Thursday, August 28, 2008

Football Friday Week One...Only on Thursday




Welcome to Football Friday, Cougar Nation. And Week One Style to Boot!

For future reference, you can EXPECT to see the WSU Football Blog version of Football Friday appear on this here blog every Thursday (it may appear as a Wednesday post because of Blogger). But look for Football Friday....only on Thursday....every week.

As you know, we always strive to bring stuff to you first at this lil’ ole site. ..

I mean, anyone else in the blogosphere notice that the "Evil" Vince Grippi started posting before 8:00am this fall for the first time after Sedihawk started our morning link series at about 5:45am everyday this past spring? Good morning Vince....

For the past couple of years, we’ve each given our takes on the upcoming tilt of games on separate posts. For us, that has enabled us Blogfathers to essentially fill the blog out with posts each day during game week. But, that approach has also given our readership a piecemeal and often fragmented view of WSU Football and our prospects each week.

So, we’re going to give you our collective Blogfather takes in one fell swoop this year.

Needless to say, we hope you enjoy it, win money from it, and COMMENT on it. And please, feel free to add your picks as well. We can keep a tally of them during the season and see how you stack up.

So, without further ado, here are our takes:

As for Brinkhater, after finishing last year 12-0 as a master soothsayer and winning my own coveted National Championship, I bat lead-off—at least for game one. So, here we go.

First, Cougar Nation, I beg you all to KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE throughout this season and especially this first game.

And, in case you've forgotten, the prize is this:

WIN TWO STINKING GAMES IN SEPTEMBER
!!!!!!

As I suggested in the season preview, that means beating Baylor and Portland State. Do that, and our season can be a major success. Exceed that and our season could be really, really special.
But first, let’s focus on Saturday’s game against CBSU.

Now, I don’t want to curb anyone’s enthusiasm, but you all can really put this one in stone:

WE ARE NOT WINNING THIS WEEKEND. No how. No way.


For a long time, I imagined a scenario where we got up 14-0 on OK State and made those less-than-road-warriors play an unsuccessful game of catch-up the rest of the way.

But alas, Anderson got hurt, and even worse, our once solid O-Line is now in total shambles. So, with that in mind, I also see no reasonable way that we can play ball control and “hang in there” as I’ve wanted to believe all summer long.

Mind you, Brinkhater thinks that our much maligned D is going to be much better than advertised (even without Roof), but my sense is that our offense is going to be just downright awful. And when I say awful, I mean A-W-F-U-L.

As a result of our pending ineptitude, after Rogers throws his 3rd pick of the first half (he’ll have 4 in this game, but what can you reasonably expect??? Has any WSU QB done well in his first real start?), I think that I will find myself clinging to the gilded memories of Alex DOMINATING the field between the 20’s, and will thus embrace the memories of #10 in same way that McCain has been captured loving HIS former nemesis, the other “Dubya”:


In spite of how awful we’ll be on O in Game One, I urge you all to both enjoy and watch the 4th quarter of this game VERY closely. What we’re looking for in this game is PROGRESS that we can use against CAL. And, because the Cowboys’ defense is so suspect, I do think that we can establish something late that we can use next week in Martin Stadium.

Remember, as Doba pointed out, the greatest progress in a season is between Week One and Week Two. With this young team, a strong finish for this game will set the table for a more competitive performance against CAL, which MUST further set the stage for a must-win victory over Baylor in two weeks. Again, the ONE game we must have is Baylor.

So, with that in mind, think about the next two weeks as a pre-season to prepare specifically for THAT game.

Final Answer for Brinkhater on the Cougs' fortunes in Week One?:



Cougs go 0-1 as Brinkhater goes 1-0 and thus extends his hapless WSU Football prediction win streak at 13..

Clay Bennett State University 38 Cougs 17 (35-3 Entering the 4th). And, yes, we know Clay Bennett wears Sooner pajamas to bed every night. But hey, Oklahoma is Oklahoma to us.

Other Games:

Oregon 31 Washington 14. Can Locker leave the stadium walking? We’ll see.

Trees 20 Beavs 13. No offense, but totally offensive. Don’t watch this one.

USC 41 UVA 6. Don’t watch this one either.

CAL 24 MSU 17. Maybe consider going camping this weekend after our game?

And the National Game of the Week?

Mizzou 41 Illinois 24. Mizzou takes first step toward a possible National Title Run. Big Ten shows it still sucks.

Enjoy the games and go Cougs!!!

Sedihawk says:

Good work Brinkhater. My, I didn't expect 38-17 out of you. But how can I argue against your spotless 2007 season? It's true, folks, hate Brinkhater all you want, but he did win the mythical national title of picking games last year. And not just in football either. I believe he missed just one or maybe two hoops games, total, last year. And we have the archives to prove it.

But it's a new season, and time for the rest of us to weigh in.

First of all, I think X-man can sum up my feelings towards all things Oklahoma.


GIT 'EM X!

I know, this is supposed to be a WSU football blog....but still.....so verrrrrry bitter about the theft that took place of a 41-year Seattle institution. And really, for no other reason than David Stern was in bed with a fat, rich ego maniac who became even fatter and richer by getting to watch ball in YEE HAW OKC!

Enough of that. Moving on, this week's game. Well, I'm going to have to slide towards Brinkhater's side of the fence on this one. Okie State scares the bejeezus out of me when they have the football, and for good reason. Actually, several good reasons:

1) Zac Robinson is the real deal at QB folks. As a true sophomore, and first shot at starting last year, he completed over 60% of his passes, approached 3,000 yards, had a fantastic 23-9 TD/INT ratio, and led his team to a winning record and a big bowl victory. He is a wonderful fit in the read-option offense, running for 847 yards and nine more TD's. And oh yeah, he set a school record for total offense with 3671 yards. All as a sophomore?? To put it in perspective, Tim Tebow was the only other QB in the nation to throw for at least 2800 yards and run for 800. Not Dennis Dixon, not Jake Locker, not any of the other read-option QB's. It's a little scary to think how good he could be this year.

2) Their offense, overall, was outstanding. The only team in the nation to average at least 240 yards per game running AND throwing the ball, they were a dual-threat offensive machine. And while they've lost leading receiver Adarius Bowman and leading rusher Dantrell Savage, they still have some talented kids back in the skill positions, including Dez Bryant, monster TE Brandon Pettigrew, and running backs Kendall Hunter, Keith Toston and a new face in Beau Johnson, who ran for over 1700 yards in the JC ranks last year. Simply put, these guys will move the ball.

3) The biggest concern is the O-line against our defense. They are rated highly as a group, giving up only 11 sacks ALL OF 2007. I think Oregon State sacked us 11 times alone last year?? Anyway, they have nine of their top 10 linemen back from 2007, and 89 career starts combined among them. Scary.

The good news from a WSU perspective? The skill position guys might be touted, but, they are also young. Pettigrew is a senior and an all-everything candidate at tight end, but, WR Dez Bryant and starting RB Kendall Hunter are just sophomores.

And with youth comes inconsistency, so, you never know what you might get on a week-to-week basis.

Their defense has been bad, bad, and bad. While they might rack up yards and points on offense, well, they give 'em up too. 112th in the nation in passing defense, 101st in the nation overall giving up 443 yards per game! That's only three yards less than UW gave up last year, their worst defense in school history and a game in which we were able to score 42 points. I know, new season, new coaches, new QB and all that, but still, there is hope. However, the Okie State D appears to be improved, at least if you believe the hype from the spring and fall practices anyway. They are certainly expecting a big improvement across the board.

Okie State did have a winning record last year, sure. But once again, they struggled away from home, going just 2-4 on the road. Even more, they went 2-4 on the road in 2006, and just 1-4 in 2005. Add it all up, and that's a 5-12 record away from Boone Pickens Stadium in the last three seasons. They were humiliated in a few roadies last year as well - 35-14 at Georgia, sure, that wasn't unexpected. But a 41-23 loss at TROY, a game in which they were a 10-point favorite?? They also laid down at Oklahoma, getting run off the field 49-17. So we'll see.

But in the end, I agree with Brinkhater. Unfortunately I don't think we will be able to keep up with them offensively. I think we might be better than people think defensively, but, I wonder about how we are going to go about scoring points. Losing Jeshua Anderson as the wide receiver HR threat really could be a major trickle-down to the rest of the offense, allowing Okie State to focus on Brandon Gibson. And as much as I like the future of Jared Karstetter, well, he's a few months removed from a 4-A state hoops title. To think he's going to smoothly make the transition right away to starting WR on a BCS team just seems too far-fetched. I sure as hell will be rooting for him, but having to start a true frosh at WR isn't a comforting thought.

But the biggest thing on the offense is the O-line. Losing Lesuma and then Rowlands hurts, and the shuffle up front continues. We are now starting four underclassmen among our starting line, with only junior Kenny Alfred the lone upper class guy. I like the future of the line, and I think they could be a very special group in a year or so, but, this could be a real learning experience in '08, especially this first month of the season.

I'm going to go Okie State 33, WSU 24. I think it will be a tighter game than Brinkhater believes, and I think we will hang in there. But we just don't have the horses to run with these guys. And speaking of horses, I think Okie State is a real dark horse in the Big 12, and after this game they have a run of four straight home games. It's very possible they will go into their 10/11 game at Missouri undefeated and a team that many people will be talking about.

Remember, this year is about taking positive steps forward. Like coach Wulff himself said earlier in the week, we're looking for improvement. But that might not always translate on the scoreboard. We have to be patient, but just know that the program is in the right hands, and most of all, headed in the right direction!

Other games:

Oregon 28, UW 20. I think much closer than the 14-point spread or whatever. Oregon is going to be pretty good, but the first-game yips will be evident with Roper at QB. Locker is special, but he can't do it alone. UW starts TEN freshmen or sophomores in this one, possibly the youngest starting lineup ever in Willingham's entire coaching career. To break in all that youth, on the road, at Autzen!?!? Yikes.

Oregon State 23, Stanford 17. This will be more about Stanford being better than the Beavs being worse. Harbaugh is changing things up down there, and they will be a tougher, grittier team than last year. But Oregon State still has them beat in the talent department. Look for Sammie Stroughter to make a big play or two in special teams, always an early-season concern for every team in the nation the first few weeks.

CAL 35, MSU 21 - The Berkeley Bears come storming out of the gate. Kevin Riley lights it up and any QB controversy talk is quickly put to bed. Cal will have a major chip on their shoulder in this one and quickly erase the bad taste of 2007's fade.

USC 27, Virginia 9 - I think the Trojan offense sputters a bit with the QB situation and all, but the D is just beyond bad-ass. USC offense better get into a groove by the time the Ohio State University shows up in LA in two weeks!

Arizona 50, Idaho 12 - The Willie Tuitama show begins! Yards and points galore in this one. Have fun Coach Akey.

ASU 49, Northern AZ 18 - Rudy goes bananas early and it's 42-3 before you know it. And best of all, NO SACKS ALLOWED!

Tennessee 30, UCLA 13 - The Bruin offense is in ruins right now, and that won't change after this one. UCLA keeps it tight early, but all the 3-and-outs will wear down their own defense in the 2nd half, and the Vols will salt it away.

National Game:
MIZZOU 37, Illinois 30 - Wild shootout on the St. Louis turf, but Mizzou should prevail. They are a likely pick to win the Big 12 North this year, and for good reason.

ENJOY YOUR THURSDAY, and GO COUGS!

Longball says...

Duck and Cover!

Cougar nation, I hate to bring more doom and gloom to our season opener prognostications, but we are going to get rolled on Saturday. By the time the dust settles in the 4th quarter I don't expect us to be within two touchdowns. The problem I see on the horizon is an offense with a new scheme that frequently goes 3 and out leaving our defense to wither on the field against a juggernaut of an offense from the Pokes. I fully expect there to be a point in the game when we "figure it out" against their not-so-great defense, but by then we will be playing catch up with an exhausted and demoralized defense of our own. Not gonna happen.

However, this is what these guys have to go through to find out what its gonna take to compete, and Okie State ain't no scrimmage. This will be a great test and there will be lots for us to learn from going into conference play next week when we SHOCK CAL AT HOME!!!

Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, like my colleagues stated above, don't get too down if what you see Saturday from these Cougs is somewhat less than a masterpiece. We will have plenty to cheer about down the road and growing pains like we're likely to have Saturday will make it all possible.

Pokes 42
Cougs 24

Now onto this weeks other marquee match-ups, and a warning to anyone placing a wager... I'm totally wingin' it on these predictions...

Oregon State 20, Stanford 10 - Honestly, Harbaugh will be the best QB on the field in this game.

CAL 24, MSU 21 - This is just a homer Pac-10 pick but Cal has some things to figure out still.

USC 35, Virginia 14 - The ghost of Thomas Jefferson intervenes late to get the Cavs two scores, but until then its all Rey Maualuga and company.

Arizona 50, Idaho 12 - Akey won't have too many chances to show off his vertical leap in this one. Tuitama and crew get an easy warm up against the Vandals.

ASU 42, Northern AZ 24 - Erickson calls off the dogs letting NAU make some late scores, but this will not even be a contest.

UCLA 28, Tennessee 24 - There goes Longball again, makin' crazy, half-brained predictions! Slick Rick gets his new team so fired up they shock the world and the overconfident Volunteers. I don't know how, so don't ask.

National Game:
Illinois 35, Mizzou 31 - Lee Corso's pick to make it to the BCS title game goes down in flames early! Actually I am picking this one because I want Mizzou to break through this year and I never get what I want, so this is what will happen. Sorry Tiger fans, I'll root for Nebraska next year.

That's all folks, see you Saturday and GO COUGS!!!

18 comments:

millcreekcoug said...

No pick for the Clemson/Alabama game?

I guess I will have to go crawling back to the Dixie Dynamo....

Sedihawk said...

It was a toss-up between 'Bama-Clemson or Mizzou-Illinois. But since we are out on the left-coast, we thought we'd go closer to home. We normally just do one out-of-conference pick.

Feel free to weigh in with your picks too Millie.

ptowncoug said...

Let's just go through the starters who are banged up for us or who won't be suiting up: Lesuma, Rowlands, Anderson, Blackledge and Evans (broken thumb). Wow this is just a lot of guys to be hurt or out for the 1st game of the season when not playing a cream puff. I'm a bit pissed by it because we have gone to Auburn and Wisconsin and got our butts kicked in, now it is our turn to return the favor and we now are playing with half of a team. This game is going to make the Pac look bad, which I always hate to see, and I think may hurt our confidence.
I hope defensively we do better than we did against UW last November. I just watched the game on reply on Fox Sports. Brutal how Locker would fake the hand off and then dodge 5 tacklers for a 10 yd gain.
Score: OSU 56 WSU 21

Sedihawk said...

Certainly puts it in perspective ptown. Like Longball put it at practice last week, we looked like the french army in full retreat in regards to the walking wounded. Lack of depth just kills. Hopefully in two years we won't be talking about how thin we are, but it is going to take time.

kaddy said...

35-21 OSU. I think we'll hang, but like Hawk says, we just don't have the horses. If we played 'em healthy, it would be a pick-em.

Anonymous said...

"Steve don't cum yet."

-Xavier McDaniel, Singles.

kaddy said...

Great quote from Jim Harbaugh in the Times, about Wulff.

"A lot of people wanted that [Washington State] job, and he got it. That tells me he's ready for it."

Anonymous said...

"A lot of people wanted that [Washington State] job, and he got it. That tells me he's ready for it."

WHO exactly wanted it? JL Smith and his face-slapping antics? Retread Mike Price? That is SOME LIST. Just like wilber is SOME PIG in Charlottes web.

kaddy said...

People that talk trash under the tag "anonymous" don't really deserve responses, but you'd be surprised at the coaches that expressed interest - they just weren't in the paper for couch potatoes like you to read.

Will-Mutt said...

No anonymous this time. Just too lazy to enter a name. But if I wanted advice from someone named kaddy, I'd ask when the beverage cart comes by (whaa-whaa-whaaaaaa). Otherwise speak only when spoken to. You dont clearly play the game of golf do you?

I am sure you all had a long list of names dying to get the job. what with your sold out stadium and top notch facility, excellent location with large media market and thousands of big money donors. and that rich tradition of success on the field, whoa. Yep the line must have been up and down the left coast for that one.

millcreekcoug said...

WSU has nicer facilities than the UW.

Hope this helps.

kaddy said...

Ok, you're right... Will-Mutt is a much better name.

Jim said...

"if we were healthy, it'd be a pick 'em"


bs...what an excuse...I'm sure that's all we'll hear from you pansies after this beat down...

Good Guys 60 Wazzitsname 14

Longball said...

I love how all of us predicting a lopsided loss just wasn't enough respect for Jim. A bunch of people say your team is going to win and you still have to talk trash? Obviously overcompensating for, ahem, something. Eh Jim?

Anonymous said...

If you want some OSU/WSU football talk, stop by orangepower.com or ostatesports.com.

amieable said...

What no Ducks/Dawgs pick from you Longball? You afraid you'll sleep on the couch if you pick the Ducks?

Anonymous said...

Holy JEBUS is Baylor awful. Anyone watching that game? I know Wake is ranked, but wow, what a mess.

Zach Mauch said...

Dang, what a pick. That score was off by less than a TD.