Predicting the Conference: Brinkhatertology

“Hey Lennie, when we’re done with the Preview, do you think we can go pet some rabbits?”

Seasons Greetings to you, Cougar Nation and the rest of the Brinkhater Army! Hope you’re all having a great week.

Well, if this Preview Week for the WSU Football Blog is titled “Of Mice and Men,” then Sedihawk’s and Hooty’s two previews represent “The Men

(AND this one’s for you, Michele and Cougar Jen):

and I, Sir Alex Brinkhater (formely known as), represent the Mice.

So, for all you nibblers out there, this money-in-the-bank preview is for you!

Because my IQ is just above 86, I don’t have the capacity to look at things real complex-like as the other Blogfathers.

However, as the past couple of seasons doth hath shown, I HAVE been able to use my limited faculties to develop a system that has kept established pros like the Evil Vince Grippy and Benedict Condotta scared and on their toes.

My system?

Well, I like to call it “Brinkhatertology.”

However, for those of you Brinkhater-haters out there, you may refer to it simply as “stating the obvious.”

So, without further ado, here is the framework I’ve employed to see the Forrest from the Trees.

Brinkhater-tology Principle Numero Uno:“In order to win games, you have to score more points than the other team.”

(Its an amazing and profound fact when you really think about it!)

So, here is how I’ve squeezed all 12 of my braincells around the first (and ONLY) component of my methodology:

“In order to score more than the other team, you can do a couple of things:

1) Stop The Other Team From Scoring
2) Score A Lot Yourself
3) Stop the Other Team from scoring AND Score A LOT Yourself. “

(Are you feeling the genius yet, y’all???)

So, with the above all in mind, I have broken out my anal-y-sis into four neat little categories:

1) Teams that can score and stop
2) Teams that can stop, but not score
3) Teams that can score, but not stop
4) Teams that can neither score nor stop.

For this preview, each Crap-10 team is slated under a specific category and in rank order for that category.

You should also know that Brinkhater believes that defense ultimately wins more games over the course of a season, so I’ve tried to rank teams with better defenses ahead of ones that I believe are effectively “more worse.”

TEAMS that CAN score and Stop.

1) USC. Not much surprise here. I will say, however, that I’m not totally sold on this Sanchez kid. If he hadn’t gotten invaluable experience last year–most notably the Oregon game–I’d be pretty shaky on SC as an absolute shoe-in for the conference title.

While SC has shown itself to ALWAYS be the best 10-2 team of all time when they get to 2 losses, its REAL easy to overlook the fact that the ONLY first year SC QB to lead SC to a National Title was Matty L and even he lost a conference game that year. In the end, SC’s Defense will be too much for other teams to overcome.

2) ASU. Lots of experience at both the QB position and on defense. ASU is a bonafide contender for the conference this year, but don’t be surprised if they fall off if things don’t go well early. For me, ASU has HUGE potential to make the BCS, but they also carry enough of a bandit quality that they can accomplish a complete nose dive if the team falls off their own lofty expectations early in the season.

Teams that CAN stop but CAN’T Score

1) Oregon. I know that all you quackers out there are going to rail at the notion that your offense will be slowed this year. But in reponse, I want you all to remember that part of a Duck’s duty is to stick its butt up in the air for a little bit every now and then.

While the Defense may lead the Quack to a Top 2 finish this year, Oregon teams typically hit mediocrity in the face (over the course of a season) without established leadership on offense. And, as I’ve not-so-jokingly noted here before, the quit and fold factor is SO huge for all Belotti coached teams.

Granted, I think that Oregon has a real chance to contend, but a 7-5 type year is also a real possibility for this crew. Simply put, I’m not sure you can lose a Heisman winner (which Dixon would have been sans injury) and a first round RB and not drop off no matter how talented you think you are.

2) UCLA. New coach. Two elite coordinators–one of which is returning as the BEST D-Coordinator in the conference. The Bruins D is going to be stingy at times, while the offense will be absolutely atrocious. In fact, I peg them as the WORST offense in the conference.

IF UCLA finishes mid- or upper- division this year it will be because the Defense creates turnovers and the special teams are lights out. Don’t count on it.

Teams that CAN score but CAN’T Stop

1) Arizona. This team is the darkhorse of the conference. On paper, you have ALL of this returning talent on an offense that was Brink-like explosive: LOTS of YARDS, very few points. In fact, the Mildcats ranked #56 last year in scoring offense. So, while Brinkhater loves their ability to move the ball between the 20’s, real questions remain as to whether or not they will be able to score. IF they are able to solve their redzone woes, and IF their young defense improves during their cupcake non-conference, then this team will be REALLY good. IF not, Stoops will not have to worry about Stooping any lower.

2) WSU. This is where I differ from all the other pundits. As discussed last week, the general sentiment is that this offense will be as bad as our defense (maybe, the worst ever if injuries hit the line). I, on the other hand, think that the offense is going to be great. And when you factor in that there are going to be several teams that will have a REAL tough time scoring a lot of points–even against us–then you have a case for a middle-of-the-road finish.

I think our red-zone production is going to be solid in terms of generating TDs given Rogers’ arm strength and I think our improved kicking game will mean more points and improved field position. That said, if Rogers sputters as others (NOT ME) have predicted, then this team falls near the bottom of the following list–and real fast. Remember, our defense threatens to be historically bad.

Teams that CAN NOT do anything (really) well:

1) Oregon State. Call me Cwazy, but I don’t see anything bright about the Beavs this year (yes, Stroughter is good, but that ain’t enough to overcome poor QB play and ALL of your losses on defense). But, the Beavs DO have the most moxy of ANY team in the conference over the last two years. In my view, this is the obvious “down year” for the Beavs. If they don’t fall way off, then we will truly know that Riley has built the OSU program into who and what WE as Cougars want to become in the next five years.

2) Washington. Word to Cougar fans: NEXT year the Huskies will finish top 3 in the conference and, barring injury, Jake the Snake will finish in the Top 2 in the Heisman race. But this year, I just don’t see it. Locker will be lucky to walk out of Autzen following the season opener. While I think that this kid IS special now, I see no weapons beyond his line to help him out. And that, my friends, won’t translate into points. And ya, the D is improved, but could it be any worse? Not a lot of points, they’ll score less than 22 a game, and no winning seasons in an entire generation. HOLD YOUR NOSE, Montlake. You should’ve fired Ty when you had the chance.

3) Stanford. I love Captain Comeback. And I love Pritchard’s moxy. But this team will stink this year. Are they a winless bunch? Probably not, but a 1-8 or 2-7 finish sure looks to be “in the Cards.”

The “I DUNNO” Category:
1) CAL. What can you say? The oft-injured Nate Longshore has a TON of big game experience. Gregory has done a really nice job with the D, and Tedford is a really, really good coach. At the same time, despite having ALL the talent in the world the past couple of years, CAL has not been able to knock down the door.

That said, perhaps Longshore takes a final step forward this year a la Clemens did with the Quack a few years back? If so, the Bears may be really good! But, if they struggle to move the ball like the second half of last year, then a Week 2 loss to WSU is possible. And if that happens, bring out the life boats on the rest of the Bears’ season.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1) USC
2) Oregon (yep the D is that good)
3) Arizona State
4) Arizona (a good offseason helps to iron out rough spots in last year’s new offense)
5) CAL (Dunno what to do? Sit squarely on the fence!)
6) Washington State (It’ll be a nice set up for when we REALLY finish 10th–next year)
7) Oregon State
9) Washington (I see no scenario where Locker makes it past week 7)
10) Stanford

Give us your thoughts and enjoy the rest of your week!

17 Responses to “Predicting the Conference: Brinkhatertology”

  1. Conquest Chronicles Says:

    All in all pretty solid analysis.

    But WOW! Just WOW!

    Calling Walker the best “D” coordinator is a bit of a stretch and last years results back that up. Walker is good but not great, he has lived off of 13-9 but the kool-aid drinkers across town seemed to have forgotten that Utah scored 44 on them. Notre Dame outscored them (with the worst offense in ND history) to give them their first win. What about the three straight losses to WSU, AZ, and ASU in which Walker’s vaunted defense gave up 27,34,24 points respectively and that was with a lot more talent than he will have this year.

    Lastly if Walker is such a hot commodity why is it that the only other legitimate coaching offer he received this past off-season was to be the “D” coordinator at UW.

    The supposed offer from WSU to be their head coach never really seemed to materialize and a lot of ucla fans actually thought it was Walker trying to increase his value.

    Anyway, other than that you nailed it pretty good here, great write up! Keep up the great work!

  2. Sedihawk Says:

    What up Conquest? Thanks for the input. Love your blog.

    I will defend Brinkhater for a second. First off, our view of Walker is from 10,000 miles away, and there is word way out in these parts that says he’s pretty good. They have had a pretty good defense the last couple of years. #1 defense in the Pac-10 in 2006, dropping to 4th in 2007. I do agree with you on that Utah game though, WOW was that bad.

    However I don’t think it’s fair to blame Walker on the UCLA loss in Pullman last year. The Bruins were complaining in the media about making the trip to Pullman on the Tuesday before the trip, so, you could see that they were coming to town flat as can be. I was at that game, and I saw a team that wanted to be anywhere else on the planet INSTEAD of Pullman, WA. And that offense?? That was easily the worst UCLA offense I’ve seen, maybe ever, out of those guys. After the first possession they did nothing for the next 58 minutes.

    I won’t argue your knowledge of Walker, but if you stack him up against the rest of the conference, he’s pretty damn good. If you stack Walker up against the rest of the conference, it’s not too hard to say that he’s the best. Better than Donatell at UW, Sears and Ball at WSU. Craig Bray at ASU is pretty good. I would put Walker ahead of Aliotti at Ore and Banker at OSU, better than Gregory at Cal and Mark Stoops at AZ. Plus the guy has a strong rep as a recruiter. Add it all up and he’s one of the best.

  3. Conquest Chronicles Says:

    Fair points…

    But I’m biased. I think Nick Holt is a pretty good DC. He’s done an outstanding job with that defense, but like I said I view it through cardinal & gold colored glasses.

    With all that talent I just don’t see how Walker’s unit could have underachieved the way they did. Even if you remove the WSU game it still doesn’t answer his defense’s poor performance against Utah and ND.

    There was a good portion of the ucla fanbase that wanted Walker gone. They sure weren’t going to “accept” him as the HC and he only became “acceptable” to stay on as DC when he was going to be a part of Neuheisel’s staff.

    No disagreement on his ability to recruit and that is the main reason they kept him, but Eric Scott had a lot to do with that too. Had he left when they fired Dorrell there was a good chance that a number of recruits would have went elsewhere. In fact because there is still a chance he won’t be there next year ucla already lost a recruit for 2009.

  4. Sedihawk Says:

    Holt seems to have a crazy-man edge to him and I bet that rubs off on those monsters on D. Carroll is such a rock-star and he’s always front-and-center, so it’s easy to overlook some of his guys, at least from our perspective.

    Anyway, those are some interesting angles to Walker. I guess we are guilty of buying in to all the positive press on him. The hype was so great UW was ready to throw a parade and give him a key to the city if he would have joined Willingham. But sometimes perception from miles away is far, far greater than reality. I’d take him at WSU though!

    See, stuff like this you just won’t find through mainstream media and the like. Don’t be a stranger conquest.

  5. CougarJen Says:

    GROSS PICTURE OF Whats-his-face. Who is turned on by that train wreck. Give me Brad Pitt or Matt Leinart over unfab fabio.

    Arizona can score? Why would you believe this? What about their 56th ranked scoring offense makes one think they will be better this year. Just because? They remind me of us, last year. Senior Qb with sexy numbers, deep receiving group, but cannot run the ball and cannot score in the red(dead)zone based on their offense. It does not add up Brinkhater, you and your fuzzy math.

  6. Michelle Says:

    check out the martin stadium webcam…The screen is already being put up! really lets you see just how amazingly huge that scoreboard will be!

    Hey Brinkhater (no longer formerly known as?), thanks for thinking of us, but I agree with Coug Jen, I think I’d rather see the hot stanford girl than Fabio.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Sixth? Are you frigging nuts. BH, there are 100 publications out there with NONE of them picking WSU above 9th. Just another example of why you are the biggest homer ever and know nothing about football or the PAC-10

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Wow. You say that we will fall off and then pick us second. At least it seems like you know we’re going to kick you all over Martin Stadium this year. Totally worthless takes.

  9. longball Says:

    Well Brinkhater looks like anonymous #1 needs a reminder of your success rate picking games. As for anonymous #2 – exactly the kind of arrogant nonesense i would expect from the nations most obnoxious fan base. Actually, the Red Sox band wagoners give the quacktards a pretty good run for their money.

    I love the quote “100 publications out there with NONE of them picking WSU above 9th.” Ha ha ha, this MUST be from a Duck fan too. Schools that are perrenially overrated never understand that the pre-season rankings mean nothing. Of course we know what its like to have all those publications pick us 9th or worse and still win the conference. So yeah, anonymous, if that is your real name, go check out the preseason rankings every year we finished 6th or above as BH predicts. I think you’ll find that we are almost always picked at the bottom of the conference. thanks for playin.

  10. Sedihawk Says:

    Results are in from media day and what, a, uh, surprise:

    USC (38 first-place votes)…389
    Arizona State…330
    California (1)…274
    UCLA… 204
    Oregon State…192
    Washington… 139
    Washington State…61

    I’m not sure what is so positive about UCLA’s current team that makes the writers think they will finish ahead of five teams. But oh well. They are what they are, a media-eye view of what they think will happen. That’s all.

    Michelle, you are in Pullman right? Maybe you could take some pics of the scoreboard yourself instead of just the webcam? If you e-mail them in we would be happy to post them. We would give you full credit, of course. Maybe take some photos of the renovation as well, whatever you want to do.

    I am excited about that scoreboard too. And the sound system should be a huge improvement.

  11. Brinkhater Says:

    Well said, Longball. I am DEFINITELY keeping you on the payroll. In fact, its high time I give you a raise, don’t you think?

    And Michele and C.J., since when did sexy become gross?

    Long flowing locks, premium pecks, sixpack abs, and a beach background.. It just doesn’t get any better.

    And to think I was growing my hair out for you all…

    C.J: In terms of the fuzzy math stuff, well, I think that all your counterpoints were well documented in my post, so I’m confused about your confusion.

    However, per L.B., the thing about this conference season is that a) the Conference is down; and b) there are a TON of ???? for everyone. We probably have the biggest up and downside of anyone given our weapons on O and LACK of anything on D, but Arizona could be good or Terrible, Oregon State could be good or Terrible, CAL could be good or terrible, and Oregon despite being a National Title contender last year finished 5-4 in conference. So, what does that say about what they could do if the chips fall down this year?

    Again, I am “banking” that we will beat teams that I think will have a hard time scoring this year. And for me, that is OSU, UCLA, Stanford, and UW who I think will NOT have Locker playing in that game. That said, if Rogers stinks, the DTs get injured, we lost Mattingly or Evans, etc and we could be 1-12 with our lone win being 10-9 over PSU.

    But just breathe easy, y’all:

    4-5 in conference=6th place.

    That’s the way I see it.

  12. David Says:

    Wow, just wow….

    WSU finishing above OSU AND UCLA….

    I think WSU will be overachieving if they finish 8th.

    UCLA could implode, The Weasel has never had to do it from the ground up it will say a lot about him in how it goes the next couple of years.

    Some QB’s that had bad 2007 will take big steps forward, but it won’t be Longshore, I am predicting he is replaced at some point with Riley, the kid is for real. Also Oregon State’s QB play will be much better this year. at times last year 2 true freshman were playing at WR. I could look pretty good throwing to that group.

    OSU will have the most productive WR group in the Pac-10 by years end. Arizona be damned, I don’t think they will have the ball enough to put up huge numbers.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    OSU will not have trouble scoring. They will not run the ball as well as last year, and the D will be a drop off, but by Mid-Season they will be averaging ~25+ pts/game.

    OSU program IS what WSU USED TO BE back when you had an outstanding coach. That is just how it works guys. For 6 out of the last 7 years OSU has outperformed the PAC-10 Media picks. Sorry homers, OSU will be better significantly than WSU. And yes all duk fans suck, not just the ones that post here.

    I am pulling for you guys, but your talent is only better than the Trees. And I don’t like your schedule much.

    start planning for 2009.

  14. Seattle Joe Says:

    A lot of confidence in a Duck front seven that outside of Reed (classic overachiever) hasn’t done squat.

    The Duck Secondary is the best in the League, but that front line is the downy underbelly that O-lines rolled over in 2007.

    Maybe they will be o.k., but 2008 Offenses will not be taken unaware by Reed, he will need to “prove it” look for a drop off from him AND who is going to play Linebacker??? BTW Didn’t Oregon State roll out some walkon RB in the final game and get 100+ yards?

    Ducks have been horrible at recruiting this position and until someone plays well I wouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Who exactly “rolled” over the Ducks in ’07? Nobody has as much coming back on defense and wait til you get a load of that secondary with 3 all-americans. Reed is unstoppable or did you conveniently overlook the 22 tackles for loss last year. bring it on.

    Beavers are drinking cool-aid again. they are full of orange-and-black moonshine because they miracled their way to 9 wins last year. NEVER HAPPEN again. Your qb’s suck and one has the tools but no brains and one has the brains but no tools. It all crashes midnight this year. you are back to gnawing on our heels down in the dirt. and now the Autzen videoboard is, as usual, bigger than all y’alls. And wait ’til you get a look at Costa. Saint Nic will make Locker look like a turtle. NW KINGS, yet again.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Ducks lost lots of talent and I don’t see them being where they were last year. If Locker gets hurt or is out the Dawgs have got I think 3 or 4 back-ups with the same style of O and they have got some strong hype about them as well. We’ll see. USC will not walk all over the conference, but I do see them taking it … again … UCLA will be mid pack at best…

  17. Brinkhater Says:

    Welcome, State of Oregon, to the WSU blog! Glad to get your comments.

    Last anony: No offense here brotha, but the Dawgs have NO ONE who can replace Jake the Snake. NO ONE. If he goes down, kiss it.

    You think it was bad when you lost Stanback a few years back? Well, Cube that (for you Husky readers, that means multiply that scenario times itself three times)if Jake goes down.

    You gotta hope for quick help and development from the other skilled positions. Teams are going to key on him alone and if he can’t establish the short passing game, LOOK OUT.

    Or put differently, DUCK.

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