After watching last night’s Oregon and Oregon State game, I have come to the conclusion that this league is completely bipolar.So far no team is superior than any other, and the only “doormat” in the league is currently the Huskies.But the Dawgs won’t be the cellar dwellar all year, seeing that Pac 10 basketball is like this girl from college who was known rather fondly as the Lurker at my fraternity house.
Since when was Gene Hackman hired as WSU's hoops coach? Unfortunately we weren't playing against Terhune or Cedar Knob on Sunday. Nope, it was ASU delivering the 71-46 thrashing. Seriously, discipline is important, but Sunday's rotation punished ALL the players by guaranteeing a bad loss against a team we'll be battling in the conference standings.
Player Minutes Played Charlie Enquist 4 (Started!!!) Micheal Harthun 9 Stephen Bjornstad 7 John Allen (walk on) 4 Brock Motum 4
That's 28 minutes of floor time for players that have not been part of our rotation, or played AT ALL in recent weeks. Sure, everyone is calling it a teaching moment, but how many wins are we going to get in return for this loss? If the answer is less then 2, it wasn't worth it. I guess it remains to be seen how the team responds to this and with Cal coming to town, its not a terrible time for a wake-up call, but I am not one who believes in being deliberately uncompetitive in a conference game unless its absolutely necessary. Not sure it was this time.
Next time, please just run them till they puke in practice and save us the televised public humiliation of seeing what a good Pac-10 team, on fire, at home can do to our JV squad. Or, perhaps, after tonight, there won't be a "next time". Let's hope so.
Dear coach Bone,
Please don't do this, ever again. Thank you.
WSU Football Blog
Finally, we've turned in our final blog ballot of the year. Fairly anti-climactic, but it had to be done. Check it out after the read more.....
Boy, not much going on, is there Cougs? Amazing how different things can look in what, a day or somewhere in there? Of course, the world is still in SHOCK by the Steve Morton to WSU story....but in all seriousness, how 'bout that Jim Mora/Pete Caroll/Seahawks situation? And oh yeah, DeAngelo Casto beat the buzzer last night in Tucson, and if you saw the replay, this time they were extra-super-careful that nobody ran on the floor at the wrong time (you have to wonder how many people were going to write that in their post-game recap?). :) Meanwhile UW was blown out of the building by a winless-in-conference ASU team. What in the world is going on??!?!?
First, on the Mora thing. I don't know about you, but I guess it wasn't all that shocking. When he said in his press conference on Wednesday that they were still evaluating things and he hadn't yet been assured he was returning next year, you had to believe that the situation was far from decided. Now here we are.
Was it fair to punt Mora after one year? Well, it's hard to say. Mora inherited a thin, aging team in some very key positions, so it wasn't like he was coaching the NFC Champs from 2005. But Mora's overall record isn't exactly stellar. Sure, he had a great first year in Atlanta, winning 11 games and a playoff game, getting the Falcons to the NFC title game. But from there it went downhill, and he was fired by the end of his third season. Now we have his 5-11 '09 season in Seattle, and a career record under .500.
But it isn't so much the 5-11 record in Seattle, which is bad enough on it's own. But it was the way the team mailed in so many uninspiring performances that makes you really question what the hell was going on.
The 24-7 home loss to a 1-win Tampa Bay team with a rookie QB, where they were just horrible? The 48-10 lay-down job at Green Bay? How about the 35-9 wipe out in Minnesota, or the 34-7 embarrassment in Houston?
You have an NFL team losing by such wide margins, in a league where you rarely see point spreads set at more than a TD? You know something is really, really wrong! No matter what the coach said at the podium, it looks an awful lot like a guy who lost the locker-room. And the thing is, it's the NFL. It isn't like you need to give a coach a full recruiting cycle to see what you've really got, like you pretty much need to do at the NCAA level. While one-and-done isn't common, it certainly isn't unheard of in the NFL. The Dolphins were the latest to do it, ditching Cam Cameron after a disastrous 1-15 season in '07.
And if you've been following the story, you likely know that Pete Carroll is a member of the one-and-done club, going 6-10 in his first and only season as head coach of the Jets. Carroll would rebound fairly well in New England, leading them to the playoffs and even winning a playoff game a few years later. So it's not as if Carroll is some sort of miserable failure in the NFL. And with all the off-the-field BS going on in the land of Troy, maybe it's the perfect time for him to take one last kick at the NFL can? Carroll has always said that he fully believes if he had more personnel control at the NFL level that he would have had more success. With the 'Hawks set to give him the title of President and head coach, with full input on player decisions, we're about to find out.
I have to admit that initially I wasn't thrilled with this news. I thought about Dennis Erickson, you know, the guy who was a success in the college ranks but had failed twice as an NFL head coach? And then I thought about other recent NCAA-to-NFL guys, like Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban. All successful, championship coaches in the NCAA, yet their styles or personalities or schemes just didn't translate to the pro game.
But maybe there are some bigger differences between the Spurrier's and Saban's of the world, and Pete Carroll. First, Carroll has already been an NFL head man - twice. This after a long career as an NFL assistant. He knows what he's getting into, so, the culture shock of jumping up to the top level of the profession shouldn't be a big problem. Second, Carroll is going to get an extra level of control that guys like Spurrier and Saban did not have in their brief NFL careers. And third, while the perception is that Carroll was some sort of awful head coach, well, do the facts back this up? He was over .500 in the league, and his first season as the Jets head man was the only losing season he actually had as an NFL head coach. His three years in New England, he never was less than 8-8 (10-6, 9-7 and 8-8 in three seasons). Is that really so bad? As a Seahawks fan who just lived through 9-23 the last two years, I'd take 8-8 in a heartbeat!
Here's a cool story on Carroll, from 60 Minutes a while back. Check it out:
The fascinating part to all this is the musical chairs game that is about to go down. USC, at least if it's USC that isn't in deep trouble anyway, is a top-5 job in the country. You put it right there with Florida, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State. So you know that the names floated and the rumors and such are going to be really interesting. Already the first name mentioned by the ESPN-types is Mike Riley of the Beavs, so you wonder what the repercussions would be if he bolted.
First, it would be a little sad to see that happen. He's their version of Mike Price, really, the guy who brought them back to such a wonderful level of success after so many dismal years, heck, dismal DECADES is more accurate! Hard to believe now but Oregon State went 27 consecutive years with a losing record, but that all changed with the arrival of Riley. But there are other names out there as well, including NFL coaches Jeff Fisher and Jack Del Rio, both former USC players and both coaches who's time might be just about right to give the NCAA game a shot.
But on ESPN News this AM, Bruce Feldman floated another name...
Of course, we're talking Steve Sarkisian. Now obviously Sarkisian has a good thing going at UW right now. Strong recruiting class, a nice turnaround in '09, his QB coming back for his senior year, etc. But even if he says all the right things, which he is right now and pretty much has to no matter what, still, you had to know his name would be added to the list by at least someone? But I would bet he stays put, simply because of what's possible at UW. He has huge alumni support from top to bottom, and everyone is on the same page as to the direction of the program. And with USC clearly reeling with the idea of losing Pete Carroll as well as the uncertainly over possible sanctions, the stars might be aligned for someone in the Pac-10 to make a big climb up the ladder. I'm sure UW fans believe Sark will lead them back to the top.
We'll see how it all plays out. More names are going to be out there. I wonder where Jim Harbaugh fits in all this? Would he consider the move? What other names will make the rumor mill? All I know is that the domino effect of Petey Carroll bolting LA is going to be fascinating to watch! Stay tuned.
Moving on, you may notice the author name to this article you are about to read and wonder. Well, we've got some news of our own. Lucas Coug has agreed to join our little blog, and will be a regular contributor from now on! You may remember Lucas from his numerous comments that he has left on the site since becoming a regular reader a few years ago, but he also did a guest post for us after the WSU - Notre Dame game in San Antonio, which you can find here. Lucas is a passionate Coug fan who knows his stuff, and we believe he is the perfect addition to the site. Welcome Lucas, and we look forward to the coming year together!
With that, here's the first regular article from Lucas Coug. Enjoy, and GO COUGS!
After losing reception to my car’s AM radio somewhere between Portland and Hood River last week, I would frantically change between three or four different stations desperately seeking the Cougs / Ducks basketball game. My girlfriend was baffled when I pulled out my wallet and this post-it note along I-84 to try and figure out which station to had the best, crappy reception; hello double negative.
For those who don’t know me personally (97.63% of blog readers), this is my life this is my passion. I was willing to risk our lives in search of Bud Nameck’s voice, while driving over the speed limit, in the pouring snow, with next to zero visibility. It was entertaining to say the least, until the Cougs blew a 5 point overtime lead!
Eventually I turned the radio off and just got updates on ESPN from my Blackberry. When the final score read 91-89, I was bummed but not livid. Seeing that for some reason ESPN cannot update anything other than the score when a game is played in Pullman (ie, fouls called and free throws shot), I had no idea the hoopla that had ensued until I opened up Cougfan.com the following day. We all know Pac 10 officiating is awful at football and basketball, so here is my proposal (not that I expect anything to happen) to help these clowns save face! Read on for more.....
In case you've forgotten, Rankin caused a stir when he signed with WSU last year as a four-star JC defensive end who has the look of a serious pass-rusher in a major area of need for the Cougs. Big and strong (6-5, 285), plus amazingly productive with 24 sacks and All-American honors to boot, he looked like an absolutely perfect fit for '09. Well, it didn't work out academically, and Rankin didn't make it. But that looks to all be in the past now. Finally, he's made it, and will be in Pullman on Saturday.
You see his highlights, and it's easy to understand the excitement....
Hmmm, yeah, welcome to Pullman!
Moving on, anyone see the Seattle U - Oregon State final score last night??
Seattle U 99, Oregon State 48.....WHAT!? Seattle U, led by Cameron Dollar, went down to Corvallis and won by 51 flippin' points?! The same Oregon State that lost by just 6 points at UW, and by just 5 at WSU? Unreal. Either the Beavs totally mailed this one in, or, uh, this Pac-10 conference is a lot worse than we thought.
Finally, a little stir was caused on KIRO AM yesterday in Seattle, when it was reported that Jake Locker was holding a press conference this Friday. The hosts on KIRO immediately began speculating that maybe, just maybe, young Locker was changing his mind on this whole stay-in-school craziness? That Mike Shanahan taking the Redskins job was a possible game-changer, and that Shanahan is completely enamored with young Jake?
First, let me say that I really like the Brock and Salk show on KIRO. It's a good listen, and outside of Ian Furness, it's the best alternative in the sports-radio realm outside of the constant stream of UW-ness that flows from the KJR airwaves. Anyway, about the speculation? Uh, never mind. It was always planned that Locker and Sarkisian would hold a one-hour lovefest over all things Jake Locker/UW after the holidays, and that's the end of that. One thing though - Jake Locker's dad said that he "hadn't even seen the NFL evaluation for Jake", and that he "forgot to give Jake the message from the NFL" and that they never even got word of what the evaluation actaully said. Really? I mean OK, you love being a QB at UW, you are thrilled with your decision to come back. We get it. But wouldn't you at least be curious as to what the NFL had to say? If it was your son, wouldn't you at least return the call from the NFL advisory committee? Especially if your son has aspirations to play at the next level? Weird. Oh well.
Now let that be the end of any Jake Locker will-he-or-won't-he-talk on this here blog!
Happy New Year, Coug fans! I hope so far you are all enjoying the Decade of Crimson Domination! That's right, our Cougs are undefeated this decade. And yes, we're helping the cause. That's our own Amieable above, helping DeAngelo Casto tune up for physical play he can expect from the Pac-10. And while a million victories over Oregon State could never make up for the jaw dropping incompetence that stole a victory from our Cougs in the twilight of the previous decade, I sure feel a LOT better than I would if we were 0-2 in the Pac-10 right now. A loss to the Beavs may have put the entire Cougar nation on suicide watch! So far, 2010 has delivered a cathartic Oregon loss in the Rose Bowl (Hell yes, I rooted for tOSU!), a Cougar victory in improbable fashion over the Beavs, and all the Applets and Cotlets yours truly can eat, since nobody else seems to like em, but me.
Now I've made an infrequent habit of bringing you all my "View from the Cheap Seats", but last week, while the seats were still cheap, the view was significantly upgraded due to the absence of the WSU student body. Papa Longball and I were able to sneak right up to the first few rows of the student section where we got a close up look at our Cougs as they opened Pac-10 play. With only a few dozen true Zzu Cru-ers in attendance I was dreading the notorious church-like atmosphere that too often greets our boys during holiday homestands. I was not encouraged by the old timers sitting directly behind me who, before tip-off, began to complain that there was "too much standing" and "my knees won't be able to take it" and "I can't see the game through the Great Wall of Crimson" (all real quotes). But as play started I was pleased to see the lower bowl fill in rather nicely, and although it wasn't the most vocal crowd, the highly contested nature of both games brought the farmers and townies to their feet. Add a few thousand students to the mix and we would have had a genuine home court advantage to be proud of (not to mention an all out riot at "the call". Just try making that call when the students are back. I dare you.). While I prefer to leave the fancier X's and O's stuff to smart people (aka, nerds) like Sutra, I do have a few observations from seeing this team up close and personal.....
So the 2010 schedule has been announced, and as reported, there really weren't many surprises. The non-conference slate has WSU traveling to Okie State to open the season, then back to Pullman on 9/11 for Montana State, and finally down to SMU. Check it out: 9/4 - @ Oklahoma State 9/11 - Montana State 9/18 - @ SMU 9/25 - Southern Cal 10/2 -@ UCLA 10/9 - Oregon 10/16 - Arizona 10/23 - @Stanford 10/30 - @ASU 11/6 - bye 11/13 - @ OSU 11/20 - California 11/27 - bye 12/4 - Washington
The good: Well, there's five Pac-10 home games, as well as a couple of byes. And four of the first seven games are home games. Maybe the best chance at an early-season surprise is getting a team in Pullman that is still trying to get their act together early in the year, meanwhile the Cougs are still relatively healthy? MAYBE??? And of course, the 12/4 frozen Apple Cup, which should be entertaining. BUNDLE UP!
The bad: The byes are nice, but, they still have to play NINE weeks in a row before the first week of rest arrives. A bye in early October would have been nice. Who knows what the season will look like when they finally make it to the 11/6 bye week. And oh yeah, while four of those first seven games are home games, they are against USC, Oregon and Arizona, possibly three of the best teams in the Pac-10 in '10! And the price of those early home games is a lot of road games late, with no home game between 10/16 to 11/20.
One question still unanswered is which game will be played in Seattle, if at all? Clearly the desire is there, per Howie Stalwick's latest. What's weird this year is that there is an option of playing either Montana State on 9/11, or Oregon on 10/9 at Qwest Field. Hmmm. Obviously the Oregon game would be the better draw, as one can pretty much bank on Oregon bringing 25,000 fans with them to Seattle in early October. Don't let the ticket allotments fool you, Oregon fans will find a way to get into the building. It might not have much of a home-field advantage, at all (not that the game has been a smashing success in that department lately). Montana State might be the preferred opponent, simply for the fact that the odds of actually winning a game are pretty good, and after losing the last two years in Seattle, they definitely want to show well for the west side per the article:
However, Sterk said a Sept. 11 game works better for related events tied in with the Seattle game and makes it easier to avoid holding a key event in Pullman (like Dad’s Weekend) during the Nov. 20 game with California. That comes at the start of the Thanksgiving week break from classes at WSU.
“We’ve built a monster (the annual Qwest games), with 24 events around it,” Sterk said. “Those folks, their preference is Montana State.”
I get the idea of Montana State. Plus, there is a new issue the athletic department is likely dealing with in terms of Oregon and playing in Seattle. Remember, they have been asking people to put up large sums of money for luxury seating in Pullman in order to get Phase III up and running. But the idea of doing that, then turning around and moving a premier NW rival like Oregon to Seattle might make some of the higher-level donors angry that they are losing a game of that magnitude to Seattle. Just something to consider in the bigger picture, but the idea of moving a conference heavyweight to Seattle could be a much larger issue than we might think!
Finally, still no official news on the offensive line coach search. However, we did hear some rumblings that the picture is clarifying, and we might be close to the hiring. Hopefully we get the announcement sooner rather than later.
One thing that stood out to me in spying most of the Rose Bowl yesterday was that, without a doubt, Ohio State was the more physical team. And it wasn't just that they hit harder, but man, they LOOKED bigger and stronger than Oregon. I would say that Ohio State's defensive front looked downright "SEC-ish" in their body types. Those are some big, strong Buckeyes up front, and they had their way with Oregon's offensive for about 3/4th's of that game yesterday. Even though Oregon has that speed at the skill positions, they were not able to deal with what they got from the mammoths from tOSU.
Anyway, since it's now the new year, why even look back at '09, or even the decade anymore for that matter? And after Thursday's screw job by the Pac-10 refs in our hoops game vs. Oregon, yeah, I'm DONE WITH 2009! Moveon.org or whatever it is, but buh-bye OUGHT-NINE! With that, let's look ahead at Pac-10 football circa 2010 at a way, way, way too early sneak-a-peek at what's to come.....
Hello Followers. Hope you all have had a great holiday week and are ready to REALLY bring in the New Year!!!
First off, before we get to basketball, how about those Arizona Mildcats??????
Don't know about you all, but after watching a bit of the 33-0 BLUDGEONING that the Cats took at the hands of the BIG CORN COB known as Nebraska, I really started to wonder about the strength of the conference.
When you consider that Oregon got REALLY good right after their non-conference slate (losing to Boise State and then nipping Purdon't and Utah at home), then maybe the signs were there that the conference, though wonderfully balanced, wasn't all that it was cracked up to be????
One thing is for sure, we'll find out a lot after the Rose Bowl on Friday.
Where do the Cougs turn? How about the picture above as a perfect replacement? Yes, Jim Michalczik can be a name in the mix if you want to go there. Michalczik was a linemate of Paul Wulff on that fine 1988 Aloha Bowl champion Cougar team. But he really carved out a name for himself as an excellent offensive line coach, mainly at Cal but now with the Oakland Raiders (note - speculation has been that the entire Raiders coaching staff will be fired after Sunday's games, but as of now, Michalczik is still a member of the Raiders staff). Plus, well....there's the whole UW thing, where he took a coaching gig with the Huskies for a very short time under Steve Sarkisian before bolting to Oakland. But I think we can look past that, can't we??
And, finally, money. If Michalczik is even interested, well, how much would they have to pay the guy to come home to Pullman? His deal with UW was for three years, $350,000 per year, which would be fairly expensive for WSU's tastes. He might be at too high a pay grade when it's all said and done.
Other names floated by both Grippi and Cougfan include Keith Gilbertson, Steve Morton, and even Jason McEndoo, former Coug o-linemen who was part of the "fat five" of the 1998 Rose Bowl glory and now coaches at Montana State. Grippi pours water on the Gilbertson idea, but does confirm that WSU has already talked to Morton.
Meanwhile, our own Longball weighed in yesterday with a darkhorse candidate on Idaho's current O-line coach, Dan Finn. You can check out Finn's bio here. Hard to argue with Idaho's results this year, averaging over 450 yards of total offense, good for 10th in the country. Finn looks like a badass too! :)
We'll see if any other names are thrown against the wall to see if they stick, but at least for now the rumors can cease - the offensive line coaching position is officially open! Hopefully they can fill it shortly after the new year.