Archive for the ‘Super Bowl’ Category

Pre-Signing Day Notes

February 3, 2009

First off, congrats to the Pittsburgh Steelers! Six Super Bowls, a record no other team can match, moving past Dallas and San Francisco for most all-time Lombardi Trophies. Schools in Pittsburgh were two hours late yesterday to help people recover from yet another championship. So, congrats (that’s for you Chris ’04).

Speaking of championships, while Pittsburgh’s record of six Super Bowls is fantastic, are they the greatest NFL franchise ever? Bob Costas said as much as the NBC broadcast wound down, calling Pittsburgh not only the best NFL team of all-time, but one of the greatest pro sports franchises of all-time. But is he right?

If you ONLY look at the Super Bowl era, then he is right. Six titles in 43 years is nothing to downplay. In today’s day and age, of salary caps and widespread free agency, so many teams and so much parity, that to constantly churn out a contender is amazing. But what about the era before the “Big Game” had a label? Do we simply ignore the NFL championships because the games didn’t have the words SUPER BOWL attached to them? The NFL has been around a lot longer than 1967. In fact, they’ve been crowning champions since 1920. So you have to take the full body of work of the league before you decide such things, don’t you? If you ignore the history before Super Bowl I, then you are blowing about 50% of the entire history of the league. That would be like baseball not looking back before, say, 1950. So forget about Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig or the ’27 Yankees. Kind of ridiculous, right?

Anyway, Green Bay has the most NFL championships ever, with 12. The Chicago Bears are second, with nine, while the NY Giants are third, with seven. Pittsburgh has six, all Super Bowl wins. Impressive, all the way around. But while what Pittsburgh has accomplished is great, NBC and others shouldn’t completely disregard the history of the league before 1967.

Moving on, there are some decent recruiting write-ups making the rounds today, as we get ready for the signing day BLOWOUT tomorrow….

Howie Stalwick had this in the P-I. What do you take from this? It’s sort of a cold shower if you ask me. WSU has sunk to LAST in the PAC-10 according to Rivals.com recruiting rankings? Scout.com has them much more of a normal setting, at 50 in the country, but wow, Rivals sure isn’t excited about WSU’s haul. Interesting the discrepancy between the two services, isn’t it?

Bud Withers had this in the Times. An excellent look at the success WSU has had in the Puget Sound region this year, highlighted by Gino Simone but there are others as well, including Jamal Atofau, Nolan Washington and Andre Barrington. And Wulff said it best:

“To be able to recruit after the season we just had … the staff will do even better as we start winning games,” Wulff said. “We’ll continue to elevate our recruiting. I think this is as good a recruiting staff as there is in the country. They’re honest, and I think people see that.”

Here’s a question though – will this Puget Sound success continue, now that UW appears to have their house in order (sort of?). Recruits were avoiding UW this whole recruiting season until Sarkisian was hired. But will there be future recruiting battles now that UW has their coaching situation figured out? Or will UW return to their ways of getting the headline Puget Sound talent? Personally I don’t think WSU is going to win many head-to-head battles over kids from the Seattle area. It is an area we’ve never done too well with, and while we know it’s different with Wulff and staff, still, it’s hard to picture some top-notch kids from the Seattle area choosing WSU over UW. At least on a consistent basis anyway. Jake Heaps of Skyline just named his “final ten” schools, and WSU wasn’t on the list. Remains to be seen….but I don’t think we as Coug fans should hang our hats on the Puget Sound successes this year. Let’s see how it plays out over the next few years before we see if it’s a trend, or merely a post-Willingham/pre-Sarkisian fluke.

Finally, Grippi has this from the Spokesman. It’s a look at the 365-day drain that is recruiting, and all the time and energy spent on trying to build this thing into a competitive outfit. Recruiting and all that goes with it, the hard work behind the scenes that fans never see, it’s just a grind. Hats off to these guys for working harder than ever, and for pouring all they have into this program.

That’s it for today. We’ll have full coverage of signing day tomorrow, updating as the LOI’s show up in Pullman. ENJOY YOUR TUESDAY, and GO COUGS!

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Super Sunday or, EH?; Best of Lists Continue

February 1, 2009


Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Ready to watch Pittsburgh and Arizona settle things on the field? And as a Seahawks fan, this is a tough one, and a question that has been sportstalk-fodder the last two weeks – who do YOU root for today? Do you root for your divisional rival in Arizona, a team that was a complete joke until just a few years ago, often times compared to the LA Clippers in terms of losing as well as ownership ineptness? But as Hooty wrote recently, do you really want to see the Arizona Cardinals with a Lombardi trophy before our beloved Seahawks??

Meanwhile, as Matt Hasselbeck said in a radio interview this week, how can Seahawks fans root for Darth Vader in the Pittsburgh Steelers? I stumbled upon the 2006 NFL Films production of the Seahawks – Steelers Super Bowl last night on ESPN2, and about 30 seconds was all I could stomach before flipping it off. I forgot about how sour that game tasted.

Besides, there isn’t a rooting interest from a WSU angle, as neither roster has a WSU player to be found, not even on practice squads or injured reserve. So it might be a weird feeling today.

But whatever. Enjoy the unofficial national holiday today, wherever you are.

Anyway, with signing day nearly upon us, some more “best of the west” recruiting lists have hit cyberspace. Where does WSU fit with these new lists? How about the “other” BCS school in the state?

Leading off with the good news, Scout.com has released their final Best 150 in the West list. Good news because WSU weighs in with ten recruits on this list, good for third in the PAC-10 behind UCLA and USC, seven of which are in the top 100.

Gino Simone – 44
Darren Markle – 57
Travis Long – 70
Arthur Burns – 84
Nolan Washington – 89
Jamal Atofau – 97
Chris Mastin – 100
Anthony Carpenter – 117
Jeff Tuel – 137
Andre Barrington – 141

As Scout.com says, all are three-star players, except for Simone’s four star rating.

I think this list says it all. Not so much that we’re getting the best of the best talent ala USC. But it speaks to the depth of this class and the potential it has to really build a strong foundation going forward. Getting seven of the top 100 alone speaks volumes for the kind of progress Wulff and the staff are making out on the trail. And the high-character stories on a lot of these kids is probably the best thing of all.

UW landed seven verbals on the list, but not a single one in the top 100. The highest-rated kid is none other than Desmond Trufant, coming in at 108.

Moving on, the News Tribune has their 2008-09 Western 100 out today. As the TNT says:

The Western 100 are the top 100 high school football recruits in the West (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), as selected by The News Tribune, which polled college coaches and various media outlets.

WSU finished with only THREE players on this list – Gino Simone, Darren Markle and Travis Long. Quite a difference compared to Scout.com. Washington? Um, zero. Even in a transition year with the new coaching staff, a zero? Really? I don’t remember the last time they didn’t even have one player in the top 100 in the western states.

The TNT also had this comp article with Wulff and Sarkisian. It’s a good look at the different states of the recruiting process for both coaching staffs. Wulff’s staff appears to have their footing, while Sarkisian is still scrambling to cobble something together before Wednesday.

One thing I found interesting about Sarkisian in that article is the idea of them selling the players on playing in the NFL. That somehow his system is going to prepare them for playing in the league, better than the other schools around. That’s an easy thing for him to sit in living rooms and tout all the players he’s helped coach up to play on Sundays…..while wearing a USC sweatsuit. Will he be able to say the same thing after a few years in Seattle? We’ll see. But somehow I doubt he’s going to have the same success in getting kids into the league…ya THINK?

Now I don’t want to sit here and tout a whopping three players for WSU either. While we do believe this WSU class is looking strong in terms of overall depth, filled with high character, high-ceiling types, it’s safe to say we still have a ways to go before we are challenging the upper half of the conference. But it’s been preached since Wulff was introduced in December, and that is that this thing is going to take a while to build. As Wulff himself said all season long, we have to build layers upon layers upon layers of depth, so you aren’t forced to throw the young out into the wild. But I am also confident in saying that IF Wulff can sign at least two more recruiting classes like this one, the ideal program Wulff is shooting for will be much closer to reality.

That’s it for a super Sunday. ENJOY YOUR DAY, and GO COUGS!