad...

4. Our special teams might be as bad as our defense...the formations stink, the players stink, the coaching stinks.....

5. Brinkhater's main man, Gary Rogers, looked simply AWFUL running with the second team O. Simply put: we saw last night what next year is going to look like if GR or whomever doesn't get some serious snaps this year. It made watching Brink seem like watching a Heisman trophy candidate.

The bottom line in all of this folks, is that last year was the year where we should have had our 1 in 3 year bowl game...Unfortunately, an array of injuries marred what woulda, coulda, shoulda been a Sun or Holiday bowl trip...and now, we are staring at a bleak season this year and next year as well.

So, feel free to start up the "its time to panic" engine, Cougar faithful. Win this weekend, and hope will continue for the coming weeks. Lose, and the whole darn program will come apart at the seems....Lose this game and there's NO WAY that we beat ASU or Oregon...and start the conference slate 0-4 and heads will roll...

Lets hope we can leave Tuscon on Saturday with a W! Read more ...plus comments

Friday, September 21, 2007

Just Don't Embarass Yourselves Baby!

Low blow, I know. Hey, nobody thought we stood a chance last year and we damn-near pulled it off, so you really just never know...

I just finished up my lunch of almonds and Cougar Gold Cheese... Today marks day 15 of the South Beach Diet "Phase 1". Phase 1 is where you eliminate almost all carbs from your diet. It lasts 2 weeks, so technically I could start phasing carbs back into my diet today; but since I've lost about 6 pounds I figured I'd hold off. Phase 2 kicks off tomorrow with a big-ass cheeseburger (no bun), a salad instead of fries ... and about 18 Miller Lites.

No keys to victory or anything like that but here are three things I'd love to see happen tomorrow:

1) A Cougar Victory. (duh)
2) Stay Healthy. (Do you get the feeling that Dobes is treating Pitoitua like that 1972 Datsun with 200,000 miles on it that your mom and dad bought you in high school? "I know it's not in perfect shape anymore, son; but it was free. Just drive it until the wheels fall off and maybe by that time you can afford that muscle car you want... Now, here's $8. Get your fat ass in your piece of shit little car and drive down to Super Cuts - you look like a fag with that long hair." I digress...
3) GET BETTER. You don't learn lessons and improve by going up against inferior competition.

Queue the music! ['Glory Days' plays softly in the background...]

Back in 1987 (Good GOD! That was 20 years ago!?), a struggling young center for the Fightin' Cougars of Bothell High was asked to stay after practice to "work on technique". This is how it went: Center snaps ball into his taint; then gets blasted by not one, but two all-conference defensive tackles. And so it went for an entire week of practice. The first day or two were ugly but by the end of the week, the young center with the billowing mullett was holding his own.

With our stable of stud receivers, we can only hope that Dobes and staff are putting our young DB's through the same type of workout every week. (Although it should be noted that despite the rigorous week of practice, the Bothell Cougs lost a tooth-and-nail battle on the road that Friday night to a juggernaut Interlake team led by All-Staters and future Huskies Mike Lustyk and Kevin Kearney and Nebraska-bound wideout Jon Bostick. The final score: 50-20.)

The epilogue to this little story is that the young center - indeed, a young McBoob - eschewed a walk-on opportunity to play "at the next level" for Western Washington University - for the opportunity to sneak baggies full of booze into Martin Stadium on Cougar Football Saturdays. Now one day into his 37th year on the big blue marble, Hooty lacks the capacity to remember a four-item grocery list but can recall useless tales of high school football with uncanny accuracy.

Cougs 20 - USC 50

Read more ...plus comments

Football Friday Week 4: LOTS TO (im) PROVE

Hello Cougar Nation and welcome to Football Friday, Week 4 style. It hard to believe that when the clock strikes midnight this Saturday night, we will be 1/3 done with the season. Amazing.

As the starting point of today's post, we have the question from LongBall (I think) who wondered when was the last time we had a signature win?

For Brinkhater, the answer would be the Holiday Bowl Win over Texas. Feel free to give us your thoughts on that specific question if you are so inclined. One thing is for sure: it sure feels like A LONG TIME ago....

With that in mind, in the event that the unthinkable happens and we actually win this game, let me say in advance that no one would deserve a win like that as much as Dobes. Furthermore, not only would it be great for him (little Alex), but i think it would do wonders for the program to have the future record holder in all passing categories have such a monumental W to accompany his legacy. I'm rooting for #10 to lead us to the unthinkable......

Of course, the main question of this game pertains to the Defense, which, in my estimation is the worst that we've had in my near 20 years as a Coug (If you can think of a worse group, please let me know). Are we content to play bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, touchdown, or will we actually try to force the issue and try to stop someone?

Personally, I don't think that Doba can enter this game with the mindset "let's let 'em have both the pass AND the run." Against SC, you MUST try to take something away--especially since its a game that everyone thinks you are going to lose. And we all know that Doba is smart enough to know that you can't expect to have the corners play 15 off, the safeties 20 yards off, and be able to stop the run or pass against SC...

So, I think that Dobes will stack the box in this one with the hope that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, we'll either muster a pass rush OR Booty will have a bad day.

It never hurts to dream, right?

In the end, I think that this game comes down to the number of possessions. IF the number is higher than 15 per side or lower than 9 per side, then I think that favors us at least to make it interesting...

In the end, I think that the game will have 25 total possessions. We will have 12, they will run out the clock with 13.

Against a good defense (or even a great one), I think that scoring on 50% of your drives would be playing nearly out of your gourd. And, while I think that our O is tough, I just don't envision us being able to have that kind of production. Instead, I think we'll score on 1 out of every 4 times that we get the rock (which is still good). For me, that's 21 points. Unfortunately, Brinkhater also feels a TO that will result in some points for the nation of Conquest.

As for SC on O, nothing that I have seen makes me think we will stop them more than 3-4 times (max) in this game. I think they'll sit on possession #13 (we'll count that as a stop), punt twice, and turn the ball over once. That means that on 9 possessions they'll score. Which leads me to the final score:

USC 59 Washington State 21

Remember, the name of the game for us is to stay healthy and improve. Next week is our MUST WIN game. Hopefully, Doba will let those corners fail so they will be ready to rumble against the Mildcats' spread attack next week. Its all about improvement, folks, lets hope the Cougs show some throughout this contest!

Other Pac-10 Games

UW 27 UCLA 24. Hate to make this call, but Ty is a better coach than Dorrell and UCLA will look slow compared to OSU. Jake will be up this week, then VERY down the next.

CAL 41 Arizona 34. Don't forget that CAL has no D and Arizona is improving in that new spread offense. In spite of the revenge factor, this one will be close.

ASU 35 Oregon State 28. Tough early loss for Beavs, a nice feather in Denny's cap.

Oregon 55 Stanford 10. One word: OUCH!!!!

(not) Big-10 game of the Week:

Meecheegan 21 Penn State 20: Name this one the "slow" bowl.

Enjoy the games this weekend.....

(Man, do I want an upset in the worst way...) Read more ...plus comments

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is It Football Season Yet?

Seriously? It's already Week 4?! How can this be? I've only seen the Cougs play (in person) one time so far; and won't see them again until they return for their Week 6 matchup with the Gun Devils (Dennis already has 1 recruiting class in the fold, it won't be long before the crime rate jumps up by 25% in Tempe). With all due respect to Jim Sterk, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. With our 'd' (lower-case) it's more like 'outta sight; outta mind."

Thanks for the intro, Brinkhater. I'm looking forward to contributing to the blog. I probably won't spend a lot of time (over)analyzing our matchups but I will undoubtedly bitch and moan about any number of subjects pertaining to Cougar Football. I also promise to post at least once, completely snot-hanging drunk - that might be fun, don'cha think?

I'd write a quick re-cap of my observations at the Idaho game but I couldn't see the field from my new seats in the family section. What the hell was I thinking?! I gave up two seats (conveniently not enough seats to take the wife AND the kids to the game) five rows from the field on the 50 yard line - for four seats in the family section. So now, aside from the fact that I'm barely even IN the fucking stadium, I'll spend all my time toting my little angels off to the bathroom and answering my wife's inane questions. ("Why do the stripes on the football only go half-way around? Why do the Cougars wear red helmets sometimes and other times wear silver??) Shoot me now... Oh yeah, I can't drink or swear either. Can you say "buyer's remorse?"

You know how little kids think it's fun to wrap their arms around your leg and have you walk around while they're attached to you? I bet we could sneak Kensok onto the field by riding Ropati's leg into the huddle. Or maybe he could be neatly tucked under Ahmu's gut. Either way, 12 (OK, 11.5) players on 'd' might be the only chance we have to beat USC. It's gonna be ugly, Cougs. Drink up. Read more ...plus comments

BREAKING NEWS: Hooty Joins Blog Staff!

Hooty McBoob, notable Brinkhater hater and Kramit killer has officially joined the staff at the WSU Football Blog.

Hooty brings with him over two decades of serious Cougar Sports knowledge, fandom, and idiocy and nearly 3 decades of vehement Husky Hating.

He is also the principle architect and patent owner for all drunk Santa garb throughout the Cougar-Seahawk nation as well as the rest of the country.

We are thrilled to add McBoob to our arsenal of petty, irreverent, and often irrelevant Blog-fathers. Welcome aboard, Hooty!

Onward Crimson Soldiers! Read more ...plus comments

Monday, September 17, 2007

Onto the Conference

Happy Monday, Cougar Nation.

Hope you are all still basking in the glow of the 45-28 who-cares-fest that was Saturday night...Don't know about you all, but watching that game was like putting various body parts in a vice and just tightening, tightening, and tightening......

So, as we head into the conference slate and this weekend's game against CONQUEST, here are a few takes (and please add yours) regarding the upcoming game and conference tilt.

ON OFFENSE: This game is only worth watching because I think it will give us our first real look at how good this offense really is. As Brinkhater has noted, I believe that Wisconsin is a fraud. We also know that SDSU is terrible, and while Idaho's effort was superb, they just aren't very good either...USC clearly is...so it will be a great test for us..

Though stated many o time this year, Brinkhater STILL can't emphasize enough that in order to sniff mediocrity this year, the offense is going to HAVE TO put up a lot of points. My sense is that if we can put up some points against SC on the road, then we can feel pretty good about our chances against the Mildcats in a MUST WIN game the following week.

That noted, in addition to being #1, USC poses an interesting test for us based on Petey's continued use of the two-deep shell. As you all may know, the two-deep shell enables us to run the football with some success if the line is playing well. That said, it also really eliminates our ability to stretch the field vertically. Typically, when we play SC, you'll see the LBs and safeties work in tadem to jam the middle while the corners lay off to jump the short stuff. In other words, this game is REALLY going to be a test for Alex Brink...Brinkhater thinks that if Alex can hit his receivers a little earlier than in games and seasons past--and if we can generate some meaningful yards-after-catch, then that will bode VERY well for the rest of the season. In other words, score points this weekend, and I think we can be confident we'll score all year long...

On DEFENSE, well, I don't even know where to start. Although I am stealing a bit of Sedihawk's take on AOL, the one note from the Spuds game was how incredibly and ridiculously far back our safeties are playing. When you add an absolutely INCOMPETENT group of linebackers and a weak pass rush too boot, you have the recipe for a defense that very well could rank in the bottom 15 nationally. They really could be that bad.

That said, Brinkhater understands why Dobes would want to protect his young corners early, keep the game in front, and play "not to lose." The problem is that everyone is playing so far back that, absent a pass rush, its just pitch and catch with poor run support as well. Thus, we aren't stopping anybody, our d is spending lots of time on the field, and as a result, our offense is not getting enough time on the field.

Thus, this weekend must be the game that is all about PROTECTING THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD. Doba MUST let his corners loose--even if that means that we get beaten deep 5 times a game. The bottom line: we need to get our offense on the field as much as possible and we need to be able to get some stops down the road...so, we need to go for broke, allow our kids to get beat down the sidelines a few times and let them learn to use their athleticism to recover.

Simply put: It is hard to imagine us giving up less than 35 points against most Pac-10 offenses no matter what we do. But, IF we continue our continued bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, touchdown scheme our offense will not have enough possessions to top that. In fact, our current scheme is so dour, that Brinkhater actually pondered whether or not Saturday night's win might be the last of the year.

So, pay attention to what the middle of the field looks like on Saturday..if you see a bunch of crimson helmets, then I think we will be witnessing the seeds of a potentially respectable campain. If not, LOOK out. It could get really ugly.

Finally: you saw earlier in the month, staff predictions regarding order of finish in the Pac. Now that the conference slate starts this weekend, here's Brinkhater's revised predicitons:

1) SC (Too much of the total package, but really could be challenged with a full slate of Conf games)
2) CAL (Offensive Speed just too much to handle)
3) Oregon (Cal Lite)
4) Arizona State (Denny wins early, but give him time to tear ASU down)
5) Oregon State ( Brinkhater still likes their running game and defense)
6) UCLA ("over-rated")
7) Washington (game versus UCLA this weekend crucial to Dawg season and verse vice-ah)
8) WSU (Safe pick, could go "up" or "down;" Arizona game is EVERYTHING!)
9) Arizona (Brinkhater's darkhorse no more)
10) Stanford (will not be a cupcake late......)

Give us your takes...

And have a great week. Read more ...plus comments

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Spud-Nick OPEN THREAD

Sorry about the late post, Cougar Nation:

Use the open thread to rant about the following (or whatever, it is "open" afterall):

The Cougs "a win is a win" showing against Akey's spuds.

Whether the D will surrender under 65 next week.

The Z-rated production of last night's game at FSNW.

The wisdom (cough! cough!) of inserting Rogers into the game with 3:50 left and allowing him to throw ZERO passes.

The Over-under on Gesser's career as a television analyst (Brinkhater says 4 appearances).

The exposure of UCLA as the second major fraud of the year.

USC's outright dominance.

Ohio State's speed on defense.

Oregon's speed on offense (WOW!)

Locker showing that despite his future brilliance, freshmen will always be freshmen...

As for Brinkhater, I think at this point, we all have to be relieved that little Alex wasn't knocked out for the year. Nice pass blocking, fellas...Alex is one tough SOB..he was getting KILLED all night long....THAT does not bode well..

Also, I wonder how long it will take USC to beat us deep with a post pattern next week: 5 seconds?

The performance of UCLA and Arizona and Oregon State over the last two weeks are our sources of solace. And lemme tell you, Stanford will be NO pushover by the time we face them in November.

Nothing that I have seen thus far makes me think this is something more than a 4-8 team. But MAN do I hope I'm wrong...the defense is just far too pathetic..

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Football Friday Week 3


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!
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Monday, September 10, 2007

IDAHO, NOT U-DAH-HOE!

As you all know by now, Brinkhater sure likes to put out. But, the one area where I am not ready to spread the wealth is toward crowning our much maligned little Alex for lighting up a bad football team.

Like I've said consistently in this short season, for us to taste the fruits of mediocrity, Alex Brink is not only going to have to be GREAT against San Diego State, he is going to HAVE TO put up the same type of numbers against Belotti's Babes, the Beavs, Conquest, and so forth... And, as the Cougar nation knows, Alex has seldom played poorly against weak competition, its how he plays against the upper division teams that matters.

At the same time, ALL COUGARS SHOULD REMEMBER (e.g. do not forget) that were it not for injuries to Bumpus and Hill in the Arizona game, we would have probably finished 9-3, would have won a conference co-championship by default (having lost to the other co-champions, SC and CAL) and we would NOT be talking about Doba's job, Brink's consistent mediocrity and so forth.

So, lets move on to the Spuds.

Personally, Brinkhater feels this game is important for two reasons. First, Doba MUST further implement a scheme with just a TAD bit more complexity than what he has shown thus far. The reason: it is Brinkhater's view that it is usually a good idea to practice something in a game situation BEFORE starting a conference tilt that begins with the #1 team in the nation. Moreover, without an improved scheme (as well as improved play), this team is going to get TORCHED in the conference. As I said last week, while our offense is clearly skilled and effective, Brinkhater does NOT believe that our current scheme will allow us to win 42-40 type games. We are going to have to keep our opponents under 30pts per game.

Brinkhater also thinks that this upcoming tilt is important because it is PROBABLY a good idea to get your back-up QB a rep or two sometime in your first three games. Just a thought.

So, its important that we gain enough separation early against the Spuds in order to give some other guys some much needed PT.

With regard to other Alex Brink comments, it really goes without question that he is the best, if not only, chance for us to win this year. So, while we still have a season, lets ease up a bit.

That said, the moment we hit 6 losses, I will be organizing a full campain to have #10 not only benched, but banished for life. Rumor has it that Chad Degrenier is lonely on the Island of Misfit Cougs....

In the meantime, feel free to weigh in on any issues related to the Spuds, to the UW-Buckeye tilt, or your early thoughts about how the outcome in Lincoln this Saturday may influence the WSU-Conquest match in a couple of weeks..

Have a good one.. Read more ...plus comments

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Back to .500 Open Thread

Feels good to be back at .500, doesn't it Cougar Nation????

Since Brinkhater was blacked out from Brink's near record performance, this is YOUR chance to let us know what you saw and heard at today's game...

Personally, I'm just glad that we only gave up 17 points!

Give us your takes... Read more ...plus comments

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Football Friday Week Two: The Long Ball

Greetings once again Cougar Nation and welcome to Football Friday, Week Two.

Don't know about you all, but I am ready for this slew of non-conference-Thursday-who-cares-fest games to end...I need to get some stinkin' work done.

Anywho, let's talk first about the upcoming game against the FEARSOME cupcakes from San Diego State.

As you all should know by now, San Diego State led the nation last year in formal surgeries--I think 31 of those pansies had to go under the knife during or immediately following the season(ever heard of weight training, you pansies?).

On the bright side of things for them, they return a wealth of talent on offense and have a coach (Mr. Chuck Long) who reminds Brinkhater A LOT of captain comeback(now at Stanford): the guy just wins. For you younglings who don't remember, Long put Iowa and Hayden Frye on the map in the 80's and he also masterminded much of the Oklahoma offense during their return to national prominence (if not dominance) during the late 90's/first part of this decade.

Simply put, SDSU is going to be a playuh in the coming months and Long is the EXACT type of guy who could emerge as a prominent candidate for WSU should the season head south over the coming weeks.

In addition, Long has seen WSU and its "schemes" before in the 2003 massacre known as the Price Rose-Toilet Bowl. So, they will be prepared for us on both sides of the ball.

In the end, though, it just won't be enough. By the time the clock strikes quadruple zeros in Seahawks stadium, our defense will have shown its true shape of swiss cheez, but our offense will be WAY too much for a SDSU defense that will simply be overmatched.

Look for Alex Brink to add about 170 more yards to his total from last week without sacrificing efficiency or TOs: the Cougs will rack up 500 yards of total offense in this game--guaranteed.

Thankfully, the fact that our defense will give up 450 will be an afterthought:

Cougs roll 45-28

Other Notable Crap-10 Games:

Boise State 31 Washington 21: An early present to all the Husky haters like Brinkhater out there; Jake will be knocked down to earth this week by a good team that is VERY tired of being refered to as a "one hit wonder." Bad news: Barring injury, Huskies shock OSU next week.

Michigan 35 Oregon 34: You think that last week's loss will make Michigan steamroll Belotti's babies? Think again, speed kills the Big 10 and the Quack will score in this one....in the end, Michigan pulls out close one which will send the quackers limping for the rest of the year (remember, keep Dixon in the pocket and the Ducks plain SUCK).

ASU 45 Colorado 17: Memo to Buffs fans: You're gonna suck for a while til Hawkins has time to recruit....God to I hate Dennis Erickson!

Oregon State 31 Cincinatti 24. This is gonna be a real squeeker. In the end, Bernard and the return of Stroughter are enough fo the Beavs to avoid an early season set back.

Mariners 0 Rest of AL 29. Biggest collapse since the Orioles lost 24 something straight to open the 88 season. Will SOMEbody on that team buck up and hit some roids, please?

Enjoy the games this weekend... Read more ...plus comments

Saturday, September 01, 2007

For Brinkhater, There's No Defense

Well, with the exception of a few minor details related to process, the outcome of today’s contest went pretty much as expected. With two exceptions:

1) The Offense was MUCH better than expected.
2) The Defense was MUCH worse than expected.

Given that 1 & 2 basically cancel each other out, you have the predicted outcome: we KINDA stayed close, but then got BLOWN out in the 4th quarter.

Couple of notes from the actual game:

1) Is there ONE playmaker on defense? While the D-Line played well against the rush, the defense against the pass was beyond awful. I have NEVER seen a more passive Cougar group in my life: no pass rush, no blitz that was successful, no hard tackling, NADA.
2) This is EASILY the worst safety play that I’ve seen from a Cougar team. In addition, is Greg Trent the worst MLB the Cougars have had in ten years? He still looks as lost as he did in his first start. VERY disappointing.
3) I thought the offense, including Brink, played pretty darn well. The problem: WE SCORED ONLY 21 STINKING POINTS. That my friends is a REAL problem for the rest of the year.
4) The special teams are still awful. The ABC gang was correct, we’re gonna have a bunch of punts blocked with that spread formation, and our kickoff game with the new rules is BRUTAL.

Final Points:

1) WISCONSIN IS A VERY OVER-RATED FOOTBALL TEAM.

I’m telling you all, the Big 10 is a stinker of a conference. While I LOVE their offensive line, watching Tennessee and CAL shows the difference in speed. Simply put, I think the Badgers are a 4th place team in the Pac-10. THAT does not bode well for us.

2) We have the RIGHT offense and offensive scheme with the WRONG Defense.

I think all of us will be amazed by the end of the year that this group will not be able to score sufficiently to give ourselves a chance to win. That is NOT a slam against Alex Brink, by the way, but if you look from last year forward, you will notice that our vertical game is non-existent. What we do, and DID, very well was dink and dunk and run the football like a charm. The problem: That strategy helps you keep your d off the field, but it doesn’t yield the 4 play 81 yard scoring drive. THAT, my friends, was the trademark of the 42-40 shootouts. This team will not be able to score 35 very often despite being quite effective (IF we had any defense at tall).

3) Alex is MUCH BETTER yet NO BETTER than last year.

Based on what I could tell, Brink is a much more confident QB than he was last year. In fact, I really enjoyed watching his command today—including his ability to throw over the middle. And I really liked his decision making! That said, his arm strength is NO BETTER than last year, and his ability to throw the deep ball is still beyond suspect.

In the end, it really now is all about seeing how we do against Arizona and Arizona State. Win one of those games, and then maybe we have something to offer.

But judging from today, these eyes saw an 8th or 9th place team.

And that, dear Cougar Nation, is NOTHING to get excited about.

Onward to San Diego State!

(and yes, the fake punt was the chicken bleep call of all time) Read more ...plus comments

Not too bad?


First of all, I think Brinkhater should weigh in here, but I've already posted my thoughts over at AOL. Check it out if you dare/care/etc. If you're too lazy or just don't care, here's a nutshell overview:
1) Our defense is pretty bad and we were no match for what Wisconsin had at the skill positions. They are loaded for a run in the Big Ten this year, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I wish we could have opened with a cupcake like Appalachian State (ouch for the Big Blue!).
2) I'm beside myself as to why we blitzed so much. Not so much that we blitzed, but early on it was clear that even sending 6 in on passing plays, we still couldn't touch Donovan. So why make your young secondary be out on an island even more so by blitzing, and against skill position talent like that? It was suicide.
3) The fake punt call at the 46 when it was still just a two-score game?? Brutal. Throw another log on the "Bill Must Go" fire. Are you actually TRYING TO SAY THAT ON 4TH AND 2, THE RIGHT DECISION WAS TO HAVE YOUR PUNTER THROW THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD!?!? WTF WAS THAT!?!? (end caps lock).
4) I was pleasantly happy with the offense, particuarly the running game. That's not Idaho or Stanford we were running against, that was Wisconsin, who only gave up 9 rushing TD's all of last year. That was impressive to see Tardy nearly crack the 100-yard mark.
5) Good job in the rushing defense. Holding P.J. Hill to 84 yards is an accomplishment, and as Brinkhater pointed out, moving Ropati to DE against Wisconsin was a good idea for rushing defense purposes. But giving up 177 total on the ground is still a lot of yards. That Lance Smith is a good-looking backup and he might start for a lot of other teams.
6) Finally, Brink. Good game. Not great. But good. 170 yards isn't much, but he didn't make many mistakes, didn't force things when they weren't there, and to me he showed onions on that TD drive late in the 3rd to cut it to 7. Too often last year we might have gone completely in the toilet after being down 28-14, but Brink responded and I loved it. We're going to score points this year.
Time to put this behind us, big-time, and focus on SD State, who didn't even play today. They return a lot of starters on O plus an experienced QB, so we might be in some deep trouble next week. Hopefully the first-game jitters are out of the way of some of the young defense, but we can't play like that again next week. They have to generate a pass rush, and they have to cover some people, or we are going to see yards and points rain down on us like we haven't seen in a LONG, LONG, LONG time.....like, since 2005! :)
Speaking of the Big Blue, check out the #1 Michigan blog and what they think about today:
Technical difficulties I guess. But some are calling it already as the biggest upset of all-time. Personally I don't think I'd go there, not in week one. I always believe the polls should be delayed a month, and the first real poll should be taken at the beginning of October, after the first month is in the books. But that's just me.
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