Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Football Friday Week Three: Taco Time?

Happy Football Friday, Only on Thursday - Week Three Style.

Well, we now stand at the bottom of the abyss.

The question is, how long 'til we get out?

A year? Two? Three?

Never?

My sense is that our second or third coming will occur after we get a super star QB who was born, bred, and trained to run this complex, high octane offensive machine of Wulff and Sturdy.

But until we get that guy—be it a Bledsoe, Leaf, Gesser, Rosey, Ripp—the key for us is to find a solid, meaty, TACO that we can all sink our collective teeth into.

After all, remember the throwing Taco? He came out of nowhere, led us to a solid 6-5, then faded when Bledsoe came aboard. Of course, those who are true Taco fans know that Aaron transferred to Sacramento State, had a solid end to his college career, and then became the first All-World star in the Arena league.

And boy, do we need someone like Garcia right about now!

Fortunately for us, it looks like we’re going to get the full enchilada of a Storm on Saturday—so much that the game may not happen.

But if it does, we know it is going to be wet, wet, wet, windy, and ugly.

Usually, those games favor teams with the best skill players and the best tackling. In Brinkhater’s book, that team is us.

Of course, if the wind is blowing at 70 miles an hour, do you put in Rogers to try to combat “the breeze” or do you do the Lopina thing and go for the scrambler with short-mid range accuracy?

My sense is that Wulff will go primarily with Lopina and with good results.

Remember: teams who play each other in hoops ROUTINELY have lopsided finishes one meeting and more tightly contested ones the other time around. In our case last week, we got behind early and folded. Granted, we were outclassed, but the score was an aberration. If we played em again, it’d be more like 56-10.

Anyhow, if for some reason we play this game, I will put myself on the line. But when you look at what we have to lose: a loss against the 12th place team in the Big 12, more injuries to a thin roster, a needless 13th game, a quarterback situation in further shambles, and the potential for lost practice and class time if the hurricane impacts infrastructure, and well, THERE’S NO WAY THAT STERK WILL LET US LEAVE PULLMAN.

Brinkhater’s Prediction: Cougs catch first break of the year as the weather gods try to slow Brinkhater down by giving him a bye.

Other games:

Stanford v. TCU. Viva the weather gods!

AZ 38 New Mexico 14. Think AZ’s not for real? Not anymore.

ASU 41 UNLV 10 Yuck.

CAL 31 MD 21. Cal’s good, but not as good as they think they are after last week.

ORE 41 Purdont 14 Oregon is a top 8 team right now. Can’t wait to watch them turn 7-1 into 7-5 again.

BYU 28 UCLA 13. Nice try Rick, but Tennessee isn’t any good and neither is your offense.

USC 41 Ohio State 21. Nice game early, but USC’s D and speed too much for the visitors

Oklahoma 31 Washington 24. I don’t think the Big 12 is that good and I think the dogs have A LOT of fight in this one.

Enjoy the weekend.

We’re gonna win next week!

Sedihawk Says:

To me, this is the game of the year. Win this one, build some confidence, and next thing you know, if you beat Portland State, you can be 2-2. That said, while some of our fans might have circled this one as a "must win", what do you think Baylor has been doing the last few weeks? We are squarely in their must-win category as well, and after two games and 105 points allowed, well, can you blame them?

Two things jump out to me on this one. First, believe it or not, we aren't THAT bad. I know, hard to argue with the results, but think about it for a second. Week one saw some huge special teams breakdowns that shot down any hope of actually winning that game, and Okie State was able to break away late, but that game wasn't that bad. There were a few moments there where if we make one more play, who knows. Last week was one of those where not only are you outmanned physically, but you got absolutely ZERO breaks. NONE. Plus you literally gave away at least four or five TD's with the interceptions returned to the red zone, the two long runs with huge defensive mistakes, and the blocked field goal for a TD.

And I will also say this. For about a quarter of game time, we actually hung in with Cal. Crazy, I know, but if you haven't yet deleted the game from your DVR, go back and watch a little bit from when the game was 21-3 until late in the 2nd quarter. The defense got some 3-and-outs, the offense moved fairly well. Penalties on both sides of the ball killed us though, then the blocked field goal for TD, and the dam gave way.

Second, Baylor is fat-n-sassy after walloping Northwestern State. And make no mistake, that was a blowout. Baylor was up 30-0 before NW State even had a first down. Robert Griffin III looked like a young Vince Young, only not the crazy-depressed version. But after all that, they are still a 2-point underdog at home? Why do you think that is?

I'll give you one big reason - history says that Baylor is AWFUL, and the odds-makers use history in a big way when trying to determine the favorite. Want proof? Courtesy of Phil Steele's amazing preseason magazine:

  • Since Y2K, Baylor is a woeful 27-67 overall.
  • Included in that is an 11-23-1 mark as a home underdog. That's bad.
  • Baylor is the worst team in the history of the Big XII with an 11-85 record.
  • They are the only Big XII team that hasn't ever been to a bowl (since 1996 when the league became the Big XII). Only Vandy and Duke have had longer bowl droughts among BCS teams.
One more thing on the whole Northwestern State deal. In 2006, Baylor played them in their second game as well, and beat the heck out of them, 47-10, in very similar fashion as to last week. The week after that? They lost to WSU in Seattle, 17-15. Deja vu all over again?


The biggest concern for me this week isn't just the hurricane. Baylor might not be all that talented, but there is one area they are going to have an edge, and that is overall experience. They have four of their top five running backs returning from last year, and eight of their top nine pass-catchers are all back. But the biggest area to be worried about is their offensive line. Four of five starters are back from last season, and they are upperclassmen. As we have seen the first two weeks, we have had major issues up front in dealing with mature size and experience, and while the quality of the opponent will be less this week, it's still a big concern.

And that's just the offense. Baylor's d-line? Three starters back, plus a defensive end in Leon Freeman who is a senior and played a lot last year. Their tackles are big and experienced. Finally, LB Joe Pawelek and free safety Jordan Lake were both Big XII second-team selections last year. They combined for 219 tackles in '07 and, in watching them vs. Wake Forest in the first game of the season, at least one of those two seemed to be in on literally every play.

But the good news? The QB is a baby, and while we aren't who we used to be on defense, we can still do some things to make him uncomfortable. I would expect a big effort to confuse him and attack him, and put the game on him. Wulff said in the radio show, when talking about the game, the #1 thing that will be their approach to this game is to stop the run. Basically I expect us to load up at the line of scrimmage and make the kid QB beat us. Of course, I thought we would do that last week, and, uh.....well, you know.

Contrary to what Brinkhater thinks, we WILL play this game. Based on the weather forecast, the heavy stuff isn't going to come down for a while...

Or, at least not until the afternoon, once the game is over. Kevin Lopina and Gary Rogers split time, but in a move towards the future, Lopina gets the majority of the snaps. The defense improves, but the key will be the offense, particularly the running game. Lopina gives the offense some life, makes a few big plays with his legs, and we get an ugly, hard-fought victory in Waco. I'm going WSU 26, Baylor 20.

The rest of the story:

Stanford 23, TCU 16. They have moved the kickoff time up but they will play this one. Their record might not reflect it at the end of the year, but Stanford is going to end up as the most improved team in the conference when it's all said and done.

AZ 42 New Mexico 18. The best offense in the conference rolls on.

ASU 38 UNLV 17. Yuck is right.

CAL 34 MD 23. Hard to say a 34-23 win is a letdown, but Cal isn't THAT good...are they?

ORE 27 Purdue 17. Oregon is due for a tough one on offense, on the road, on grass. But the defense will win this one.

BYU 21 UCLA 10. UCLA's defense is the real thing, but the offense will be a mess in their first road game with all the new faces.

USC 30 Ohio State 23. Don't sleep on Ohio State just yet. People weren't impressed with Ohio State early in 2006, but they went on the road and won at Texas with an experienced team. As good as USC is, I think this will be a lot closer than some people believe.

Oklahoma 45 Washington 24. After watching BYU waltz up and down the field at will vs. UW, I imagine it will only be worse with Oklahoma's offense. The QB, the receivers, the offensive line, the running backs, Oklahoma is simply loaded offensively. Jake will keep them in the game early, but the defense just will not get the stops needed, and Oklahoma pulls away.

Enjoy the games, and GO COUGS!

14 comments:

atlantacoug said...

Nice write up boys. One thing I forgot to mention after last weeks drubbing was this: remember the debate you guys had going about whether or not there is normally a big improvement between weeks 1 and 2? I think we can put that one to bed (except, Special teams DID tackle much better). Also I liked the PI's article this morning with Jim Moore and Walden. Oddly enough, hearing how undermanned we are actually gives me hope for the future to see what Wulff can do

kaddy said...

Shows how much you know, Atlanta. How you like me posting from your own computer?

atlantacoug said...

Anybody ever have a house guest that would not leave?

Sedihawk said...

Yes, and ATL, sounds like you do today. Hope you are representing the MV down in the A-T-L!

Do you guys think we'll win?

Bookie said...

Quote:

..."The biggest concern for me this week isn't just the hurricane,....

Me neither. I say we can pull it off hurricane included.

Spok-PHUK said...

Hi guys, KXLY said in the last hour that we are playing tomorrow evening if Stork can get the charter figured out. If they do not play tomorrow they might play in early December.

kaddy said...

I guess nothing would surprise me, win or lose.

ptowncoug said...

I love Sedi-Hawk's glass half full mentality. Week 1 its special team and slow start to O. Week 2, defense missing assignments and O turning ball over to other team. I think Week 1 and 2 show we are a bad team, not a decent that has had some bad performances.
Anyhow, looking forward to stomping the Bears. Pac-10's last place team is better than Big 12's last place team!

Sedihawk said...

Come on ptown, someone has to be positive. Game is now 5:30 tomorrow. A big concern however is if we can get there tonight. They are talking right now that it is possible we will have to fly tomorrow AM and then play, which is INSANE. If Jim Sterk cannot get the team down there tonight, then cancel the game!

ptowncoug said...

It can't be that difficult to fly out of Lewiston can it?

Brinkhater said...

Totally with Hawk. W-T-F???

Why are we in such a hurry to accomdate a situation that is horribly unfair to a team that can not afford to give up on stinking advantage.

Think about it: there's a two hour time difference, so if they get there three hours before game time then they have to be there by 12:30 Pacific. Its about a 3.5-4 hour flight which means they have to depart by 9:00--meaning that the players probably have to wake up at about 5.

Then, and this is THE BIG ONE, our boys are going to go play in high 80s low 90s heat that is going to be INCREASINLY humid as the night goes on as those outer bands start to push in.

Texas is already hot and humid, but this is going to be worse.

Folks, when you add on the dehydration that goes with travel and walking up early, and you'll have a team that will be cramping all over the place.

lets just hope that the staff has had them drinking their buckets of water or this game is going to be REAL, REAL ugly.

If Sterk doesn't find a way to call this off, we could very easily find ourselves down 21-0 in the first quarter.

Anonymous said...

So if the game goes on does that mean Brinkhater's streak ends?

PortlandCoug said...

Only brinkhater cares about brinkhaters streak so he must be the one asking.

Brinkhater said...

You're so wrong P-Coug, I don't even care about the streak.