Archive for the ‘Lofa Tatupu’ Category

Grades Are Bad…Except They Aren’t

May 14, 2008

I think I like the Matt Leinart beer-bong pics better than this (and you’ve all seen them so I won’t show them here, but, just in case, check it). Still, while the great academic name of Washington State gets rubbed repeatedly in the steaming pile out behind the woodshed, well, it’s actually not so bad after all.

Cougfan is running a story that states that, in reality, the football team actually has a highly-respectable 2.72 cumulative GPA. Sure, a 2.72 sounds fine, but it happens to be the best in WSU FOOTBALL HISTORY?? As the story goes:

“WSU student-athletes ranked second over the last 10 years in the Pacific-10 Conference in graduation rate with respect to seniors who have exhausted their eligibility. The football team has graduated its student-athletes at a rate four percent higher than the national Division I average, which also ranks second in the Pac-10.”

This is a program that is falling apart based on the APR stories? Hardly. It makes good copy that they lost 8 scholies, and yes, Doba and the rest failed the young men they gave full rides to when they admittedly just, gosh darn it, didn’t do their homework on some of these kids! We didn’t hesitate to throw Doba under the bus for what happened, and that won’t change. We will feel these scholarship losses, there is just no sugar-coating it. But it won’t last long. As Cougfan once again points out today in another story, it’s going to be felt but we’re moving in the right direction. After all, as we pointed out last week when all this news broke, Wulff’s track record is strong with this APR business, posting a 940 at EWU (925 is the line, but you probably knew that already).

I guess the biggest thing to take with this APR news is simply that the coaching staff has to hit at a decent percentage in terms of recruits and their ability to stay in school. Off the field is a new rage of importance through college football, but it might never be MORE important for WSU than these next few years. Not only to establish the types of players and culture that make the Wulff system go, but the APR is always going to be an issue from now on. The margin for error was swallowed up by the prior staff’s transgressions. But this isn’t the end of the world.

Moving on, damn, Lofa, you should have called a cab. I know we’ve all been in those situations, and some good people can make bad decisions. He’s reportedly a great guy, not just a great football player, and he fits the mold in what Tim Ruskell wants for his Seahawks. But this is a big mistake. Signing that fat contract and being a celebrity in a football-crazed town, you have to know that every move he makes is going to get attention. Getting a DUI isn’t good, period, end of story, but with the “great power comes great responsibility” line comes to mind here. But any way you cut it, it sucks, because the guy is the heart and soul of the team and I swear, you see more #51 jerseys at Qwest Field than any other player, period!

Obviously we are entering a real dead period with the football team. News is going to slow to a trickle. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to fully take the next few weeks or even months off (unlike the tanned and rested Grippi, who just got back from Disneyland. How sweet). No, we’re going to keep pushing forward with new content. You’ll get a weekly dose of Brinkhater Diaries, love it or hate it. We’ll take a look at each of our upcoming opponents for 2008 as they stand coming out of spring football. Look for a glimpse at Cal in the coming days. Plus we’ll finally get to our stacks of DVD’s from the past, including some of the best wins in school history, as well as highlights from the glorious 2007 campaign! Ok, that’s a dumb joke. 2007 generally sucked, except for the Apple Cup. But we will put up some 2007 stuff mainly how it pertains to next year. In other words, you won’t see a lot of Brink TD passes or Bumpus or Collins or Abdullah highlights. We’ll try to focus on highlights of who to watch for next year, stuff like that. So stay tuned and don’t give up. There’s only, let’s see, 108 days, 6 hours and 54 minutes until we have to chase Zac Robinson and the rest of the ‘Pokes around for 60 minutes! Wheeee!

Finally, some personal stuff here. I’m posting a picture of my beloved Barkley, our 8-year old Golden Retriever. Why? Because old Barker-boy is really, really sick. I started to notice a change in him about a month ago, out for a morning jog. After only about a mile in, he started to really lag behind. I thought he was just getting too fat and needed to push through it, but he lagged the entire rest of the way. I admit I was actually mad at him for holding me up. However, these last few weeks have really taken a turn for the worse. He had barely eaten any food for a few days before we took him to the vet. The hard part is that it took several different tests, x-rays, and finally, an ultrasound, before they confirmed the worst fear – cancer. Barkley has lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes, in his abdomen. This is, sadly, a common thing for Golden’s. After a couple of extremely emotional days, we decided we are going to do all we can for him. Not that we are going to throw thousands upon thousands of dollars at him on radical treatments, ala what is going on at WSU right now (which sounds amazing by the way). We are going to do what any young family would do for a sick family member, within reason of course. We started him on chemo-therapy today, and it’s going to be a very busy schedule for the next 6 months to try and kick this thing back into remission.

I only post this because I love my dog, like many of you can attest in your own world. Just having him out of the house these last two days has been very painful. Anyway, if the posting around here gets a little sporadic or maybe doesn’t make much sense, just know that there’s some real world stuff going on. And give your dog or cat an extra hug tonight. Don’t take them for granted, because things can change on a dime and you are suddenly faced with losing a great friend, just like that.

Even Video Games Love Carolina

March 25, 2008

With our biggest hoops game since the 1941 NCAA title game coming up Thursday, the experts are coming out of the woodwork to pick North Carolina. Dickie V, Digger, you know the usual suspects. I haven’t seen any projections yet that say we will be blown out of the basketball universe, and everyone expects it to be a bit of a grind for the Heels, but in the end they’ll be 8-10 points better. What, did you expect that anyone would actually pick WSU this week??

That said, even the video games are against us. EA Sports’ NCAA March Madness ’08 has simmed the tourney, and has the Heels taking down our Cougs (pictured above). You can see the entire tourney here via ESPN Videogames, but they have Carolina 69, WSU 62. But with that, I wasn’t exactly satisfied, so I thought what the heck, I’ll sim it myself and let’s see what happens. After all, I’ve got an XBox 360, and while I don’t have March Madness, I do have College Hoops 2K8, which is widely regarded as the superior title (it really is fun, and very realistic).

What happened? Well, 2K8 lets you set up the entire tournament, from 1-to-65, and you can let things play out, or take control of any game you choose. For accuracy sake, I decided to just let the CPU play itself to see what happens. And guess what?? THE COUGARS ARE HEADED FOR THE ELITE 8!

That’s right – The Cougars strolled into Charlotte and pulled off the stunner, taking down Carolina 66-61. Derrick Low and Aron Baynes both had 15 points, with Low drilling a big 3 with 34 seconds left to seal the deal. As in real life, WSU was very patient with the ball offensively and shot 47%, a decent percentage overall. They played stifling, switching, “pack” defense to frustrate Hansbrough, keep Ty Lawson from penetrating, and just played a heck of a game. The Heels shot 41%. All that said, unfortunately, Tennessee ended the WSU title hopes on Saturday, winning a tough game 71-68.

Ok, I know, just a video game, right? Well, 2K8 also did it right with Davidson, placing them in the Sweet 16, as well as Villanova and Western Kentucky. In the end of my sim, Kansas cut down the nets with a big win over UCLA. We shall see what happens, but hey, I’ve got some hope!

Speaking of Charlotte….what the heck has happened to Adam Morrison??

They say he’s a free spirit and really his “own guy”, but geez. He looks like he’s somewhere else. Or maybe he’s simply realizing that Gonzaga is now going to be 2nd fiddle in Eastern WA to the surging WSU Cougar hoops program?? I guess he’ll just have to get by with several piles of cash and NBA groupies at every turn. Poor guy!

Speaking of Gonzaga, KJR was talking yesterday that Mark Few rumors are starting to percolate. This time it’s his alma mater calling, as Ernie Kent is going to get fired chatter is increasing by the day. People take shots at Gonzaga, as they aren’t exactly the cute, cuddly little engine that could as they were when they first burst on the scene. But Few has done a hell of a job building something out of nowhere. They’ve now been to 10 consecutive NCAA’s, and I don’t care what conference you play in, that ain’t easy! We shall see what happens there. If Few did land at Oregon, I would expect a lot of the same thing, honestly. Few’s teams play fast and love to shoot the rock, but they aren’t exactly a defensive team. But it would also be interesting to see what he could do with Oregon’s resources.

Thanks to Atlanta Coug, but ESPN.com ran a story about Gary Rogers from spring ball. Not bad. Ted Miller has moved on from the P-I, and now does the .com thing full-time, so it’s nice to have a NW presence on the national scene for good.

Another day, more Tony Bennett coaching fodder. We mentioned yesterday in comments that IU was rumored to have narrowed their choices down already to either 2 or 3 main candidates, specifically Rick Barnes, Rick Pitino and Thad Motta. This came via Andy Katz and later Pat Forde of ESPN over the weekend on ESPN radio (sorry, no link). You can check out some of the Scout.com’s IU message boards for more. I think those names show you one thing – IU has some major fish they are trying to land. While we love Tony and know what a fantastic thing he has going here, on the national scale he doesn’t exactly measure up to those names on the IU radar. We’re talking Final 4’s, national titles, and deep, deep runs and consistent tourney appearances, time after time after time.

But as “PTownCoug” mentioned in comments yesterday, just because IU is looking at those big fish doesn’t keep us in the clear here. As is usually the case, when a big coach moves on down the road, the domino’s usually fall. And that means that if, say, Barnes goes to IU, well, Texas is now open. And if Tony doesn’t go to Texas (and I DOUBT he would), but let’s say Mike Brey goes from Notre Dame to Texas. Suddenly Notre Dame is open. And on and on it goes.

It is the oldest Mike Holmgren saying, but it is very true here – “IT IS WHAT IT IS.” And this is the way it is going to be with Tony. I think it’s several things, mainly he’s young, successful, has a sparkling image, and the hoops “genes”. He’s a lot of things that AD’s around the country would love to associate with their programs. And you also get the NCAA writers from everywhere taking a look at young, talented guys and say “why the heck would he want to coach in frosty Pullman??” and of course, write articles that are more speculation than fact. It is just something we have to get used to, and every year when some tasty jobs open up, Tony’s name is going to be thrown against the wall to see if it sticks. Just keep thinking of Holmgren’s catch-phrase, “IT IS WHAT IT IS!”

Quickly speaking of the Seahawks, nice move to keep Lofa a Hawk For Life! What a fantastic player and leader of a still-rising defense. No better move than to lock him up now before the world of NFL free agency poisons the water. As Lofa said, it wasn’t Good Friday, it was Great Friday. I would say the same thing if I signed a $42 million dollar extension with a bunch of guaranteed money!

HAPPY TUESDAY TO Y’ALL!