Happy Football Friday but on Thursday, Lucky Week Seven Style.
So, as the post indicates, this week is filled with our annual Fall riddle. So here it goes:
What's the difference between Tommy Tuberville and Brinkhater?
The Answer: Brinkhater only CALLS for the demotion or dismissal of coordinators mid-season.
You think I exhibited hysteria with my posts over the last two weeks (e.g. touchdown Brinkhater)?
How about abandoning a coach and new scheme after (cough! cough!) six weeks.
To make this move even more bizzarre, aren't the Tigers 4-2 right about now?
While we cut Wulff a break, maybe he should also be glad he's not a coach in the SEC!
Okay, back to us. Well, as we noted at the beginning of the year in predicting the Beavs to neighbor the conference cellar, WERE the Beavs able to field an upper division team, we would know that the OSU program has really arrived.
And boy they sure have.
As Sarah Palin would say, "Congrats to Beaver nation for that also.."
While others may talk about the difficulties the Beavs have experienced early in the season and/or on the road, when you look at their performance over the last two weeks--a whoopin' of SC followed by a game they gave away in the last 2 minutes @ #14 You-Tah--and you know that they are good.
Moreover, with the two conference cupcakes on the slate over the next two weeks, you know that Riles will have these boys circling the wagons in an effort to get near bowl eligibility ASAP.
And, of course, they will.
The biggest concern for us is the psychological well-being of Ocho Rojo and that offensive line. With a sure-fire ass-whopping in tow for next week, it is really incumbent upon Marshall and company to put a couple of nice drives together so that we can build against the Trees en route to our low-down with the Puppies in November.
While we certainly can't afford turnovers if we expect to win, we also need to allow the kid to make a few mistakes while he also learns to make some stinkin' plays.
That all said, unlike last week, the questions of this week do not include the outcome of this contest.
WE ARE GOING TO LOSE come hell or highwater.
What is in question is whether or not we can move the ball and score more than once or twice. If we can (like score thrice), then the final tally stays down--which is what we all want to see at this point.
Unfortunately, I don't see us doing all that well--especially with Ivory out.
However, because OSU's offense is not as wide open or prolific as SC, CAL, or Oregon, I see us keeping this game under 55 points even at Reser.
Beavs 48 Cougs 14
USC 48 ASU 10 Pistol Peete won't run the score up as much as he could against us next week, but he won't be afraid to try to bury Dennis while he can. ASU secures their pre-eminent status as biggest flop in the nation this year.
Oregon 45 UCLA 3. Hope you enjoyed the victory last week, powder blue girls, but its now back to reality against an Oregon team that underperformed last weekend (Thanks to Loser-excuse-maker Belotti's inexplicable decision to get cute at the end of the 1st half.)
Arizona 49 Stanford 21. Here comes the Wildcats. Stoops shows unbelievable restraint last week in calling off the Dogs against the Dogs. But they get off this week against a very tired and outmanned group of Trees.
Bye 61 Washington 2. Even in a bye week, the Huskies are still big losers.
And the Red River Classic:
University of Clay Bennett 38 Horns 34. This is the game of the year, so check it out if you can.
Enjoy the games, and lets go Ocho Rojo and our Cougies!
Greetings Cougar nation. Hope all is well with you and yours, as we trudge through what is fast becoming the most difficult season of our lifetimes, in one of the most difficult era's in the history of our country.
I have been thinking this one through, trying to find something to believe in this week. I couldn't help but think of that awful Poison song, give me something to believe in....
Anyway, I want to hope for a breakthrough performance this week, where everything just works. And I think, honestly, the team is taking some positive steps. The defense had an extra edge to it last week, and for the first time they weren't completely pushed over. It was 0-0 in the first quarter! After the way this season has gone, I call that a WIN. I loved the approach that Sears and Ball had, and that was basically cut the kids loose and attack the line of scrimmage. Clearly a passive approach wasn't working out, and it was time to try and dictate some things vs. waiting to get bowled over.
But I think there is something to be said for the quality of the offense we were facing. UCLA had struggled mightily to do much of anything this year with the football, and while they had been playing a little better, well, this wasn't exactly Oklahoma State....or Cal....or Oregon....or even, dare I say, BAYLOR!?!? In other words, this wasn't your garden variety dynamic, spread offense. UCLA is much more of a traditional offense, even with Norm Chow. And combine that scheme with the fact UCLA is still going through a major coaching change, you start to see that maybe we were due to see an uptick in our defensive performance.
That said, Oregon State is not your nightmare spread offense. While they have introduced many wrinkles over the years, they are still running the one-back attack, a scheme we are quite familiar with. They are running it quite well lately, however, as the Beaver Believers have shown that if you take care of the football, you can win a lot of football games. Lyle Moevao has improved quite a bit in that department after struggling last year and early this year with the giveaway.
It's an excellent example for ALL OF US (I'm looking in your direction coach Wulff) of what can happen when you hang on to the ball. And who knows, maybe this whole take-care-of-the-ball thing is catching on, for young Ocho Rojo and the WSU offense only gave it away one time last week.
The bad news? No takeaways, and the turnover margin on the season got even worse, now a minus-14. Good for dead last in the conference, and it's not even close (Stanford is ninth, at a minus-5 ratio). I know I have railed about the turnovers this year, and it's morphed into the beating of a dead horse. I won't waste too much time on it here, but if you ever get a chance, pick up Phil Steele's preseason mag, and read the article called Turnovers = Turnaround. The amount of research and statistics that back up the turnover story is staggering, but the bottom line is that the better your turnover ratio, the more games you will win. You will probably even win a few that you normally wouldn't have. For turnovers are the great equalizer. With a less talented, young team we have right now, it's almost as if their only chance is to not make mistakes and also force turnovers on defense, or else this thing comes off the track, and fast.
The biggest issue here for me is what happens up front. Oregon State has started the same five offensive linemen for the whole season thus far, and we've seen them manhandle the great USC defense. Mike Riley has built a tradition in Corvallis of having depth, talent and overall strength on both of his lines, and even with some graduation and injuries, both lines are still strong this season. It's a staple of their program, really, and something we can hope for in the coming years under Wulff. But this Saturday? It's not even close. Another week, another men-against-boys up front, and that spells disaster.
The other issue here might be the location of this game. For Oregon State is, quite simply, fantastic at home. Since the 1998 season, the Beavers are now an amazing 48-15 in Corvallis. They just don't blow it at home. Almost like the Seattle Seahawks, they just seem to amp it up an extra notch in front of the home folks, and the crowd gives them a big boost. Just ask USC, who has now lost their last two trips to the land of black and orange. It's tough.
I won't go into great detail on our current offensive woes, but you know the story. Last in the Pac-10 in scoring offense at 16 points per game. Ninth in total offense. 10th in passing efficiency. Ninth in third down conversions. And oh yeah, we've surrendered the most sacks in the conference, with 19. It just goes on and on and on.
I wish this would be our breakthrough week, but much like John McCain's voting record with George W Bush, I'm falling lock-step with Brinkhater....again. For I am no maverick. I think it will be a little like UCLA, only worse. I'm going 38-10, Oregon State. (We'll back off the political BS, but you know, 'tis the season right now).
The rest of the story:
USC 35 ASU 16 Agree with Brinkhater as ASU the biggest flop of 2008. The UNLV loss showed us what a fraud they really are.
Oregon 31 UCLA 11. UCLA's only played one road game this year, and it was a nightmare vs. B-Y-WHO. They will play better, losing "only" by 20 this week.
Arizona 42 Stanford 20. Arizona in the Pac-10 race? WOW. But we loved them this summer in our preseason picks, and so far, they are living up to the billing.
(I won't take a shot at winless Washington. Just too easy. And given our current state of affairs, I would rather worry about our own back yard instead of making fun of the neighbor.)
Red River Classic:
Oklahoma 45 Horns 41. Yards and touchdowns galore in this one. Long live the spread offense!
Enjoy your Thursday, and as always, GO COUGS!
Once again I am a day late and a brain cell short, but here are my predictions for this weekend's action:
Cougs Win Baby! Just kidding. I wanted to see what it was like to type that. I am a big fan of what Mike Riley has done in Corvallis and think they provide a great model for the type of program we can have when run the right way. Of course we are still looking for our sugar daddy, and since none of our alums seem to have struck a jackpot of frozen burritos I ain't holding my breath. What does this all mean for Saturday? It means we have unfortunately filled the void the Beavers left when they vacated the doormat roll years ago. Hopefully, unlike the Beavs, we are just passers through to doormatville, not longtime residents. I don't expect us to be competitive after the 1st quarter of any Pac-10 games left on our schedule, but this week I am going to go against my instincts and say we keep it close -
Well, close for this year. I think the fact that numero uno for the Beavs is going to run all over us will keep the score down since they'll have very little need to throw the ball and the clock will keep running.
Around the country -
USC 35 ASU 24. Sparky shows some life, but USC already has their loss for the year.
Oregon 35 UCLA 14. UCLA got some confidence against our Div II defense last week. That should result in somewhat of a pulse against eternally overconfident Ducks.
Furd 38 Zona 35. Every now and then if you call for a Harbough shocker you will be rewarded. I am so confident, I would bet every last share of my WaMu stock on it!
Red River Classic:
Special Shout-out to my buddy JD who will be manning 'Ol crimson at Gameday this weekend! JD, you make us proud. Hook 'em Cougs!
Enjoy the games and now more than ever, GO COUGS!