Archive for November, 2006

If it wasn’t over before….

November 28, 2006

This puts the nail in the coffin:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/college_football/20061127-1413-bn27pointsett.html

N. Illinois gets the bid. The true hope for the Cougs was to see a 7-win Pac-10 team fall here, but, this guarantees that 7-win ASU and 7-win Oregon are taking the Pac-10 slots. We are done. Good-bye 2006, time to work on wrapping up the season and look ahead to 2007.

ON a nice note, the All-Pac-10 teams have been announced, and Mkristo Bruce and Eric Frampton are First-TEAM! Cool. And, take a look at the 2nd team QB. Brinkhater, the floor is ALL yours…..

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FUN With Bowl Breakdowns!

November 27, 2006

Ok, not really. But I thought I’d do some nosing around and see who’s eligible, and how long the odds actually are IF the Pac-10 doesn’t go the extra mile and Tom Hansen puts his tail between his legs (again).

The following is a breakdown of 6 and, in some cases, 7 win teams. Things start to crystalize pretty quick as you go through the list.

6-6 teams:
ACC:
FSU (6-6)
Miami (6-6)

Analysis: 8 bowl-eligible teams, 8 bowl tie-ins = nobody gets left out. UNLESS Miami or FSU turn down a bowl bid to the MPC Computers bowl. Hey, when you consider a sexy Florida school in Boise on New Year’s Eve?!? Wouldn’t you rather stay home and party on south beach? So would I! Can’t even fathom how uninterested FSU or Miami fans would be to take in that game, let alone even watch it on TV after a 6-6 season, which is normally an unmitigated DISASTER for them. I’ll say that there is a “sliver” of hope that WSU could sneak in here, but it’s a pretty big long-shot now that the ACC has 8 bowl-eligible teams.

BIG 12:
Kansas (6-6)
Oklahoma State (6-6)
Analysis: Like ACC, 8 bowl tie-ins, but 9 bowl-eligible teams. OSU is rumored for the Independence Bowl, in fact it’s virtually guaranteed, so it’s Kansas headed to the wildcard group, which I’ll list below all this.

Big East:
Pitt
Analysis: Big East only gets 5 bowl tie-ins, as Navy as an independent got the Meinke Car Care Bowl. Pitt is in the wild-card grouping.

Big Ten:
Iowa
Minnesota
Analysis: All 7 bowl-eligible teams in the Big Ten are spoken for, including Iowa and Minnesota.
Independents:
None
Analysis: Navy and Notre Dame are both already in bowls, Navy in the Meinke Car Care Bowl, ND headed for the obligatory BCS game.

Mid-American:
Kent State
N. Illinois (7 wins, but listed here)
Analysis: This is where it hurts the Pac-10, and particularly WSU, the most. This conference has 5 teams that are bowl-eligible, including 7-win N. Illinois, but only 3 bowl tie-ins. That puts both N.Illinois and Kent State in the wild-card groupings.

Mountain West:
New Mexico
Wyoming
Analysis: Mountain West has 5 bowl-eligible teams, but just 4 bowl tie-ins. New Mexico goes to the New Mexico bowl, accepting the bowl bid already, so Wyoming is in the wild-card grouping.

Pac-10:
Arizona
UCLA
WSU
Analysis: As we’ve been over several times, the pac-10 has 8 bowl-eligible teams, but just 6 bowl tie-ins. All indications are that UCLA has a back-door deal with Hawaii already done, yet nothing is final. There are various scenarios that we’ve touched on, but if all things are equal and the Pac-10 takes the easy way out, LIKELY we’ll see UCLA claim spot #6, leaving Arizona and WSU in the wildcard group.

SEC:
Alabama
Analysis: SEC has 8 bowl tie-ins, but 9 bowl-eligible teams with Alabama as the only 6-win team in the conference. They are in the wild-card group.

Sun Belt:
Arkansas State
Louisiana-Lafayette
Troy
Analysis: Just 1 bowl tie-in here, which goes to Middle Tennessee. The other 6-win teams go into the wild-card groupings, and quite frankly, must be placed at the bottom of any/all lists for bowls.
WAC:
San Jose State
Analysis: San Jose State actually has 7 wins, but with the WAC only having 6 bowl tie-ins, they are on the list here as a wild-card team.

WILD CARDS:
Kansas – 6-6
Pitt – 6-6
N. Illinois – 7-5
Kent State – 6-6
Wyoming – 6-6
Arizona – 6-6
WSU – 6-6
Alabama – 6-6
Arkansas State – 6-6
Louisiana-Lafayette – 6-6
Troy – 6-6
San Jose State – 7-5

Now, remove N. Illinois and San Jose State, as they are guaranteed to get a bowl game based on having 7 wins (totally BOGUS!). Now you are left with the following:
Kent State – 6-6
Wyoming – 6-6
Arizona – 6-6
WSU – 6-6
Alabama – 6-6
Arkansas State – 6-6
Louisiana-Lafayette – 6-6
Troy – 6-6
Kansas – 6-6
Pitt – 6-6

That’s 10 teams with 6 wins. But, guess what? There is ONLY 1 SPOT available, after you place N. Illinois and San Jose State! That’s right, with those 7-win teams placed, that’s 63 teams in bowl games, and only 1 spot available.

With that pool of 10 teams, using the process of elimination, we can remove Kent State, Wyoming, Ark St, La-Lafayette, and Troy, as they lose out in any/all comparisons to the higher-level BCS conferences. Then, I believe you can remove Pitt, as people walk around and bitch about WSU losing their last 3, but it was even worse for Pitt, losers of their last 5. And, I think you can probably remove Kansas, as even though they won 3 of their last 4, they still have some cupcake city wins (Northwestern State? Louisiana-Monroe? South Florida? Toledo?). They have ZERO wins to hang their hat on in 2006, so I can’t imagine they’d have any reason to be ahead of AZ, WSU or Alabama. So they are out.

That leaves us with Arizona, WSU and Alabama.

Yes, Alabama is an SEC school, but they lost 3 of their last 4 games, with their only win coming against Florida International. Their best win turns out to be their best win of the season, vs. Hawaii to open 2006, but otherwise, they didn’t beat another bowl team. Plus, depending on what you read, Mike Shula is probably on his way out, and a 6-6 record down there is reason to fly the flags at half-mast. So, in my mind? See ya later Bama.

Finally, it’s between Arizona and WSU. And, in the end, if I had to make that pick? I’d have to pick Arizona, and for some very good reasons:
1) Arizona was the hottest team in the Pac-10 down the stretch, outside of USC, winning 3 of their last 4, including wins at WSU when we were ranked, at Oregon when Oregon was ranked, and over a highly-ranked Cal team.
2) WSU cannot match that, as our signature wins are over Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA, but that’s it. And, WSU lost their last 3 games to finish at 6-6.
3) Finally, of course, head-to-head. Arizona went into Pullman and won a huge game for them, totally turning around their season and building their confidence while really dousing WSU in some cold, wet reality.

So there we have it. Worst-case scenario, we’re going to be in the final mix of bowl teams on the table, but we WILL lose out. Our only saving grace at this point? Hope like hell that Tom Hansen grows a pair all of a sudden and demands his 6-win teams are placed by the bowl tie-ins, and let ASU (which is now “Dirk-less” after firing Koetter tonight) and Oregon get their at-large bids, knocking the unworthy N. Illinois and even San Jose State out of the picture!

2007 Preview–Say Hello to 5-7

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Cougar Nation!

Well, in the midst of speculation that our bowl hopes may not be completely dead, Brinkhater thought he’d throw some fuel on that fire and state how DIRELY important it is that we play anyone, anywhere in a bowl THIS season.

Why is that so important?

Because next year’s schedule and fortunes look BRUTAL. In short, this team, as much as ANY TEAM in the last 20 years of Cougar football desperately needs those additional practices and reps. We need it in the worst way!

So, keeping in mind that Brinkhater nailed the 6-6 season before the season began, here is my look at 2007:

2007 – WSU Football
September 1
@ Wisconsin LOSS
September 8
SAN DIEGO STATE/Seattle WIN
September 15
IDAHO WIN
September 22
@ USC LOSS
September 29
@ Arizona LOSS
October 6
ARIZONA STATE (HC) LOSS
October 13
@ Oregon LOSS
October 20
OREGON STATE WIN
October 27
UCLA (FD) WIN
November 3
@ California LOSS
November 10
STANFORD (DD, AFD) WIN
November 17
@ Washington LOSS

In my math, that is 5-7. Keep in mind, that we have been 1-8 at home in conference over the past couple of years, so my prediction that we will do well at home may well be a real push.

But, I think we’ll beat a still-bad Stanford, we’ll gut one out against the Beavs, and UCLA is the team that we just seem to have a number on. There’s our 3 conference wins.

Beyond that, its trouble.

The good news is that the season is so brutal that I honestly don’t think that experience will matter much at QB in terms of our fortunes, I really don’t. In no uncertain terms, now is the time to make a change at QB.

But, at the least, lets give Alex A LOT more work with the receivers that we’ll have coming back.

We NEED that bowl game!

Not much else to add

November 19, 2006

A picture from a much happier time……before kickoff yesterday!

As the headline states, not too much to add here. Just a thoroughly disappointing end to a season that once held so much promise. Sure, there is a mathematical possibility that WSU could still end up in a bowl game, but, it’s hard to imagine we’re high on any list right about now, coming off a 3-game collapse and looking not very good in the process.

Maybe in the big-picture kind of way, I really wonder if we’re staring straight into the abyss, and there’s now no way to stop it. I wonder, if as I heard about 1000 times walking out of the stadium yesterday, that if Doba is really our “Keith Gilbertson” as a head coach. You know, a really good assistant in his own right, but as a head coach, he just doesn’t cut it. After the 2003 season, culminating in the Holiday Bowl win over Texas, Doba could have run for King of Pullman and won in a landslide. But they’ve followed that up with 5-6, 4-7 and now 6-6 seasons. Is 3 straight non-bowl wins acceptable after 3 straight top-10 finishes in the AP poll!?!? Apparently it is, and, for the very reason that drives basically everything in the country.

Money. That’s why. Pure and simple. Money. We are the POOREST school in the conference, 10 out of 10 in every possible way you analyze it. We have Doba locked up until 2010, and he’s the lowest-paid head coach in the conference. We can barely afford to keep the staff together as it is, and the last thing the university is going to do is fire a guy like Doba and pay him off while they also bring someone else in and start over. It’s just not going to happen. You know why? Because we as fans are not doing enough about it. Like the Dan Weaver article criticized people a few weeks ago, in that as a group, WSU fans give the LEAST, and yet expect the MOST out of the program. Period.

No, I’m not going to start a “Fire the Coach!” campaign, or register firebilldoba.com or anything insane like that. But I seriously doubt now that he’s got the head-coaching chops to avoid the basement next year.

Everyone (including myself) needs to look in the mirror and ask what we can do to step up and help the program before it slides into the abyss, because as Brinkhater says, this is setting up to be a brutally tough next couple of seasons if things remain as-is. And given the “state” of “State”, don’t expect anything to change.

Congratulations Washington

November 19, 2006

No other way to put it.

There was one team on the field last night that looked like they had something to play for. And it wasn’t us.

And that shocked the holy hell out of Brinkhater.

When you think about how BIG this game was for our program, and how much bigger it was for us than for them, well….I’m still nearly speechless.

But, Tye got his boys to play and they played, so Kudos to the Tyee club for that. And what happened to us?

You can check out Sedihawk’s take at AOL. Its a good one, although I’m not going to agree with it entirely (although he was there, so you decide). Here are Brinkhater’s takes:

1) What happened to the D?

Granted, the 3-4 and its effectiveness waned down the stretch. But since 2003–when we were loaded with NFL talent–this defense, though plagued by injuries the past couple of years–has just not been effective. The biggest issue has been our blitz schemes. As Doba noted last year, other teams had figured us out. Well, they figured us out again this year down the stretch. When you read the quotes in the paper, you’re gonna wonder what’s going on with preparation (third week in a row, the players talk about being unprepared or surprised).

Say what you want, but this team was better defensively than what it showed. The coaches HAVE to be accountable for that. It may be time for someone’s head to role on the staff. Its NOT getting done.

2) What happened to our Punter?

Don’t know about you all, but why our punter decided to have Saturday be his worst game BY FAR is just beyond me. He took the Biggest strides in the history of ever with the biggest shank jobs in the history of ever. Again, I don’t understand it, but its fair to say that our special teams play has been THE WORST ever for us in the Doba era. There also needs to be accountability there.

3) Burn Martin Stadium Down to the Ground

There was a post on Glenn’s blog earlier in the year lambasting Kasses for picking against the Cougs before the Oregon game because Glenn didn’t recognize our ‘home field advantage.’ Well, in the last two years, we are a whopping 1-8 at home in conference play. That, dear Cougar nation, speaks volumes about the state of our program. Pathetic.

4) End the Brink Regime.

Sedihawk is pretty adament that there was no one open yesterday. Fair enough. Although my argument is beyond tired at this point, I am also flipping sick and tired of dismissing our program’s woes on everything BUT our quarterback. The bottom line is this:

a) His mechanics don’t allow him easily to “dump over” the line to hit the middle or semi-middle slant (he was good straight over the middle this year, but never found the slant pass–which is where he got picked off all of last year. This year he didn’t throw it at all–he threw a possession curl. The slant used to be a huge part of our playbook!)

b) When he rolls out, his arm strength limits him to out patterns to receivers that are rolling with him (he can’t throw cross field–another limiting factor).

c) While he clearly has toughness, his legs don’t provide us with an extra dimension to our offense.

d) His bubble screens take FOREVER to get there–which means that seldom, if ever, does the short pass yield yards after the catch–another staple of previous offenses. Yesterday, you saw younger guys drop a few of those because of hearing “footsteps.” The ball just takes too long to get there…

e). Building on “e”, his arm strength yields far too many timing routes–which get taken away real quick when defenses pinch up.

f) Too often he plays “great” on one hand, but then misses CRUCIAL gimme passes which cost us CRUCIAL first downs. (and games!). This type of error is something you take as a growing pain with a young QB, but not one that has played for three seasons…

The list can go on and on and on.

Bottom line of bottom line:

1) We go 9-3 this year if Bumpus and Hill Don’t Get Hurt

2) We are going to have a losing season next year.

3) We are going to have a losing season the year after that if our QB is in his first year.

Its that simple.

It was a bad season, with bad breaks. But you had your chance Mr. Alex and couldn’t get it done. Time for you to hold the clipboard now.

And its Time for You Mr. Doba to make some serious changes. We talked about it last year, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR TEAM. The inmates (your assistants) don’t run the assylum. You do. So, run it. (I would make no changes to the offensive coaching staff, by the way).

Clearly, the status quo just ain’t working.

What a long offseason it will be!

Last Regular Season Coug Game

November 17, 2006

I don’t think I’m in that picture Hawk because I was too busy hugging Jerome Harrison elsewhere. And speaking of hugging Jerome, that was where I discovered Jerome could have truley ran for and been voted in as the mayor of Pullman. What a great guy. He didn’t even mind me cupping his ass during the hug.

Here’s a series of thoughts I had this week. Remember when the Cougs used to lose games by “Couging it”? One thing I think we’ve enjoyed in the Doba era is that “Couging” games has become a thing of the past. The Cougs hold onto leads and if they lose games they usually are losing them right from the start. However, is there a new trend of “Couging” a season rather than games? If the Cougs lose tomorrow my friends, they “Couged” it. They blew what could have been a 9-3 season and finish 6-6 with probably not much likelihood of a bowl game. It is amazing how much better 7-5 sounds than 6-6 right now.

They good news is they can and will do it. They will do it for the same reason they did it last year… pure pride and finishing on a positive note. The extra motiviation they have this year is a bowl game. I really don’t see how our defense can’t make Bonnell and/or DuRocher wet down their leg. I also think that the offense has had enough time together now without Hill and Bumpus to be able to click better. Maybe they have a kicking game now too huh?

Cougs 28 UW 17
Ducks 28 UA 24
USC 32 Cal 27 USC will find a way to win, even though they aren’t the team they used to be.
Beavs 35 Stanford 10
Sundildos 30 UCLA 23

Come on guys… THE Ohio State is your national champion. The only team they’ve haven’t given a total ass-whoopin’ to this year is Illinois. It won’t be big but it will be authoritive.

Buc’s 27 Wolverines 17

Football Friday, Week 12

November 17, 2006

Well, Coug Nation, the end is now near. And while its easy to be lulled asleep by the last few weeks, it is important to note that Brinkhater is now sitting at 10-1 in the season prediction department for the Cougs. With a win this week, Brinkhater plays for the National Championship.

So, what’s it gonna be, you ask?

Cougs, cougs, cougs, cougs, cougs in this one.

Sedihawk brings up a good point below–namely, that the Cougs NEVER play well in this game when they are favored. NEVER.

But, as bad as Husky teams have been over the past couple of years, they have NEVER been as bad as the team that is headed east on the bus right now. Simply put, this Husky team is absolutely AWFUL. (and let this be known Coug fans, IF we were to lose this game-and we won’t–heads should roll. This would be the biggest collapse in the history of the program!)

That said, this WSU team is not much better due to injuries on offense, although per Sedihawk’s comments, I think you will find a MUCH different performance from the defense this week with the return of our DTs.

I also think that despite recent woes, that the coaching staff will implement the two TE set this week and use it early. In other words, Brinkhater predicts that the Cougs WILL run the ball this weekend–to the tune of 155 yards on the ground.

Mind you, this game is NOT going to be pretty–unless you are into “pretty” frustrating performances.

But, as we’ve learned with this team, as the running game goes, so does the defense. As the running game goes, so does Alex Brink. And since we will find a way to run, all will be good.

Cougs win this one handily 24-10 despite some UGLY three and outs from both sides…

Elsewhere:

Ariz 21 Ore 17: Oregon can’t stop the run. Arizona has learned how to play power ball–they also can cover well enough to keep Dixon in the pocket. When that happens, Oregon can’t score.

Cal 31 USC 21 Simply put, SC is NOT an 11-1 team. CAL’s ability to run and play D will be the difference here. First RB in 40+ years for Da Bears.

OSU 51 Stanford 3: Mad Beavers meet a Stanford team that now has NOTHING to play for. This one will be brutal.

UCLA 28 ASU 27: Wacky Crap-10 just gets whackier.

Mich 31 OSU 24 (OT): Greatest football game ever before the game becomes greatest football game ever played after the game. With the spirit of BO working like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mojo is all towards Michigan. I agree with Sedihawk, Michigan is MUCH better than people have given them credit for. This one IS the classic!

Football Friday – lightning round

November 17, 2006

Lightning-fast Football Friday.

Yes, I’m in this picture. As is Rooster, I believe, although it’s kind of hard to get a clean look at him. This is after the 2004 Apple Cup.

Anyway, first, our game – I had a ridiculiously long over-analysis on this game at AOL, and literally as I was typing the last line, I got a fatal error on my internet explorer window, causing a lockup. Sucks, I know. But I lost EVERYTHING. But, maybe that’s a good thing. It forced me to look at things much more on a simple level, and sometimes that’s the best approach.

To me, it’s all about the defenses. Whoever plays better defensively, with more emotion, creates turnovers, etc, will win. It’s going to be a bare-knuckle brawl and will fully lack anything resembling flash-n-dash. That said, I have to go with the Crimson army, returning the top 3 DT’s. The trickle-down from that development alone cannot be overstated. It means more 4-3 defenses, more blockers occupied at the line of scrimmage, very little double-teams of Mkristo, the LB’s are free to fly around and make plays, with the better pass rush off the edges that means life is better for the secondary in pass coverage, on and on and on.

Even though WSU never, never, EVER plays well in this game as a favorite, I’m picking the Cougs to pull it out, 22-19.

Other games:
USC 30, Cal 27 – Boys from Troy lock up the Pac-10. Longshore not what we thought??
ASU 34, UCLA 20 – The Devils are off the mat and playing with confidence again.
OSU 35, Stanford 9 – Beavs strike back after lackluster UCLA loss.
Oregon 27, Arizona 16 – It might be even closer than the score. Arizona has a really good defense, we know that, but their offense has improved to where they can put a scare into anyone.

FINALLY, the biggest game in the history of ever!?!? I’m calling the upset here. I can’t believe Ohio State is a 7-pt fav. I know it’s in Columbus and all that, but still, Michigan is really good. I’m also not totally sold on Ohio State’s defense, and as we know in rivalry games in November, defense usually makes the difference. Michigan 28, Ohio St 27.

LOOKING FOR A THREE-PEAT

November 12, 2006

Well, Cougar faithful, we now stand at the season’s Brink. One game to decide whether this program has a shot at resurrection or whether we are doomed to have our best year in “the cycle” be the pinnacle of mediocrity.

You see, with the exception of 2001-2003, this program has lived and died on the bigtime quarterback. The goal: eat it for two years while the shining-stud-to-be takes his lumps in the system so we can eat people alive when he FINALLY gets it.

Obviously, this system has been effective: Rosey went 9-3 after SUCKING for a year and a half before. Bledsoe when 9-3 after SUCKING a year and a half before. Leaf went 10-2 after struggling through a year and a start. And Gesser went 20-5 after an injury-riddled and uneven fresh and sophomore campaigns.

We now know that the “formula” that worked for the past 18 years didn’t work with Alex Brink. 27 starts into his tenure, the Cougs now sit at 12-15. At this point, it does no good to say “I told you,” but I do feel more than justified to call a spade a spade. So, let me say it as it is:

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS TO KNOW THAT ALEX BRINK WILL NOT PLAY A DOWN OF COUGAR FOOTBALL IN 2007.

That all said, let me make this point clear:

ALEX BRINK SAVES HIS LEGACY–and perhaps the program–BY BECOMING THE ONLY QB TO BEAT UW 3 STRAIGHT YEARS.

Its just that simple.

The Dawgs are a BAD football team right now. And we are just on the outside of “terrible” right now.

Both Defenses are awful. Both Offenses are nothing short of offensive.

But, with the game in Pullman, the game really comes down to one question:

Who do you want at Quarterback, Alex Brink or Carl Bonnel/Johnny D?

Obviously, any sane person would take Alex over those two jokes. And so, any one in their right mind would HAVE to install the Cougars as prohibitive favorites in this game.

So, its on your shoulders, Alex. Win this one and we will have a leg to stand on for this season and beyond.

Lose this one, and you will solidify yourself as the Biggest Bust that this program has witnessed over the last 30 years.

Friday Picks, Week 12-1

November 10, 2006

Well last Friday I filled out my picks, hit the “Publish Post” button and headed out towards Pullman for what turned out to be the worst weekend I’ve had in a long time. I’m kind of glad my post didn’t post because I said some rediculous crap. Things like “Arizona is going to be on the business end of an ass-whoopin'” or “Arizona won’t be able to pass and will kill themselves with turnovers thanks to Mother Nature” or “Expect a shellacking”. Stuff like that. Bad things always happen to me when I try to talk trash. Lesson learned…. again.

The weekend started out okay. I got to Reardan in time to watch the last half of their game on Friday night. By the way in Reardan they call it Friday Night Light (no plural) and the smells of the neighboring dairy scream B-11. They improved themselves to a 9-0 record by beating the Springdale Chargers 26-6. The mighty Indians have now outscored their opponents by a combined 349-53. And for comic relief Springdale showed up to the game with 12 players. It is very weird to look across the field and see 1 guys standing on the sideline. Hopefully the Axtell boys read this thing.

On to Saturday that started out okay as well with a couple beers and a pre-game sideline pass provided by my man Todd Thrasher. I went and found my seat as soon as Arizona scored on their 3rd play of the game. I then sat in the cold rainy weather and watched possibly the poorest Cougar performance in a long time. Like I said after last years Oregon State game, it is amazing how much this team relies on Jason Hill. Whether he is catching passes or not.

As I was about to leave my mom’s house on Sunday morning, we got a call that my dad had a heart attack and was being flown to Sacred Heart. This was followed up by a quadruple bypass on Monday. Sweet… a 3-day weekend. He’s in good shape now, but he’ll be splitting time at my brother and I’s houses during the next month or so of recovery. Apparently Saturdays game didn’t have anything to do with his heart attack. I asked.

I picked 4 out of the 5 games last week if you guys are willing to believe me. I don’t think I’m in the running anymore though anyway.

Anyhoo, here are my picks for the week:
Sundildos 23 Cougs 17 (I’m going to try reverse psychology here)
UW 24 Stanford 10
USC 32 Oregon 21
Cal 32 Lucky Bastards 13
Beavs 24 Brew-ins 20