Archive for the ‘WSU Football’ Category

The 2K Decade Revisited, PAC-10 Style

July 1, 2009


This post has been hijacked to wish HAWK a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

First of all, what a tough month on the celeb death front. A moment of silence for those who passed on…..

I loved Farah. She was like THE dream-gal of dream gals back in the day. Raise your hand if you at least knew someone who had that poster on their wall. You know the one I mean.


What’s weird is that she was only on ONE season of Charlie’s Angels? You would have thought she was the entire franchise, but she sure cashed in there. And, yes, I loved Michael Jackson, but that was back in the Thriller/Beat It days, when everyone was trying to moonwalk. But once Michael decided he wanted to physically become Diana Ross, and all the ugly accusations and lawsuits against him with young boys? In other words, once “Jacko” went wacko? I was done. Sad to see him spiral down the tube like he did, but the guy had some serious issues. I would imagine being in the conversation as one of the most famous individuals on the planet for a number of years would do some weird things to you? Still, an amazing talent, a once-in-a generation type, ala Frank Sinatra and Elvis.

That said, I don’t know about you, but the Billy Mays death was one that made me the most sad of all. Not Billy Mays! He gets hit in the head with a piece of luggage on a rough landing of his flight into Tampa, then dies that night in his sleep? Probably a heart disease problem according to reports, but still, weird.

I think Mays might be one guy that Coug fans would have liked. Down to earth, hard worker, fun to be around, and lots of passion for what he does. I can imagine him wandering through WSU tailgate parties, handing him a Natural Light and a hot dog right off the grill, and just enjoying his company, more so than the others.


Well, OK, we’d probably enjoy Farah’s company too. But we like Mays. And no, I won’t insert a joke or video or whatever about the Sham Wow guy. Not today. Maybe tomorrow or the next day, but that would be disrespectful to Mr. Mays.

Moving on in a completely different direction, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at how the PAC-10 has fared since the year 2000. If you remember, we looked at this last summer, and it was an eye-opener in how successful some teams were (Oregon State) and some teams weren’t (cough*UW*cough). Check out the updated numbers and see for yourself….

1) USC: 93-22 overall – 47-8 at home, 38-12 on the road, 8-2 in neutral sites/bowls. It just continues. At least 11 wins since the 2002 season, including the 2004 13-0 record. Still amazing to think that they started out the decade by going 5-7 and 6-6, but have lost just 9 games the last seven years. And SC has lost some key assistants over the years, including super-O-Coordinator Norm Chow, yet the machine rolls on. They have run away with the decade, and it’s clearly the era of the Trojan.

2) Oregon: 77-35 overall – 44-12 at home, 29-18 away, 4-4 in neutral sites/bowls. Just one losing season in the decade (5-6 in ’04), but otherwise a winner on an annual basis. Bellotti hands off a major PAC-10 power to Chip Kelly, and when you look at the numbers? It’s hard to imagine a better situation to walk into than the state of the program that Kelly inherits. Also included is now an impressive 27-9 non-conference record against some bigger-name programs. A super-strong number two to USC in the conference.

3) Oregon State: 72-40 overall – 43-12 at home, 23-27 on the road, 6-1 in neutral sites/bowl games. Just one win behind Oregon for #2 in home wins, and just five wins overall away from the Ducks, they are legit as legit can be. Don’t forget this program had 28 straight LOSING SEASONS before 1999! Since Mike Riley returned in 2003, the Beavs have had just one losing season(5-6 in ’05). It was a surprise to many last year when they came in such a strong #3, and it just continues this year.

4) CAL: 63-48 overall– 37-18 at home, 21-28 on the road, 5-2 in neutral sites/bowl games. A horrendous start to the decade (4-18 from ’00-’01), it has completely turned around. Like another Jahvid Best run through the Washington-Washington State defenses in ’08, Cal has sprinted to #4 in the conference, up from #7 last year. They won’t catch Oregon State for third, but there is no doubt Cal is on a roll. They are finally over .500 in conference, now at 38-36 after going 6-3 in the PAC last year. If Tedford sticks around long-term, this may be the most interesting team to watch once we get into the next decade. After all, Tedford is now an impressive 59-30 at CAL in seven seasons. It’s hard to imagine CAL going away anytime soon?

5) ASU: 61-50 overall – 41-19 at home, 18-27 on the road, 2-4 in neutral sites/bowl games. A rough ’08 season at 5-7, but still good enough to catch UCLA for #5. They continued their road struggles last year, just 1-4 away from home (the lone win @ UW). Very similar to UCLA, now with three losing seasons this decade (’01, ’03, ’08). Also like UCLA, a couple of breakthrough seasons (9-3 in ’04, 10-3 in ’07), but otherwise a .500 record. They continue to be strong out of conference though, where even with some tough losses to UNLV and Georgia last season, they still are at 26-10 OOC for the decade.

6) UCLA: 60-51 overall – 38-18 at home, 20-28 on the road, 2-5 in neutral sites/bowl games. #4 in the PAC-10 wins last year, they have been passed by CAL and ASU and now sit at #6. A big step back last year at 4-8, but overall just three losing seasons in the decade (’03, ’07’, ’08). And even prior to last year, their previous two losing seasons, both were of the 6-7 variety. But aside from their ’05 ten-win season, they’ve hovered around .500 for the decade. Still a pretty good home record even with a down year last year at 3-4, just their second home losing record in the decade (2-4 in ’02).

7) WSU: 56-53 overall – 26-24 at home, 23-25 on the road, 7-3 in neutral sites/bowl games (including 5-2 in Qwest Field). You know the deal here. WSU has fallen down a peg to 7th in the decade. Three straight top-ten finishes in the polls from ’01 through ’03, but home for the holidays ever since. ’06 was promising, at one point 6-3 and ranked, but the season fell apart down the stretch. Still hanging in at over .500 at home, slightly under .500 on the road, but nearly a .500 record overall. Interesting that WSU is nearly a .500 school all-time? According to the WSU media guide, since 1894, WSU’s combined record is 494-484-45 (45 ties?? YUCK!). So, I guess one could say that the 2K decade has gone just about the same as WSU has done in it’s entire body of work/history? Some great heights, some ugly depths, but basically hovering near .500.

8) UW: 44-64 overall– 29-29 at home, 14-32 on the road, 1-3 in neutral sites/bowl games. Like last year, this is where you see a big separation from the rest of the teams. UW has 13 fewer wins that WSU, 17 fewer that UCLA in the decade. 0-12 is a huge anchor on their record, but this isn’t a one-year fluke. You have to remember where UW was when the decade started to wrap your head around this thing. 11-1 and Rose Bowl champs in 2000, 8-4 in 2001, 7-6 in 2002 and even 6-6 in 2003. It all fell apart in ’04 though, a 1-10 campaign considered by many as one of the worst teams in UW history….at least until ’08 happened. But anyway, that ’04 season ended a string of 27 straight non-losing seasons, but it’s been down in the dumps ever since. Now with five consecutive losing seasons and on their fourth different coach this decade, it’s been a mind-bending fall down the ladder.

You know the weirdest thing of all? Not so much the overall record, I mean that is a surprise when you consider where UW used to sit in the pecking order. But they are now an even .500 at home after going 0-7 in Husky stadium last year. Remember Husky Stadium, back in the 90’s? That place used to freakin’ SHAKE it was so loud. One of the most intimidating venues in the country, teams used to relieve themselves down one leg when they lined up and heard that crowd. Times have certainly changed in Montlake. But it’s a new era, so we’ll see if they can recapture that setting that used to be a complete nightmare for opposing teams.

9) Arizona: 41-64 overall – 25-34 at home, 15-30 on the road, 1-0 in neutral site/bowl games. After last year’s 8-5 season, they have inched past Stanford for #9 in the conference. While still 9 games under .500 at home, they did go 5-2 in Tucson, their second home-winning record this decade (4-2 in ’07). They do have a realistic shot at catching UW, just three wins behind them for 8th place in the decade with this ’09 season yet to come. But they are trending upward and may have turned a corner after last season’s bowl-win over BYU.

10) Stanford: 39-64 overall – 23-30 at home, 16-33 on the road, 0-1 in neutral sites/bowl games. Another big separation from the rest of the PAC, Stanford still has just one winning season this decade (9-3 in ’01). But they are clearly making progress under Jim Harbaugh. However, even after a promising 5-7 mark last year, they have fallen to 10th place in the conference. But, considering Harbaugh inherited one of the worst recent teams in PAC-10 history (1-11 in ’06), they are now 9-15 under Captain Comeback. They continued to struggle on the road though, just one victory away from home last year (@UW). But they are on the rise, and we think they are staring at bowl-eligibility this year for just the second time this decade.

So there you have it. No surprises at the very top, a still-nice surprise at Oregon State at number three, and a high-riser in CAL at number four.

That’s it for a Wednesday. Enjoy it, and as always, GO COUGS!

Happy T-Day Cougs

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all, a great day of feeding your faces.

GET SOME EA! Girl’s gotta eat, even if it’s on TV.

But even with her scarfing down what looks like your typical foot-long hoagie(?), well, we still love EA for simply standing somewhat close to the WSU flag.

We love her A LOT, actually. As the latest polls have shown:

Not sure how a poll can be 98% – 3%, but whatever. Close enough. It is what it is (fake).

Oh, and we wish our friends in Oklahoma City a very happy T-Day. You know, Oklahoma City? The “major league” town that now boos their beloved, hijacked, 1-win OKC Thunder? Have a bucket of KFC with extra skin and a nice warm Bud on us.

But at least they won’t have PJ Carlesimo to kick around anymore.


Moving on, Hawaii. Thought it might be a good idea to think about this week’s game and try to put last week behind us(in honor of Ted Miller, a 16-13 win)…..hard as that is to do. We remember Hawaii from their unbeaten season in 2007 and Sugar Bowl wipe-out vs. UGA. We remember yards and points from Colt Brennan and all those WR’s in the run-n-shoot. But what do we know about Hawaii in 2008?

After starting off a rough 1-3, including blowout losses at Florida, Oregon State and a tight one at home vs. San Jose State, they have circled the wagons a bit. Maybe not in the Oregon State style of circling the wagons, but still, they’ve been tough. Hawaii is 5-2 in their last seven games, including a win over then-#22 Fresno State to kick off their current seven-game stretch.

What’s weird with Hawaii is how they are winning. It certainly isn’t how it used to be, which was overwhelming yards and points through the air. Right now they are averaging 25 points and 364 yards of total offense per game. Not bad, but a far cry from 2007’s 43 points and an amazing 512 yards per game. But however it’s happening, they are still getting it done in the WAC.

QB Inoki Funaki is/was their leading passer. I say is/was because he’s not the starter anymore. Ever since a 5-INT game vs. Boise State last month, his PT has been slowly disappearing in favor of JC transfer Greg Alexander.

Alexander was a big-time QB recruit out of Santa Rosa, CA, setting a national JC record with 71 TD passes in two seasons. Good size at 6-3, 230, and a decent arm, he’s been very good since taking over after Funaki’s 5-pick disaster in Boise.

Hawaii is 3-1 in their last four games with Alexander getting the majority of the action. After throwing two INT’s in the season-opening blowout at Florida, Alexander has an 8-0 TD/INT ratio in just his last four games. Even better, he’s now at 118 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. Sure sounds like the right fit in the run-n-shoot.

But Hawaii has had a weird year at 6-5. Included in some of their losses were the early-season home game vs. San Jose State, as well as a 30-14 loss at Utah State. Not to poke fun at Utah State……they’ve been a regular in the ESPN Bottom Ten with….uh…..WSU…..but that loss was a head-scratcher.

Anyway, Hawaii is still a winning program looking for another bowl game. Greg McMackin only had four starters coming back on each side of the ball for ’08, yet they’ve been able to keep their heads above water. You have to respect how they turned things around after starting 1-3. They could have easily started to gripe about not having June Jones, but when smacked with adversity, the switch went on. And this is a program that is used to winning. Hawaii’s been to five bowls in the last six seasons, and a win over WSU will clinch another bid for 2008. You know they’ll come out firing.

That’s it for today. We’ll get more into it as we hit full preview mode for Football Friday.

ENJOY YOUR THANKSGIVING, and GO COUGS!

Now What?

November 24, 2008


It’s Monday morning, and I think the fans are STILL ON THE FIELD.

As we bask in the glow of another Apple Cup triumph (now four out of the last five), even in this worst-ever season, it never gets old to win your rivalry game. The beer tastes better, food tastes better, hell, the mundane like going to work or school gives you a little pep in your step.

Now, sure, no crowd has probably ever stormed the field after beating an 0-11 team…..at least I doubt it has ever happened…..but does it even matter? Look, if you are a Coug, you have suffered this year. You have been there debating on message boards and leaving comments about what is wrong today, how difficult this change has been on the players and coaches, and maybe even more so, you have dissected when and how it all went wrong. We all have our theories or sources or whatever. It has been that kind of year.

But all that frustration of 2008 came rushing out late Saturday afternoon. After all the hard work, all the embarrassing blowouts, all the local and national talk of WSU looking like one of the worst BCS teams of all time? That all went away – at least for a while – when Grasu calmly drilled his third and final field goal of the day.

Quick side note….what did I tell you about taking the underdog in a rivalry game?? Especially when the teams are relatively even in terms of record, etc. Said underdog has now covered the spread in seven of the last eight Apple Cups. It’s no fluke. But I also have to raise my hand to say that yes, I called UW to win this thing, 17-16. ON a field goal by UW! Whoops. Never, ever been so happy to be so wrong.

Speaking of predictions. Brinkhater and I were talking, and decided to actually tally up our picks from 2008 Football Friday on Thursday, and how we stood up to the experts. And who better to compare ourselves against? How about the top local guy and national guy who do these things on a weekly basis, in the people’s choice, Vince Grippi, and ESPN’s Ted Miller?

Even if you aren’t curious, here are the updated numbers, through Saturday’s games (note that these are NOT against the spread, only winners/losers):

Ted Miller: 54-15
Vince Grippi: 53-16

Brinkhater: 52-19

Sedihawk: 51-20
Longball: 22-9

Note that we’ve picked more games than they have, as we usually make a national game pick outside of the Pac-10. But still, not bad for a few hacks in blogger-ville.

But seriously, now what? There is, after all, a game this Saturday night over on the island. Will coach Wulff get them excited to do more than hang out at the beach? It’s pretty clear, at least what Wulff said yesterday in his Sunday presser, that he has his work cut out for him.

“It can be (difficult) if we don’t handle it right,” said Wulff, the WSU coach. “The other thing is, you come off a big, emotional game, then you go to a place that’s historically challenging to play at for anybody.

“So yeah, this is going to be a tough, tough test for our psyche.”

Maybe that’s at least part of the reason they are a 28-point underdog to a 6-5 WAC team?? However, WSU has now covered the last three games, so we’ve got that going for us….but let’s face it, college football is one of the most emotional sports on the planet. As Keith Jackson has famously said, trying to predict what 18-22 year olds are going to do on a weekly basis will drive you crazy.


That said, maybe, just maybe, this Apple Cup win, a game they pulled out in the face of adversity, will be a turning point? A game in which the team had so many chances to just give up, when it looked like UW was going to salt this thing away, yet someone kept stepping up to keep it close? Maybe, just maybe, some of these guys are starting to believe?

We’ll take a closer look at Hawaii later this week, in our usual way. And the Wulff radio show will air TONIGHT, so we’ll have our usual recap up tomorrow morning. As always, ENJOY YOUR MONDAY, and GO COUGS!

Apple Cup Primer

November 22, 2008


Still hanging in there, week after week. Great job Will and Stephanie Walker, yet again with the screen caps. There is supposed to be video of Don Pounds’ interview with Gameday to come, and we’ll try and link to that as soon as it’s available.

So Apple Cup is here. Excited? There have been so many fantastic games over the years, even last year was a real shoot-out. But no matter what happens, I can’t get 1992 out of my head. I watched some of the replay the other night from that game, where Drew Bledsoe absolutely cemented himself into legend on that crazy day.

The game was something else, with the snow and cold and all that. But one player rose above it all. Bledsoe, wow, just wow. Watching some of those throws he made in that game were truly remarkable. There was one deep 25-yard slant where he hit the WR right in the chest with an absolute bullet. And there was another deep crossing pattern in the end zone where he hit the WR in the corner for a TD with such touch and precision.

But the throw of throws, the catch of catches, was the Philip Bobo deep post, where he slid into the snow bank as he held on with one HELL of a catch. Who can forget that?

BRILLIANT.

The kid was in the zone that day. I mean we knew Bledsoe was going to make millions playing on Sundays, but to see him again on TV this week, after all these years, just stand in there and throw lasers, it really was something else. And even better, he still says to this day that even after the NFL career, the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowls, etc, the most fun and memorable game in his entire life was that Apple Cup.

The other cool thing about that game was what Don James said, after the fact. He said flat-out that WSU was the better team that day, they beat UW, no excuses. But also something else. This was only years later in an interview, but he said without a doubt, the way Bledsoe played in those conditions, the level at which he stepped up his game? It is probably the greatest individual performance in the history of the Apple Cup. Very, very cool indeed, to hear that come from him.

One other thing to take from that game? The size and strength of the athletes, on BOTH sides of the ball. To see those athletes with their speed and strength, some of those guys were just ripped. Maybe that’s where both UW and WSU have fallen a bit, in terms of their size and strength? We know we have stepped back, but UW as well. Just take the “eye” test today while watching the game, and you’ll know what I mean when I say that.

Anyway, great memories. I hope we get something special today as well. You never know, it is the Apple Cup after all, and things just seem to happen in rivalry games. Most of all, I’m just going to have fun with the game today, root for my Cougs, and hope they can pull it out and ease the sting of the worst-season-ever.

That’s it for now. We will probably have a game thread, for those of you not at the game, so drop by if you feel so inclined. ENJOY THE GAME, and GO COUGS!

Paul Wulff Radio Recap – Week Thirteen

November 20, 2008

Hmm, lucky week 13 perhaps? We’ll find out. But without further adieu, this week’s radio show, condensed-version style. Bud Nameck in the host chair for another week:

  • Bud opened the show by, of course, going right to the quotes from his press conference last year regarding UW when Wulff took the job. Paul didn’t exactly apologize for those remarks, saying “they were meant for Cougars”, something he mentioned before in the press. But he said hey, I’m the WSU coach and also a former player and a big fan. I’m not afraid of it. So why hold back? I don’t know about you, but I think he endeared himself to a lot of Cougs when he said what he said. It was, at the time anyway, a nice change from the “oh, golly gee” and a departure from the whimsical, folksy stylings of one Bill Doba.
  • Bud asked him about the practice and routine for this week, and knowing that it is Apple Cup week, are they doing anything different? Wulff said that they are trying to stick to the routine and the normal practice and preparation, but the veteran players know that it’s a special week. The rookies and other players who haven’t been in an Apple Cup don’t really understand. Even Wulff said he himself didn’t really get it until he played in one. Things are definitely dialed up a notch. And once you actually play in an Apple Cup, it’s truly an awesome event and you never forget it.
  • He said as far as their preparation, it is still a football game in terms of the x’s and o’s. But it is such an emotional game that it is always something on the coaches minds, about how to channel those emotions in the right way. However Wulff did say that overall, in the Apple Cups he was a part of as a player, they were relatively clean games. He said that the fans more or less get after it a little more than the actual players do!
  • Bud asked about the 12 noon kickoff and if that was an advantage or disadvantage? While the fans don’t exactly like it, Wulff likes the idea of getting up and getting ready to play right away instead of waiting around for the game. Another thing to consider is that they have invited some recruits in for this week’s game. Because of the early start time to the game, the coaches will have plenty of time to spend with the recruits AFTER the game. If it was a later start, that wouldn’t necessarily be the case and they could feel rushed, but not this week. A quick check of this week’s visits show Lynnwood’s Geoff Meinken, who has switched from WSU commit to “soft” verbal and is getting big love from Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. Might be a good move to get as much time as you can with this kid?
  • Bud asked about practice and the injury situations. Kevin Lopina practiced on Wednesday, so he is all set to go for the game. Andy Mattingly practiced again, and while he was a little bit limited, he is still probable to play. Tony Thompson is back at tight end, and should be set. And Tyrone Justin should return to the secondary. Not exactly magic healing waters with the Apple Cup looming, but there are some kids coming around.
  • Bud asked briefly about the ASU game. Wulff said right off the bat that they did a good job up front defensively and getting pressure on Rudy Carpenter. He was quick to point out that Toby Turpin is a big part of it, and that he has really improved as the season has gone on. The trickle-down of his return has allowed Ahmu to slide outside, and they clearly have found their best three defensive linemen. It sure sounds like it will be a three-man attack again this week, as they finally seem to have found something, ANYTHING, that actually works this year.

    Wulff said the hardest part about that game was the early missed opportunities. They had some decent drives early in the game, but couldn’t come away with anything. The missed field goal hurt their momentum, and they also had several dropped balls that could have turned things in their favor. But overall he was pleased with the defense, holding an experienced offense to 24 offensive points (remember seven of those were on a fumble return for TD).

  • Wulff touched a bit on the kicking game. Right now it looks like the job is going to go back to Nico Grasu. Wulff said they have wanted one of their kickers to rise up and flat-out grab that job this year, but it just hasn’t happened, at least not yet. But Grasu gets his chance this week.
  • A caller asked if Wulff and the rest of the coaches do any type of visits to other programs in the off-season, or even visits to NFL teams? Wulff said yes, without a doubt they will do that. They had always done that at EWU and they will do that again this year. Proximity was nice when the Seahawks trained in Cheney and Wulff used to watch their practices all the time, and took some things that they would do and use it for himself.

    Wulff said that without question, you can’t learn enough in this business, and the best way to learn is to look at what others are doing. He has a goal of taking at least one fundamental thing from these visits with other coaches and use it or adapt it for themselves. He also said that they are going to try and bring in some coaches to WSU and meet with them that way, therefore eliminating some distractions the coach might have if WSU coaches were visiting them. But they will definitely do that this year.

  • A caller asked about the high frequency of injuries this year, what’s the deal?? Wulff said they have a belief that youth and inexperience leads to a higher level of injuries. Mainly the idea is that the younger the player, the less physically prepared the player will be to handle the rigors of the PAC-10. When they are lined up across fourth or fifth-year players who have been in their programs for several years, lifting weights and eating right, they are often times over matched. Young talent needs time to develop properly, and to throw a young kid out there against that kind of size and strength can lead to injuries!

    Wulff then went again into the idea of building “layers of depth”. Having fifth-year seniors, fourth-year juniors, and third-year sophomores are his goal of the kinds of players he wants playing in games, and you build it out that way. Fifth, fourth and third-year players are usually more fit, strong and mature vs. the teams that play a ton of youth. Get the kids physically ready to play, the injuries should decrease in a big way.

  • Wulff was asked about the outcome of this game, and what it really means to the program. Wulff said something similar to what he said earlier this week, in that in reality, the outcome of this game won’t drastically alter either program. One game never makes or breaks a program. But if you win it, it can make you feel a little better in your gut! But Wulff went out of his way to say that the outcome won’t have much impact on the program overall. He said at least in recruiting, kids will rarely pick a school based on the outcome of one game. If they do? They aren’t the kinds of kids they are after anyway! Sort of like the school that is constantly changing their uniforms, and it gets reported that some recruits pick their school based on the uniforms or other things? Wulff said they aren’t the types of kids they want to build their program with anyway.
  • Bud asked about the specialness of senior day, and how this is it for key guys like Brandon Gibson, Greg Trent, etc. Wulff said that it’s different for him because he’s only been here one year, but it is also very emotional because he understands the sacrifice many of these players have made in their playing careers.

    He has been there and walked the road before, so he knows what they are going through. It just plays into the feeling of how much they would like to get a win this week and send those seniors out right in their last home game.

  • Bud asked about the game itself this week. Wulff said that he thinks some people are going to be surprised, and that he believes it will be a very good game. He said that as always in a rivalry game, you can basically throw out the records (especially this year!). It’s important to both teams, and to the fans. It should be a fun, exciting day with memories for some that will last forever.
  • Bud asked about UW’s offense. Wulff said that without Locker, they are different. But Wulff said he has seen some decent things out of Ronnie Fouch on tape. He has a strong arm, and he’s a redshirt frosh so he’s been in the program for almost two years now. He says he has the arm to make big plays, with more than enough strength to throw it deep or even across the field where you might underestimate he can get it to a certain spot. Arm strength is not an issue with Fouch.

    But again, he is young, and has a lot of freshman and sophomore wide receivers he is throwing to. While they are athletic and quick, they are also young, prone to mistakes, and it’s part of the reason they have struggled this year.

  • Wulff did have good things to say about UW’s O-line. They are big and experienced, led by Garcia up front, so they have seen a lot of things. It will be a challenge for our defense to play well against their size. Wulff then talked about WSU’s offensive line, and that he believes they have come a long way in recent weeks. He singled out Steven Ayers, BJ Guerra, Andrew Roxas, Micah Hannam and even Brian Danaher as all young players who have improved of late.

    As a fan, I have to say that I am pretty optimistic as to how the offensive line will come together in the future. There is so much youth that has been out there this year, but the core of these guys will all be returning next year and even the year after that. Another year in the system, eating and lifting and now some game experience, you have to believe these tough lessons learned this year are going to pay off.

  • Wulff then went on to talk about his own struggles they have had this year. And the first thing out of his mouth? You guessed it – TURNOVERS. They have now turned it over 35 times, and have only created 11 takeaways themselves. Yep, that’s a MINUS-24 turnover ratio, the worst in the nation and one of the worst in WSU history. Wulff said that he really believes it’s those turnovers that have led to so many lopsided scores this year, where they are literally giving the opposing team 21 or 28 points PER GAME in simply giving the ball away in terrible situations. And of course we know the trickle-down from that, where the defense is on the field a lot more than it should be, it gets worn out, then suddenly it’s a landslide. They MUST LEARN TO TAKE CARE OF THE BALL as an offense!
  • Wulff did clear up the Apple Cup “legend” about his appendix and playing in the Apple Cup. He hung it on Mike Price, who grew the legend himself. But in reality it was 2 1/2 weeks between the time from Wulff having the surgery to playing in the Apple Cup. Wulff wasn’t sure, but the last he heard it, Price was saying it was the same week or 8 or 9 days, something like that. He was sorry to spoil this “legend” but that’s the honest truth.
  • Finally, one last thing for this week. Bud pointed out that if WSU can win, it will be four of the last five Apple Cups in WSU’s favor. Something that has never happened before in the history of the series. Wulff said he was well aware of that, and that they want to win this thing, bad!

So there you have it. Actually a pretty good show this week, with more energy and enthusiasm compared to some recent weeks. I couldn’t help but come away from listening to the show that they are excited and also very focused on this game. Take that however you want, but it did seem different compared to what we’ve heard lately.

ENJOY YOUR THURSDAY, and GO COUGS!

Tuesday Rip-Job

November 18, 2008

Apple Cup WOOOO! Poor thing. At least she doesn’t need someone to hold her hair back. She’s got it covered, thanks. “A” for effort anyway.

Moving on, there is SO MUCH out there in cyberspace right now about this game, so many ways to break it down, that it’s tough to know where to go. We will hold off our preview until the usual football Thursday. So I thought it was a good idea to see what others are saying right now.

First, Sir Vince Grippi broke down the startling numbers for this one on both sides, pointing out the magic number 119, as in 119 division I teams. Among the eyesores:

Rushing offense: WSU is 115th in the nation (85.9 yards per game), UW 114 (86.4).

Passing offense: WSU is 104th in the nation (150.5 yards per game), UW 96 (177.1).

Rushing defense: WSU is 118th in the nation (266.6 yards per game), UW 116 (228.5).

Scoring defense: WSU is 118th in the nation (48.5 points per game), UW 116 (39.9).

Scoring offense: WSU is 118th in the nation (12.6 points per game), UW 117 (13.9).

Puts in in good perspective at just how poorly both of these teams have played this year. This isn’t a one or two or even three-week slump, this is an entire seasons body of work.

Howie Stalwick does an excellent job of a positive-negative look at the state of Washington State under Paul Wulff. Some decent positives, and some honest negatives as well, so give it a look. I really like what Howie highlighted here:

3. Despite a disastrous season, Wulff has landed nine oral commitments, all of whom Scout.com ranks among the top 100 high school seniors in the nation at their respective positions.

Some of you have questioned pretty much everything about this change to Paul Wulff. I know I have been generally positive towards this regime, that despite all the pain right now, he’s doing this thing the right way. Some of you have accused me of a “Pollyanna” approach, and maybe we don’t look at things with an honest eye to what is going on. But most of the changes thus far haven’t been tangible things that us, the fans, can see and experience. It’s all been behind the scenes, where the real work happens on a day to day basis, and where the success or failure of a program is really determined.

But can anyone really blame the fan base for having more than a few WTF(!) moments this year? Can anyone argue that it’s been nothing but a failure on the field? I certainly can’t. This has been the rock-bottom season of seasons, and there isn’t any way to get around that. But while the rip jobs have been coming left and right in message board and blog-comment land since mid-season on Wulff, well, what about the lifeblood of a college football program? What about recruiting? When it’s all said and done, the reality here is that this *might* turn out to be the best recruiting class, in pure “star” ratings and rankings, that WSU has ever signed. Think about that for a second – the BEST recruiting class, in this season, perhaps the worst season ever? What does that tell you about the job these guys are doing off the field?

Combine the recruiting news with some of the other off-the-field things that this staff has done, staying on players to go to class, hit the training table for meals, get their work done in the weight room, implementing the team council for discipline, etc, etc, etc? I don’t know about you, but I still believe that this is the guy, and this is the staff, to turn it around.

We heard from a good source last week that there are changes happening. Our source went to where the players eat their meals on a regular basis. Earlier in the year, he said the place was totally empty and you could just walk right in. This time? The place was PACKED, to where he had to wait to just get a place to sit. It was filled with players, and they were all loading up their plates with huge amounts of food. And the best thing is that it wasn’t just football players. All the teams were in there, including what appeared to be the entire men’s basketball team, all eating together. So perhaps Wulff is helping change some of the things in the entire athletic department?

But overall, this recruiting class could be exhibit 1-A of at least something we can glob onto in these dark days. Despite these unreal depths of 2008, these coaches are still out there working as hard as they can, selling this program and the university for all that it can offer a prospective student-athlete. Look at how hard they are working in the face of adversity. Instead of sitting back with their feet on the desk, they are working hard behind the scenes. Most of all, they are getting back to what made WSU successful in the Price era, by outworking the others and turning over rocks to find those talented, high-character types that want to be a Coug.

Finally, we heard a strong rumor late last week that suggested Jake Locker was going to be a gameday surprise from UW and actually play this week with a new cast on the broken thumb. Turns out that won’t be the case. Sorry for the false alarm. Not that we WANTED to see Jake Locker play, as he could probably just take the snap, tuck it and run all afternoon and it would still be enough. So we’ll have to get by with Ronnie Fouch vs. K-Lo or Jay-TEE.

That’s it for a Tuesday. Enjoy it, and as always, GO COUGS!

Are You Not Entertained?

October 7, 2008

Why exactly do you watch Cougar football? Is it because of your student roots, whether you are still in Pullman or a former student/alum/whatever? WSU isn’t exactly your standard “t-shirt” school, where people all over the country buy your gear. That’s no secret. Sure, we had some bandwagon hoppers climb aboard from the 2001-2003 seasons. But those that hopped on at those times have clearly hopped right back off.

My blood runs crimson because I went there, and those of you who went there or still go there can attest at the affection you develop towards the place. It’s hard to put into words, but you simply understand. And because of that affection, that love of all things WSU, is why you care, even in these dark times. It’s why you criticize or celebrate on message boards and comments, even right here on this little site. It’s why you come here, looking for something new. We do what we do because we LOVE it, that’s all.

That said, one of the worst things you can do in sports, whether it’s college or professional, is be boring. Around the turn of the century (2000, to be exact) I worked in a sports news room, where NCAA football and MLB games were logged and sports were reported on a daily basis on a web site. There were people in this news room with all sorts of experiences in the sports media, from ESPN to SI to local stations like KING/KIRO/KOMO. They all had great stories from their various walks of life, and it was fascinating to listen to all the anecdotes of what they had experienced, from all over the country and all types of sports.

But one in particular caught my attention that I’ll never forget. It was from a guy who had a ton of experience, working in the NBA and NHL. He said the worst thing you can be, in sports, is BORING! For example, the NBA model is either go for the title, or tear it down and rebuild, but don’t be trapped in “middle earth”. You know what I mean by the NBA, right? Back when there was a team in Seattle, the most times the Sonics “moved the needle” among the fanbase was when they were contending for the NBA western conference, or when they stripped it down to nothing and rebuilt towards the future with youth like a young Gary Payton or Shawn Kemp. The big losses were OK, as long as GP was throwing alley-oops to the Reign Man and getting on plays of the week. You could see the promise of the future. But those years where they would be a mediocre 41-41, flirting with the 8-seed in the playoffs and getting into the back end of the lottery?? BORING. (note – you cannot bring up the poor attendance and Kevin Durant in Seattle, as everyone knew regardless of how wonderful a player he was/is, the Sonics were history in Seattle.)

The thing is, fans get it. If you are going for it, you are going for it. If you are rebuilding, and you are playing your young talent to point towards the future, then do it and don’t be shy about it. Rebuilding can, in fact, be entertaining. It can be worth the price of admission to get a glimpse at the young talent in the pipeline, and most of all, have hope for the future.


I remember the 2000 WSU football season. A young sophomore QB in Jason Gesser getting his first crack at the full-time starting gig. It was full of potholes and wildly up-and-down performances, from awful losses vs. Stanford and Idaho and UW that year, but also some high moments like at Utah, at Cal, and even at USC(!). But the one thing I took from that team was that it was really entertaining, and full of hope for the future. That was the year of three OT losses, where these young guys played their butts off. You could see glimpses of what Gesser could do, before he went down with the broken leg. You could see a young, high-energy defense with just young kids like Isaac Brown and DD Acholonu coming off the edges. You could see promise with Lamont Thompson, Marcus Trufant, Jason David in the secondary.

Most of all, we were ENTERTAINED. They were exciting, promising, and the best point yet, the seeds were planted for an excellent run to follow. 2001-2003 are the greatest years in program history. We’ve never topped that, and we might never again. But the 2000 season meant something. It was simply part of the process, a necessary process we had to experience. We had to see them get knocked down in 2000, so they could get up again in 2001-2003. And as a fan, I know I appreciated the pain of 2000 because of the fruit harvested from 2001-2003.

I heard our own Ian Furness on KJR yesterday. Amongst the gnashing of teeth of the inept Seahawks in New York (yikes), and the husky angst over Willingham, etc, he snuck in a little info regarding WSU. He said that based on who he has talked to over the last couple of weeks, there is a real growing belief internally at WSU that they will be MUCH better the moment the 2008 season is over. There is a strong feeling that there is hope for the future, and that there are some redshirts right now, players we haven’t seen, that will make this team a much better unit in 2009 compared to what we see right now. Furness also mentioned the CAL transfers, like James Montgomery and Brandon Jones, and that they will help a lot for 2009. Combine all that with a promising recruiting class that is forming as one of the best we’ve had in a long, long time, well, the seeds are in fact being planted.

So after this long rant, I ask you – are you ENTERTAINED right now? Do you look at Marshall and see a young Gesser? Do you see Jeshua Anderson making some athletic plays and see another Jason Hill or Brandon Gibson? Do you look at all the young players on defense, with the youth at linebacker and in the secondary, and do you see some promise for better days ahead? I know I have preached for patience, and belief in this coaching staff. I am approaching the rest of the season to hope for entertainment, improvement and most of all, a glimpse at a hopeful tomorrow. What do YOU hope to take from the rest of 2008?

We’ll have a Wulff radio recap available, either late tonight or first thing tomorrow morning. Enjoy your Tuesday, and GO COUGS!

From Bowling to Bowled Over: A Review

September 17, 2008

Happy Hump Day Cougar Nation. Hope you’re having a good week.

Well, with the exception of some stragglers, we had one of our better weekend of comments that I can ever remember. For the most part, you all offered some really strong insights and conclusions. One of your remarks that stood out for yours truly concerned Brinkhater’s not-so-nimble prediction that we would finish 6th in the conference and would head to our first bowl in several years.

Obviously, I was deeply wrong about that. But beyond my idiocy, the question is “why?’

So, let’s revisit my cwazy line of reasoning.

At the start of the year
, I reasoned that we would win a whopping 7 games. Our supposed Prey: An awful Baylor, a meek Portland State, a down UCLA and Oregon State, a woeful Stanford, a Lockerless UW, and a pitiful excuse for a Rainbow: Hawaii. In short, I predicted us to lose to every team that would finish .500 or higher and beat everyone who would be .500 or lower. Not that unreasonable in my book.

As of this writing, I have yet to be swayed about the fortunes of the teams that I thought we would beat. I thought they’d be bad, and from what I’ve seen, they look pretty bad.

Of course, that begs the most important question: What happened to US?

Well, when we offered our pre-camp predictions, there were several criticisms of us. And here they are:

We had no depth at DT and our ability to stop the run was a MAJOR source of concern.

We had no depth anywhere in the case anyone got injured.

Our kicking game was ranked worst in the conference.

IN relation to those criticisms, I reasoned that NONE of the above would prove relevant over the course of the year (silly Brinkhater). Why?

1) I reasoned that “the Roof” would provide needed depth and that Trent and the Safeties would compensate up the middle. I also believed that Mattingly and Mullenix would provide sufficient pressure to draw the attention of the defense. Obviously, Roof was expelled, the M&M’s have melted in the hands of every OT they’ve seen, and our play at DT and Safety has been absolutely abysmal.

2) Our quarterbacks HAVE been the worst in the conference as predicted by Ted Miller and Benedict Bob Condotta. Of course, my reasoning for why we would be at the top instead of the bottom was because we had 4 starters returning on the O-Line, had two terrific receivers returning with one gem in the balance (Willis), as well as two FANTASTIC running backs to set up play action.

3) Wulff ran our kids into the ground. Of course, he needed to. And, of course, he should not be held responsible for Anderson’s hernia or the rest of the onslaught to the WR corps. Nor can Wulff be held responsible to the miserable injuries that affected the O-Line during camp, or the shuffling that had to take place between Weeks One and Two. In any case, all of the nice constants I thought would be there with the line and the receiving corps? No where to be found. In fact, the instability and injuries to the WR corps and the line have made our suspect QB play even worse. Moreover, those injuries crippled our development and made our performance between Week One and Two not only non-existent–it actually made us REGRESS.

4) Our kicking game is still awful. We missed a PAT in game one, had a worm burner returned for 6 against CAL when we were still “kind of” in the game, and the punting (in Game One) arguably cost us our first competitive game of the year. While I know that our kicking game hasn’t come into real play yet, if we were nearly any good, it would cost us and cost us dearly. I thought we’d be almost reliable this season, but we still have to say 20 Hail Marys even before a dog gone PAT.

So what does this all mean? Where do we go from here?

Call me cwazy, but I honestly believe that this season can be salvaged.

It may not be great, it may not be pretty, it may not be impressive, but I do think that there are 4 wins (out of six winnable games) that are there for the taking. And yes, 4-9 at this point would be a SERIOUS moral victory.

Of course, based on our play and decision making so far (yes, this does mean you coaches), there are also 10 more losses that we can easily siege!

But, here’s my recipe for making the more positive outcome happen THIS YEAR:

Pray for health for the Offensive Line.
If there’s ANYTHING that I am certain of it is that Wulff can coach an O-Line. If this group can stay healthy, they’ll develop. Given the fact that they were previewed as high as #5 in the conference, you know that they have talent in that group. So, if they develop as expected, the talent at the skill positions WILL become apparent just like Brinkhater foresaw at the beginning of the year. You saw some clues last week that things can and will get better as the WRs started to run the correct routes with more consistency. With health at O-Line, we will start to move the ball. But we really can’t afford more big injuries.

Play both Quarterbacks.
May sound sacrilegious, but this team was MADE to follow the Leaf-Dixon combo that Oregon employed a few years back. Start with the guy who can scramble to offset the blitz early (Lopina) and then mix it up the rest of the game by inserting a guy that can really spread the field horizontally and vertically through the air (Rogers). In my book, alternate the two every couple of series until one guy gets the hot hand (or not). Then ride that dude into the 4th. I actually think both guys can learn better by doing and watching anyway and I think it will make us effective over the course of a season (and yes, 10 games qualifies as a season my book) while also avoiding a split locker room.

Move to a 3-4 or 3-3-5.
This is beyond a no-brainer in my book; and I, more than anyone else in the nation, am qualified to make that very statement because I, in fact, have no brain.

In Brinkhater’s world, there is beyond 100% justification for Wulff and company to stick to their guns regarding their philosophy on offense. But where the defense is concerned, sticking to their guns makes no sense whatsoever. For one, NOTHING that they want to do with the 4-3 is so complex it can’t be taught in the spring and pre-season. For two, the current scheme does not play to the team’s strengths. For three, we CAN NOT become even remotely competitive with the status quo. For four, we are NOT as slow as we’ve seemed thus far. From what I’ve seen, we just look that way, cuz EVERYONE on the team is diving toward the center on each play to compensate for the fact that our DTs are the worst ever in school history.

To be sure, the addition of Hicks and the return of Jackson will help some, but where it will help is 7 yards down the field after the opposing teams’ tailback has picked up 8 on first down to make it second and two (instead of 1st and 10 following a 50 yard gain). I mean, I know I don’t know much, but when the other team has second and two most of the time, you gonna lose.
So, the return of Hicks in and of itself will mean NOTHING for our fortunes.

Moreover, given the fact that we have NO TALENT or depth at DT but have PLENTY at Linebacker, why in the WORLD would you sit that talent and start some fat, slow scrubs when you don’t have to?

It may not be this week, but I’d be SHOCKED to not see a change in Defensive scheme by the Oregon game. If we make the change, I like our chance to stay in games (assuming that the offense improves) with that game (the Quack) and the USC game as exceptions..
And I’d REALLY like our chances if they’d move Mattingly back to LB.

But what do I know, right?

Anywho, where this week is concerned, we will win and win handily, so you all can take a chill pill and relax–at least for this week.

Our first REAL test will be how we line up against the Quack in a couple of weeks. Granted, even without Roper, we’re gonna get blasted. But, it is the improvement we make in THAT game which will determine our fate for the rest of the year.

There are six winnable games left on our slate.

Lets get #1 this weekend.

ONE final note – Bellevue High School, the #1 AAA school in the state, and WSU recruiting target Jamal Atofau will play in Qwest Field this weekend. It’s called the “Best of the West Classic“.

It’s a full day of high school football, featuring teams from California and Washington. Here’s a synopsis:

Bellevue High School will host four football games Sept. 20 at Qwest Field, highlighted by the Wolverines playing one of California’s top teams. The Best of the West Football Classic will
feature seven Seattle-area teams, with host Bellevue playing California High School from the Bay Area (San Ramon), a team that was 11-2 last season, at 7:30 p.m.
Kamiak and Shorewood will open at 10:30 a.m., followed by Woodinville and Eastlake at 1:30 p.m. Redmond plays Bothell, last year’s runner-up in Class 4A, at 4:30 p.m.
Bellevue will play its third California team in five years at Qwest Field. The Wolverines, one of this state’s perennial powers, beat De La Salle in 2004 and Long Beach Poly in 2005. All-day admission will be $7 for students and $13 for adults.

Fat Guys Rule!

August 2, 2008

With Hawk covering off on his thoughts on the D Tackles the other day, I thought it would be a good idea to turn our attention to the other side of the line and examine what I believe to be the strongest overall unit on the 2008 Cougar football team.

Several weeks ago, we were approached by a writer from a SoCal sports blog who was looking for some insight into WSU’s 2008 football season. He asked us to contribute our thoughts on a handful of questions and we were happy to oblige. As a former “steakeater” myself (OK, my glory days ended after high school, so I was more of a “chilidogeater”) I jumped on the question about the O Line.
Here’s the question as asked:
Freshman lineman Andrew Roxas was one bright spot for the Cougars last year as he played center for the first time against UCLA and performed quite well. How is the left side of the line coming along with the return of Roxas and Vaughn Lesuma?

Like I said, this guy writes for a SoCal sports blog so I assume that’s why he has such an interest in Roxas (pronounced Ro-Hoss), who hails from LaCanada, CA. He was indeed a pleasant surprise as a true freshman. He performed admirably and got some valuable game experience but is still flying under the radar a bit in 2008. The 2007 team lacked depth on the offensive front and the emergence of Roxas was a very pleasant surprise. In my opinion, the O Line was the best-performing unit on last year’s squad and they are poised to keep that title in 2008. In fact, I think they’ll be much better this year and we look to be in great shape BEYOND 2008.

The only loss on the line from last year is the very consistent, if unspectacular Bobby Byrd. He had prototypical size for a left tackle but was actually moved to guard due to the emergence of Micah Hannam.

Frankly, we won’t miss Bobby Byrd – but there is one other departure that will be missed – Offensive Line Coach George Yarno. He was not retained by new head-man Paul Wulff, in what was largely considered a disappointing move. George is an old pro and always got every ounce of effort out of his pupils. There’s no such thing as “un-tapped potential” if you knocked heads for Coach Yarno – he got every ounce of potential out of his players and then some. Considered a strong candidate to replace Wulff at EWU, the Spokane native proved to be too big of a fish for the pond in Cheney and has landed on John Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay. We were lucky to have him and it’s a damn shame that he’s gone.

After strong rumblings that Yarno would be replaced with former Coug and current Montana State O Line Coach Jason McEndoo, Wulff chose the largely unknown (in these parts, anyway) Harold Etheridge. The last three entries on Etheridge’s coaching resume are Army, North Texas and Northern Illinois. With a collegiate coaching career that has spanned 19 years, Etheridge has a few feathers in his cap but it would seem that if were a truly great coach, he’d have had an opportunity at a BCS school before now. My sources within the program are about as reliable as the 7-day weather forecast in Seattle, but I’m told that Etheridge is having trouble fitting in with the staff.

The good news is that this O Line unit has the ability to rise above any coaching shortcomings due to the strong leadership of junior center Kenny Alfred. Alfred is a very solid, student of the game. He’s unheralded but does an incredible job of making the right calls at the line and playing his position. Only injury will keep him from post-season conference accolades.

With the new coaching staff in place and a slew of young up-and-comers fighting for spots on the depth chart, it’s probably too early to say on which side of the line they’ll line up, but the starters should be Alfred at center; Dan Rowlands and Roxas at guard; and the massive Vaughn Lesuma and Hannam at tackle.
Lesuma was the best of all the newcomers to the program in 2007. He was a steady performer all year and will likely be looked upon to anchor this year’s squad. As big as he is, he could anchor the Queen Mary. If he can improve his footwork and play quicker than his 6’5”, 329 lb frame would otherwise suggest, he has a great shot to play on Sundays in 2009. Coach Wullf seems to think so too.

Fighting for playing time and providing some much needed depth are four highly-touted redshirt freshmen: Kevin Freitag, Steven Ayers, Will Hunter and BJ Guerra (a converted D-tackle.) Sophomore Joe Eppelle and junior Reed Lesuma (Vaughn’s “little” brother), will also be pushing the incumbents. The recent announcement that new recruit Tim Hodgdon will grayshirt this year provides further proof that this unit is well-stocked in 2008. With so much youth and experience along the offensive front, this position appears to be in great shape for the foreseeable future.
The questions along the O line heading into 2007 were all about experience and depth. With those questions now answered, the biggest question heading into 2008 has to be about conditioning. The game of football is generally played with short bursts of energy followed by a “rest” in the huddle. The big guys on the line usually need that rest more than their playmaking teammates. With the new no-huddle offense, the breaks in action will be few and far between and it stands to reason that the offensive linemen will be the ones who have the hardest time adjusting to this perpetual motion. Hopefully a long summer under the watchful eye of conditioning coach Rob Oviatt has done the trick.
We’ll find out soon enough. The season kicks off in four short weeks.

Here’s to the fat guys!
Go Cougs!

Rooster’s Picks

July 29, 2008

This is a hard year to pick how the Pac-10 is going to end up. It seems like lots of big name players are coming off of injuries and you just can’t tell if they can be counted on. Cal, UCLA and Oregon State are having a hard time picking their starting QB’s at this time. Other than USC being a clear first place pick, the rest of the Pac-10 is going to be a battle and the outlook could totally change multiple times throughout the season with injuries to key personnel.

Anyway, as you’ll see I took the time to go through every Pac-10 game and try to base my predictions on match-ups with a little consideration towards home field advantage, which part of the season the game is being played and I even hedged my bet on an injury or two.

Here they are in alphabetical order with some comments on each game:

Arizona

Wins: Stanford, UCLA, UW & Wazzu

Pac-10 record: 4-5

Breakdown:
UA vs. Stanford – Close game but UA’s defense holds & Stanford’s doesn’t
UA vs. UCLA – UA takes advantage of UCLA’s week secondary & offense
UA vs. UW – UA takes advantage of UW’s week secondary – Defense bends but doesn’t break against locker
UA vs. WSU – Cougs D is depleted by injuries at this point in the season – UA wins high scoring fest

Arizona State

Wins: Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, UW & Wazzu

Pac-10 record: 5-4

Breakdown:

ASU vs. UA – ASU defense holds Wildcats potent offense well enough that they can abuse UA’s D with an almost equally potent offense.
ASU vs. Stanford – This game is way to early in the season for Pritchard to be ready to take advantage of his decent receiving corp. Stanford’s D is able to keep this one from being a laugher though.
ASU vs. UCLA – UCLA’s inexperienced O-line gets worked. ASU too strong on both sides of the ball for UCLA. Laugher.
ASU vs. UW – One guy on UW’s D-line isn’t enough to keep Carpenter from abusing UW’s secondary. Locker runs past ASU’s LB’s occasionally but, just like last year, it isn’t enough. Laugher.
ASU vs. WSU – With Cougs D depleted at this point in the season and ASU’s Shaun DeWitty now feeling comfortable at running back the Cougs take a beating at Sun Devil Stadium. Laugher.

California

Wins: Arizona, ASU, Stanford, UCLA & UW

Pac-10 record: 5-4

Breakdown:

Cal vs. UA – Cal’s strong secondary outmatches UA’s offense even without pressure on Tuitama

Cal vs. ASU – Cal’s linebackers and secondary handle ASU’s passing attack. Without Herring, who aggravates his hip injury in the Georgia game the previous week, ASU has nothing to take advantage of Cal’s week D-line. Cal upsets ASU by a field goal 3-0.

Cal vs. Stanford – If this game was at the beginning of the season I might give it to Stanford. Stanford returns a lot of guys on D but they were awful last year.
Cal vs. UCLA – Damn I don’t know. UCLA’s week O-line makes Cal’s D-line look like hero’s.
Cal vs. UW – Cal will come into this one with 6 or 7 wins on the line and playing for a bowl. Cal’s O has enough to take care of UW’s week D.

Oregon

Wins: Arizona, ASU, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, UW & Wazzu

Pac-10 record: 7-2

Breakdown:

Oregon vs. UA – Oregon’s D shuts down UA & while their offense is good enough to beat UA by 2 touchdowns
Oregon vs. ASU – Oregon’s D outmatches ASU’s especially when UO’s running back combo of Johnson and Blount take turns making ASU’s linebackers look dumb. Oregon controls the ball and finishes up with a 10 point win.
Oregon vs. Cal – These two are actually pretty evenly matched but Cal, even though their young receivers are starting to figure things out at this point in the season, can’t do enough against Oregon’s D.
Oregon vs. Stanford – Stanford’s D matches up pretty well against UO’s O but Stanford won’t be able to score on Oregon. Look for a 10 point win for Ducks.
Oregon vs. UCLA – UCLA’s offensive line is going to lose a lot of games for them and this one is no exception. Laugher
Oregon vs. UW – First game of the season for both teams. Oregon’s week spot is their receivers but they aren’t as week as UW’s secondary. UW takes a federal prison-esque type pounding in Autzen.
Oregon vs. Wazzu – Let’s assume Wazzu is still healthy at this point. Wazzu’s mediocre line matches up with UO’s partially unproven O-line. Wazzu’s secondary is a push against UO’s receivers. Wazzu’s O-line could potentially handle UO’s D-line. With Wulf it’s not a giver that Cougs will get out coached. Too bad that’s just a dream but expect Wazzu to keep it close in Pullman.

Oregon State

Wins: Arizona, ASU, Cal, Oregon, Stanford & UW

Pac-10 Record: 6-3

Breakdown:

OSU vs. UA – Fortunately for Beavs UA has no proven running backs to take advantage of OSU’s week linebacking corp.
OSU vs. ASU – Beav’s are week at the linebacker position but ASU’s O-line is their achilles heal. Still, Riley has his offense clicking at this point in the season and OSU moves the ball with short routes and a good O-line opening up an occasional hole for whomever may be running the ball
OSU vs. Cal – Like I said before Riley’s offense will be going at this point in the season. Look for the Beav’s strong O-line to be the key to this win at home.
OSU vs. Oregon – Beav’s win this one in the trenches with a complete O-line out battling UO’s D-line that has a couple question marks.
OSU vs. Stanford – First game of the year for both teams. Look for the Beav’s inexperienced running backs to get a lot of carries right off the bat with BIG help from a good offensive line. Beav’s eek this one out in Palo Alto.
OSU vs. UW – Pissed off after a loss to Wazzu, this will be the first game of a strong finish to the season for the Beav’s. Again the Beav’s O-line takes advantage of another lackluster D-line.

Stanford

Wins: Probably not

Pac-10: 0-9

Breakdown:

Stanford isn’t going to be as bad 0 wins sounds

UCLA

Wins: OSU, Stanford, UW

Pac-10 record: 3-6

Breakdown:
UCLA vs. OSU – On paper this looks as even a matchup as any game in the Pac-10 this year so I’ll say UCLA wins with the home field advantage.
UCLA vs. Stanford – Thanks to Stanfords suspect D-line, UCLA’s bad O-line won’t be a factor and Chow’s offense will be affective.
UCLA vs. UW – Other than a push at UCLA’s O-line against UW’s D-line, UCLA out matches UW in every category.

USC

Wins: All

Pac-10 record: 9-0

Breakdown:

USC vs. UA – Without a good running back and an even offensive attack the Cats don’t have a chance to score enough points to make up for their D that has no bright spots. Laugher.
USC vs. ASU – With Herring still out this game, with USC’s nasty secondary and linebackers and with USC’s running backs against ASU’s slow linebackers this one is a comfortable win for USC.
USC vs. Cal – Any signs of improvement Cal’s offense has made to this point in the season don’t make a difference. Cal gets overwhelmed by USC’s D.
USC vs. Oregon – Oregon just doesn’t have the offensive weapons to pick apart USC’s D.
USC vs. OSU – by no means will OSU’s offense have it’s act together at the 4th game of the season to be effective against USC’s D.
USC vs. Stanford – Umm… you’re not gonna see what you saw last year. This will be the same type of whooping that you would see if Don Imus showed up at a Public Enemy concert.
USC vs. UCLA – The matchup in this one point to what could be the first televised NCAA football game to have an R rating for violence.
USC vs. UW – Okay this beating will be similar to the one that Neuheisel would receive if he showed up to a Tyee Club meeting. I’m talking like a take the tennis balls off the walker type pounding.
USC vs. Wazzu – USC plays Ohio State, Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State before they play in Pullman. Their going to be tired. Wazzu will be rolling after beating UCLA and Oregon State… kidding. The only possible scenario where Wazzu wins this one is if USC decides it is worth a loss to get some rest, they forfeit the game and 35,000 fans in Martin Stadium watch Hawk and Hooty play each other on X-box on the new replay monitor.

U-Dub

Wins: Stanford

Pac-10 record: 1-8

Breakdown:
UW vs. Stanford – What the heck, I’ll give UW a win here. Later in the season Stanford’s D might come on but not before this game.

Wazzu

Wins: Cal, Beavs, Stanford, UCLA & UW

Pac-10 record: 5-4

Breakdown:

Wazzu vs. Cal – This early in the season WSU is healthy and their O-line controls Cal’s young D-line and/or potential 3-4 scheme to help Rogers’ effectively run the new offense.
Wazzu vs. OSU – Even though Wazzu’s D-line will be severly outmatched by OSU’s offensive line the Cougs offense will have a handle on the new scheme and will barely out score the Beavs in a track meet.
Wazzu vs. Stanford – Another game that Wazzu eeks out by putting a ton of points on the board.
Wazzu vs. UCLA – Cougs O-line neutralizes UCLA’s strong D-line as Rogers and the new scheme take advantage of a, at this point in the season, young inexperienced secondary. Fortunately UCLA doesn’t have an O-line that can over power a week Cougar D-line.
Wazzu vs. UW – I could possibly be gooching us here but I think this will be a repeat of last year’s game. If you ask me sure the Cougar D-line is probably going to include some freshmen and JC guys at this point in the season but look for Ball and Sears to find a scheme to work around this fact. What should also prove helpful in regards to the Cougs D is that I have to imagine, whether told not to or he decides it on his own, Locker will not carry the ball every chance he gets. He has NO back-up and UW can’t risk him getting hurt. If this is indeed the case the Cougar D can hold UW down long enough for the offense to make a mockery out of 1 defensive end, 1 linebacker and 1.5 DB’s. It’s Apple Cup though so expect your you know what to be puckered up right to the very end.

So doing the math here’s how it looks from my analysis:

1) USC – 9-0

2) Oregon – 7-2

3) OSU – 6-3

4) Cal – 5-4

5) ASU – 5-4

6) Wazzu – 5-4

7) ‘Zona – 4-5

8) UCLA – 3-6

9) UW – 1-8

10) Stanford – 0-9

Notice with the 5-4’s I put Cal in 4th for their upset of ASU and Wazzu in 6th mostly because I let my bias get in the way of making a clear minded decision in a few instances.

I can’t wait to read how crazy you guys think I am. I’ll be reading that on Wednesday by the way because I’ll be golfing all day tomorrow. But before you chime in please remember… this means nothing.