"Bridgeport: The Simon to Huddy's Garfunkel"
Good morning and happy hump day, Cougs! It's the last hump day of 2011 and it's been quite a year. For me personally, this week marks an anniversary of sorts. It was at this time a year ago that I was waiting to hear back from the Blogfathers as to whether or not they would be welcoming to the team. (SPOILER ALERT -- they said yes) Since the good news came, I've enjoyed the challenge of writing on This Here Blog, even if it's been about disappointing results on the various fields of play much of the time. In the spirit of year-end sentimentality, I want to once again thank my cohorts on the site and send a huge thank you to all the readers who make this gig so much fun. Also in the spirit of year-end sentimentality (and as mandated by internet protocol), I considered making this a Best/Worst of 2011 post. Besides, as the site's Senior Recent History Analyst, it seemed a natural fit. You may or may not be asking what qualifies me as a Senior Recent History Analyst. Well, it's a combination of exhaustive research and in depth statistical analysis. As I started thinking about 2011, though, I realized it might be fairly depressing to relive much of what happened with the Cougs. It would have turned into one big Worst of 2011 list and would surely jeopardize my title as the WSU Football Blog Senior VP of Optimism. Fortunately for you readers, I am also the blog's Senior Current Events Analyst so you will have some reading material as you all embark on your holiday meal induced #2's. So let's take a quick whip around Cougar Nation and maybe a couple other places, not so quick hit style....but first, Tonto!jump on it, jump on it. Kemosabi! jump on it, jump on it.
Just when you thought that the Mike Leach hype machine might start to slow down a bit, the athletic department went ahead and busted out the smoke machine for the big introduction at Key Arena. That's right, we went all "The U" on West Side Cougar fans. I hope everyone has fully recovered from having their minds blown by the special effects. All kidding aside, it continues to be pretty awesome that everything surrounding the hiring of a new coach is being treated like a legitimate event. It's not something we're used to around these parts, but seems to be a necessity in today's college football. If you don't believe me, well you haven't been paying attention. In other, Mike Leach Honeymoon news, the jerkfaces at Sports Illustrated tried to pee in the proverbial Cheerios by projecting the Cougs for "only" five wins in the eccentric pirate enthusaist's first season. Who asked you anyway, Sports Illustrated? Fortunately, the All Leach All The Time good vibes were restored by a copy of "Swing Your Sword" under my tree. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I mean, thanks, Santa!
In other Cougar news, as my main man Lucas detailed yesterday, our Crimson heroes of the hardcourt kick off the Pac 12 season tomorrow. If you know what to expect from conference play (and I mean really, truly know), you're either a super genius or you're kidding yourself. For starters, the WSU basketball team is about as steady as Michael Irvin's diction (read: not very). For back-ups, the Pac-12 is a mess. My prediction for this weekend and every other weekend for the rest of the season is a split. I just hope the team won't be distracted by the bright lights of Spokane. Don't get too wild in the big city, fellas.
Also on the Palouse, the women's soccer coach resigned to depart for the slightly different pastures of Norman, Oklahoma. So that stinks. I guess. Something tells me folks won't be monitoring flights into Pullman to speculate on who the new coach will be, but the Lady Soccer Cougs did go to the NCAA Tournament so I suppose this is bad news. I mean, I have no idea. If you want to talk soccer with me, I'm 100% for it, but I'd want to address the following before women's college soccer: the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, International Soccer, my son's soccer team, my high school's soccer team circa 1999, men's college soccer and my indoor soccer team (shout out to Fighting Llamas FC). If we get through all that, we can dive into the impact of Matt Potter's resignation. If any members of the women's soccer team happen to read the site, please don't read this the wrong way. I really do like to talk about all those other things. No offense intended. Also, I'm an idiot.
Let's whip around the rest of the sporting landscape real quick, shall we? You're probably thinking, "Oh jeez, Huddy is going to talk about the Bengals now. Come on, Huddy. this is the WSU Football Blog. Nobody cares about the Bengals. Let it go, man". I have several counter arguments for you, but this week I need to only say, "WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!". I think Jerome Simpson has earned me some slack so I ask of you, dear readers, please think some good thoughts for the Bengals and for your boy Huddy this Sunday. If they lose, I'll be really, really, really sad. You don't want me to be really, really, really sad. Unless you happen to be Andrew Furney, Tyree Toomer or Faisal Aden, in which case you probably want me to be really, really, really sad after you punch me in the face. Fair enough.
I also want to talk about professional basketball. I can hardly believe it myself! Somehow over the course of the last couple of years, I've slowly but surely become more and more of an NBA fan. It's come to a head this week. Thanks to the League Pass free preview, I've found myself watching random games to which I have no direct connection. Of course, I watched my beloved Wizards lose (I know, I know), but I also found myself entirely riveted by the Thunder-Timberwolves game and have watched a handful of others. Maybe it's just being in a fantasy hoops league, or maybe it will wear off within a week or two, but for the time being I'm all in. Is anyone else experiencing an NBA renaissance? No? Just me. Alright then.
Before I go, I've got a couple recommendations for you. If you haven't already done so, watch "A Game of Honor". As an Army brat, I've always been riveted by the Army-Navy game, but the level of access in this documentary took it to a whole other level. If you're like me and cry at every single viewing of "Rudy", then be prepared for some tears when you watch this one. It does require a Showtime subscription, but as an added bonus if you get Showtime, you can also watch season one of "Homeland". I'm a little late to the game on this, but I plowed through ten episodes in the last week or so. It's important to note that I have no life, but still.
Thank you for indulging my behavior throughout this year. My blogging resolutions for next year are less reliance on the parenthetical (not happening), quicker quick hits (ditto) and more of the hard hitting analysis you've come to expect from me, which is to say none. Oh, and of course, an actual Bridgeport sponsorhip. I have no real plan of attack other than mentioning it a lot, but I can say that I am responsible for the purchase of at least one six pack so things are really taking off.
Until next year, Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld land syne. Whatever the hell that means.
Happy New Year. Go Cougs.
Huddy, please tell me all those awesome titles you gave yourself for these parts has to do with those texts we exchanged yesterday. Now go add them to your Twittter Profile, stat!!
I was going to do a post on this, but since we have other things going on right now, here is my prediction for Pac-12 Hoops:
3. Oregon State
9. Washington State
11. Arizona State
Clearly, the next four games are huge for this team; and a 4-0 start or even 3-1 would give us all lots of reasons for optimism.
But short of that, it is hard to imagine that this team is going to do something better than it has in past couple of years (e.g. lower division), unless Motum and Charlie show that they have become legit post players in the last month....
I am not ready to bank on that...
The post wins simply by virtue of the Mix-A-Lot reference at the beginning. Very, well done.
Personally, I love the five win prediction by SI, as it shows just how much people have paid no attention to us whatsoever over the past couple of years. The reason: Absolutely NO ONE knows about Mr. Jeff Tuel.
The only reason to be excited about the upcoming stretch is if you're an Oregon State fan. Otherwise...(insert snoring sounds.....)
PS. Count me in as a dude that will be rooting for your Bungels, especially if they bring back the Icky Woods Shuffle...
Great work as always Huddy! I don't know what to think on the P-12 hoops scene, but then again I really don't care so, there you go. I was taken aback a bit by the 5-win selection of SI, but that's probably the view from 20,000 feet by people who haven't really looked at 1) who is coming back next year and 2) how close the team actually was from getting 5-6 wins in '11 (Utah, UCLA). The conventional thinking is that Leach and his schemes will take an experienced team with solid QB and WR depth to another level, but then again it's a "transition" year. It will be fun and exciting, but do we really know that wins are to follow? Maybe 5 wins is the so-called "safe" pick, a slight increase over '11 but a still-not-there choice. I think 6-7 wins are realistic, but that is assuming everyone is happy with the changes and they pick it up and run with it. I WANT to believe, but it might be tougher than we realize! The fun part will be watching it all unfold this spring and next fall.
@LucasNurmi You are correct, sir.
@Sutra Oregon State has played no one. They will finish in the middle of the PAC.
Washington has played a lot of quality competition back east and faired OK, even though they eventually lost. (I'm referring to Duke and Marquette). They will finish higher. Tony Wroten is an animal that few other teams in the Pac can claim. What they lack is size especially with the injury to N'Dyiae (I have no idea how to spell his name).
Stanford will finish higher in the standings than you show. I have no idea how most of the teams will do. However, I expect Arizona and Cal to be the only teams in the Big Dance from the Pac.
We can and might be in the top half of the conference.
I hope Moos plays the hard-charging "We don't take losing" type of CEO/AD again to get rid of Bone. But, he needs to have his guy before canning Bone. Does anyone know if any famous out-of-work b-ball coaches have been hanging around campus conducting camps or giving seminars?
If we finish 9th, when are we supposed to start seriously questioning CKB as being the right guy for Wazzu.
Obviously I am still bothered that this team finished so poorly last yr in a bad Pac-10 and when we had a 1st rd draft pick and one of top 5 best big man in the league.
Thes next 4 games are going to tell us a lot, but I am wondering if CPW got 4 years to rebuild a program from scratch, how many years does CKB get when he got a team with Thompson and Casto on it.
@Sutra That's a pretty bleak outfit, but I don't know that I can effectively counter it. I disagree with being behind Oregon and Colorado, but as I've effectively established, I have nothing to back that up.
@Sutra If they get into the playoffs after being thought of in the preseason as one of the absolute worst teams in the league, and to face the Texans in round one no less, I'll be doing the Ickey Shuffle in my living room.
By the way, finishing #6 or #7 in a PAC that sends two teams to the NCAA tourney, means that you are at least four positions from being good. And that isn't good enough to keep your job.
I think finishing one or two places out of the NCAA tourney with this team, while doing well in the PAC-12 tourney is enough for Bone to keep his job for another year of player development. But his newbies better pick up the pace in a hurry or he's gone with another sub-Big Dance performance.
Of course, if you can bring in the big name, excellent coach, can Bone now. (I don't know who this big name fellow would be though...)
I re-read my posts and re-examine my positions. Bone sucks at teaching fundamental skills required to win basketball games. He can't get his kids to rebound, fundamentally or otherwise. His teams are turnover producers not turnover creators. He can't motivate nor does he apparently drill defense, ball-control (meaning taking care of the ball each possession), or rebounding. He relies on superior athletes to win. He didn't win enough when he had them, and it appears he can't recruit really really good ones (so far anyway).