Archive for the ‘WSU football 2009 schedule’ Category

Soft Schedule = Hope for ’09?

April 30, 2009


Wolverine opens this weekend. Early reviews? Eh. Sounds as though it’s just OK. Maybe the lone Wolverine angle can’t quite carry an entire movie? But a little something for the ladies, I’m sure there are plenty of shots of HUUUUUUUGGGEEE Jackman without his shirt on. And the X-men geeks can, well, get their GEEK on. So enjoy, as the summer blockbuster season is now officially upon us!

Meanwhile, looking at the WSU football schedule for this year, one thing hit me like a 2×4 across the face. Is it me, or does it NOT look all that difficult? Now the PAC-10 slate is it’s usual toughness, in the round-robin approach that is now the norm. In-conference road games at USC, Oregon and Cal won’t be a walk in the park. And for what it’s worth, the great Ted Miller weighed in on the craziness of the round-robin scheduling of the PAC-10.

But getting back to the schedule for a second. I know in recent seasons, we’ve had what was regarded as a difficult schedule, at least according to Phil Steele. Last year, not so bad, but still rated as the 28th most difficult schedule of 2008 (*out of 120 teams). But 2007 was entirely more difficult, coming in as the 3rd toughest in the country. So, I thought I would see what old Phil had to say about the 2009 schedules, etc. And guess what? He’s already got something up on ’09, including a breakdown of toughest to weakest schedules for the upcoming season.

And the hunch was absolutely correct – WSU is rated as having the 96th most “difficult” schedule based on win percentages from last year! Replacing Okie State with 1-11 SMU might have something to do with it….but still, when you are coming off 2-11 yourself, having a strength of schedule rating in the 90’s doesn’t sound too bad.

Side note – the school that hates us right now with the hotness of a thousand suns (UW)? They were rated as having the most difficult schedule in the country in both 2007 and 2008. But 2009? 84th most difficult. What’s weird is that includes having LSU to open their season. But they also added Idaho, so, there you go. But whatever.

In that same rivalry mode, Jerry Brewer of the Times tries to pour gasoline on the hate-fest. But it didn’t really go anywhere.

“I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s no animosity between me and Jim,” Woodward said Wednesday, adding that the two will probably have fun with this controversy during the Pac-10 Conference meetings in Phoenix next week. “I think the world of Jim.”

And our own favorite, Jim Moore, tried the same approach, to try and instigate things. This time, both sides were a little more blunt, with Woodward sticking to his “they should have told their alums to zip it” view, while Sterk saying it was just insane for an AD to criticize a school President:

“It was so unbelievable, the statement,” Sterk said. “It’s one thing to say something about a coach or an AD, but to make a statement about a president really crosses the line.

“In the higher-education world, the president is held in high esteem. Us ADs, no one gives a rip about us … I’m joking, but (ripping a) president is in a completely different category. You don’t do that.”

Maybe they can stick them both in a jar, shake it up a little bit, see if they will fight!


But you know what? It makes for good copy, but I’m over it already. Just move on. But one can imagine their handshake when they see each other next week, that Jim Sterk just might give the grip a little extra squeeze?

That’s about it for a slow Thursday. Still hoping for some news on the Martin Stadium fundraiser in the next day or so. ENJOY YOUR THURSDAY, and GO COUGS!

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2009 Schedule Now Complete; Pac-10 Good After All?

January 5, 2009


After some delays and speculation, including the “future” schedule just showing the 2008 season from the WSU website, things are finally complete. June Jones’ SMU Mustangs will come to Pullman on 9/19, completing the three game non-conference slate for the upcoming season.

SMU pretty much stunk in ’08, rolling out a 1-11 season in their first season under Jones. We’ll take a closer look at them this spring for our fish wrap series, but they struggled big-time. They did hang in there against bowl teams like Houston (44-38), Memphis (31-26) and Tulsa (37-31) but 1-11 is 1-11. Awfully bumpy. SMU was the only Conference USA team to not win a conference game, going 0-8, with their only victory was against Texas State, an FCS school out of the Southland conference.

The schedule also includes the news that Hawai’i will be the Seattle game opponent on September 12th. I don’t think this is a surprise to many, as it was rumored for some time that they would be the match-up in Seattle.


Here’s a question for you – Do you like the Seattle game? Hate it? I have to admit that I loved it at first and have liked it less over the last few seasons. But I think it is a necessary thing now and is here to stay. Even in some down years they have been drawing a decent crowd to Qwest, and it does give a lot of west side alums a chance to see the team. In these tough economic times, a trip from Seattle to Pullman might be harder to pull off next fall. Having the team come to Seattle makes sense, maybe more than ever. I just hope we never see a conference home game in Seattle. Make the conference travel to Pullman!

So that makes it Hawai’i, SMU and Notre Dame at San Antonio for the non-conference games. Then in the Pac-10, we have home games against Stanford, ASU, UCLA and Oregon State, with road games against Cal, Arizona, USC, Oregon and UW. Most likely opening up with Stanford in Pullman on 9/5, but that’s all we know right now. Dates and times TBA.

Moving on, so, how about that weak Pac-10? 5-0 in bowl games, including USC destroying Penn State in the granddaddy of them all. Speaking of USC, did you see what Rey Maualuga did to Erin Andrews before the game??

Whatever. EA ‘s taken a lot of crap for being attractive on the sidelines, from blogs to broadcasters to athletes. But it has to be said – fair or not, it more or less comes with the territory in the testosterone-elevated world where she works. It’s not fair, obviously, but it’s true. We’ve even made fun of her a few times, but nothing too bad. We like her. Quite a bit actually. But that wasn’t a real classy move by Rey. Remember, Maualuga once claimed “he owned the police” after an incident a few years ago in LA. To come up behind her and shimmy, with thousands of people watching? Again, whatever.

But anyway, the Pac-10 went 5-0 in the bowls? How could this happen after such a national beating the conference took in 2008? I think a big part of it is that, quite frankly, the Pac-10 was much, much better at the end of the season than it was in the beginning of the year. And the biggest reason? The QB situation. Think about it for a moment:

1) USC was starting a brand new QB in Mark Sanchez after John David Booty graduated. USC walloped Virginia in their opener, then beat an incredibly overrated Ohio State team in LA. But then they had to travel to Corvallis on a Thursday night and got beat by a fired-up Oregon State team. At the time that loss looked bad, and Sanchez was rather ordinary if not bad for about three quarters of that game. Yet Oregon State turned out to be a win away from the Rose Bowl. It wasn’t looked at as a “good” loss at the time, but by the end of the year it didn’t look too bad. That early-season road loss was their only blemish on their season. Mark Sanchez settled down after that first month of the year, and SC was rarely threatened the rest of the season. And a MAJOR hat-tip to Pete Carroll and USC. Did you know that they just had their SEVENTH season in a row with at least 11 wins!?!? A few years ago we ran with our media guide saying how great it was to win 10 games three years in a row. But 11 wins seven years in a row?? Unreal.

2) Oregon started over at QB, losing Heisman hopeful Dennis Dixon, and it was a big QB roulette early on. They blew it at home vs. Boise State when they played three different QB’s and didn’t even have the starter coming into the season, Justin Roper, due to injury. They were also hammered vs. USC and lost on the road vs. Cal, a team they never seem to beat. But they did end up going 6-1 over their last seven games, including the embarrassment in Corvallis and the Holiday Bowl shootout over Okie State. Oregon was considerably better in the last month of the season, and a ton of their improvement can be attributed to Jeremiah Masoli taking control of the QB position.

3) We know the tale of the Beavs. Two losses to start the year, including their pants being pulled down to their ankles vs. Penn State. But after starting 2-3, they finished with their usual kick, winning seven of their last eight games. We should also consider their tough three-point loss at Utah, a game by all accounts they should have won. The same Utah team that just completed a perfect season by trouncing the uninterested Crimson Tide and Nick Saban. But the Beavs had QB issues early on with some erratic play, including some injury issues from Lyle Moevao. Yet just another nine-win, bowl-winning season for Oregon State. Ho-hum.

4) Cal kind of slogged through the meat of the season, at one point 6-4 and looking pretty shaky. But they would win their last three, including their bowl game over Miami, to finish with an impressive 9-4 record. That said, their QB play was up-and-down all year. Some games they had Kevin Riley looking like the MAN (remember how good he looked vs. WSU?) and then other games, Nate Longshore would split the time, and there were moments where they both would kind of wander through games. A weird year for them, but they closed it out on top.

5) Finally, Arizona. They were the only team of the Pac-10 bowl teams who actually had a seasoned starter in Willie Tuitama. After a hot 4-1 start, they almost blew it, at one point at 6-5 and a showdown with ASU looming in what could have been a winner-take-all bowl bid (although that is unlikely. The Pac-10 didn’t fill all their bowl slots this year, so, any Pac-10 team with six wins was going to the post-season). But the Mildcats beat ASU for the first time in four years, and then won the Vegas Bowl over a bored BYU team to finish 8-5.

So there you have it. While the bottom two teams were pretty much automatic wins for every other team in the conference in ’08 (and we know which two teams were in the bottom ten for the majority of the season?!?), the end-result for the conference was pretty damn good. And all five bowl teams finished with a kick. USC 11 wins, Oregon 10 wins, Oregon State and Cal both with nine wins, and Arizona with eight. Not so bad is it?

That’s about it for a Monday. Enjoy your week, and GO COUGS!