WSU Football Friday on Thursday – Stanford Cardinal Edition

Greetings Cougs, and welcome to another Football Friday on Thursday.  As Jim Harbaugh shows us all his “O” face, likely in deep thought over the perfection of his lovely wife….and Andrew Luck…?….we move forward with our weekly takes on the Pac-10 action for this week.

As usual, don’t forget the Yahoo pick’em stuff, mmm-kay?  Here’s the login info:

Group #1:
Go here.
Group: 14767
Password:gocougs

Group #2:
Go here.
Group: 16079
Password:wazzufbblog

With that, let’s belly up and give you all our thoughts for this week….

Sutra Sez:

Hello Followers.  Hope you’ve had a great week.

Well, as I mentioned last week, predicting games in the Pac-10 is getting harder and harder and harder.   While upsets are always a part of the Pac-10 landscape every year, the weird thing about this year is that, from week to week, its pretty hard to figure out who the stinking favorite is supposed to be!

So, as we head into the second half of the season( for teams that have something call a “Bye”), it will be interesting to see if we get more of a clue about the true make-up of each Pac-10 team by the end of this weekend.

Now, onto the games.

ASU 24  CAL 17.  ASU hasn’t won in Berkeley in over a decade.  And, CAL appears to be a much different team at home than they are on the road.  But, as much as I want to bury Dennis in the worst way, I just don’t see King Mediocre being able to do squat against that fast and furious ASU defense.  After all, if the Devils could hold Jake the Snake and company to 14, then I think that they’ll hold CAL pretty well.  Only some Threat turnovers will make this game close.

Oregon 51  UCLA 24.  Next week is going to be a brutal barrier to the Duck’s quest for the National Championship.  And, part of the reason why I think next week will be EPIC is because there’s a good chance that USC’s offense will make Oregon play tight.  But this week, I just don’t see UCLA having the horses to keep up.  And with a National television audience and a boisterous Eugene crowd in tow, the Ducks roll in this one.  And I mean ROLL.

Arizona 28  Washington 27.  On paper, this is a game that Washington should win.  With Foles out of the Fold, as well as a rejuvenated Jake the Snake, the Huskies seemed primed to make the type of run that many predicted (and I feared) at the beginning of the season.  At the same time, if I look at one constant with the U, it’s been a consistent difficulty in handling fast, aggressive defenses.   And while the Huskies D seems to be turning the corner a bit, here’s to thinking that the home crowd is JUST enough for the CATS to “Bear Down.” 

And the BIG ONE.

At the beginning of the year, I predicted that the Trees would win the conference .  And, while it looks like Oregon is the class of the conference, the Trees are still lurking not only as conference title contenders, they also are well positioned to receive a BCS invitation if they win out.

That said, as much as I LOVE Luck and Captain Comeback, that bye-week for them has made me question where they might be mentally. 

On the plus side for them, they’ve been able to spend two weeks fixing every little mistake from the season’s first half at the same type that they’re healed up.  And for that reason alone, I think we should all be scared.  And by scared, I mean SCARED.

On the other hand, there is always the tendency for teams to come off a bye week a bit flat.  And so, the key for us is our ability to get after it early and see whether or not we can knock them back at bit—or more realistically—make them stand still for a quarter or so.

So, when I look at the score for this game, I look squarely at our offense.  Because our line is depleted AND because we managed to score only 7 points last week,  I think that there’s some room for concern about whether or not other defenses are starting to figure us out.

At the same time, while Stanford’s defense is the toughest we’ve faced, its also not the fastest.  So, if we can manage to hold our blocks for just a little bit(and snap a few into Tuel’s gut instead of his shoe-tops), I think there will be plays down the field for us early and often. And, if we couple a few big plays on offense with some aggressive play-calling against Luck, then I think we just might hang around for the fourth week in a row.

And I think we will do just that.

Cougs lose 44-24 in a game that is once again competitive up until the fourth quarter.

Enjoy the games.   And as always, GO COUGS.

LUCASCOUG SEZ:

UCLA at Oregon:  Look at all of the factors in the Ducks favor – This is a night game in Eugene.  It is going to be nationally televised by ESPN. They are coming off a Bye Week.  Rick Neuheisel has supposedly suspended some key players.  The Ducks respond to their #2 BCS ranking by kicking the snot out of the Bruins 56-17.

Arizona State at Cal:  Last weekend I picked Cal to beat USC on the road, and the game was over before the Bears even got off the bus in Los Angeles.  Meanwhile the Sun Devils are coming off a Bye Week and the week before that, a 24-14 win at Washington.  Both teams are at a critical 3-3 overall, 1-2 in Conference Play.  The Cal defense has been great against mediocre to weak offenses, while getting manhandled by above average to great offenses.  This is not good news, considering the Sun Devils have the #15 Passing Offense and #55 Rushing Offense in the country, averaging 355 total YPG and nearly 33 PPG.  I must say, I didn’t see this from the Sun Devils just a few months ago.  ASU 28 – Cal 20.

Washington at Arizona
:  The up-and-down Huskies travel to Tucson to take on the Foles-less Wildcats.  If Jake can build on his 5 TD performance from last weekend, look for the Dawgs to record back-to-back road wins.  That is a major step in the rebuilding process of their program.  I have to believe with Foles out, Stoops will test the Huskies run defense the entire day, like he did last weekend in Pullman.  In the end, I believe the Dawgs offense will be too much for the Cats to handle.  Fun Fact, this is the third consecutive 7:15 kickoff for the Dawgs. Huskies 35 – Cats 20.

Finally, Wazzu at Stanford:  In the first of back-to-back road games, and on the book-end of three consecutive games against ranked opponents our beloved Cougars travel to Palo Alto to take on #13 Stanford.  Of course, the Cougs are the only team in the Pac 10 yet to have a Bye Week, and of course we don’t have one until after traveling to Oregon State in another FOUR FRICKING WEEKS! The Cougs have played much improved football for three consecutive weeks, a major milestone for Wulff staff, now nearing year three (if you can consider that being competitive, a small baby step,  a milestone?).  An outcome similar to the Oregon game would really be something to build on, with upcoming games at ASU, vs Cal, and at Oregon State. 

Are Luck and Co. too much for the defense to handle?  Yes.  Stanford 49 – WSU 13.

GO COUGS!

LONGBALL SEZ:

Hello Coug fans, get out your pocket book of 1001 nerd jokes, cause it’s Stanford Week!

The onslaught of highly ranked opponents continues for our Cougs and this week’s challenge comes on the road. As of right now the Cougars bowl hopes are still alive. Thats right, folks, the Cougs control their own destiny. Just win out and we are going to a bowl, baby! Unfortunately I expect the Cardinal to firmly pound the final nail into that coffin down on the Farm this weekend. While I am encouraged that our defense has finally arrived with the emergence of freshmen like Deone Bucannon and Sekope Kaufusi, I am less than excited to be facing the best offensive line, QB, and cumulative SAT scores we are going to face this season. Not to mention, we  are starting a freshman at left tackle in John Fullington. Remember how that worked out at Oregon last year? For a lot of our young players this will be a homecoming, of sorts, as Coach Wulff has made a lot of hay recruiting the Bay area. Will all the extra family and friends in attendance be motivation, or a distraction? Lets just hope we can sustain our streak of being respectable, and above all stay healthy cause we have some winnable games coming up after this one.

Cardinal 48, Cougs 14

UW @ AZ: Revenge. Its a funny thing, and as Nebraska found out last weekend its not always the forte of 18 to 22-year-olds. This weekend UW goes to Tuscon to face an Arizona team that lost in Seattle last year under bizarre circumstances. Of course, the Cats will be out for blood in this one, but they will also be without their starting QB. I think the pressure this Arizona squad is going to feel to exact revenge, coupled with the loss of their field general could make things really tough on the Cats this week. The raucous home crowd will be just enough to make a difference in this game.

Cats 38, Dawgs 35

ASU @ CAL: I’m not 100% sure right now that Paul Wulff would trade seat temperatures with Jeff Tedford. Cal is limping along through another disappointing season and Sr. QB Kevin Riley is less popular in Berkley than Sarah Palin. Yet, I just keep picking these guys to win! Sooner or later I am going to be right… right? The Sun Devils have to be confident traveling to the Bay this week after what they were able to do to at Washington two weeks ago. Still, I predict those hippies living in the trees are gonna have something to celebrate on Saturday.

Bears 30, Devils 24

All for now folks, enjoy the games and GO COUGS!

SEANHAWK SEZ:

Hey Cougs.  You know what’s weird?  I know we’re neck deep in football season, and yes, this is a football blog.  And I know the ratings in baseball have been down, in fact a lousy MNF game between Tennessee and Jacksonville beat the Yanks and Rangers on Monday night in the ratings (yes, America is bat-sh*t CRAZY over football).  But I have to admit it – I’ve been watching this Yankee-Texas Rangers series pretty closely.  While Cliff Lee has been better than pretty much every pitcher who’s walked the earth in the postseason – it’s true, look it up why don’t you – but that isn’t what has my attention.  I don’t know what’s more amazing to me right now, that the (ST)Rangers are one win from an AL pennant, or that yep, Yankee fans?  STILL DOUCHEBAGS after all these years!

And, please, tell me you’ve seen this animated gif making the rounds?

Maybe it’s Jersey Shore, and the glamorization of Guido’s (and Guidettes?) that has given them license to act like complete morons.  But wow, that reaction after fan interference, pretty hilarious isn’t it?  I especially love the fat guy in the back screaming “F*CK YOU” repeatedly.  And it’s great how the fathers and sons are sharing the moment, to the right and left, pointing out “THIS IS HOW WE DO IT IN NEW YORK!  WE DON’T TAKE NO S*IT FROM NOBODY!  I’M WALKIN’ HERE!”  I guess they feel that if they are dropping two week’s pay ($500) to sit in the outfield, they have the right to interfere?

Whatever.  So when people ask why you hate the Yankees?  It’s not Jeter, or Mariano, or A-Rod (well, maybe A-Rod), or the pinstripes.  It’s not the stadium or the jealousy over their long history of championships.  Simply put, it’s THAT guy.  I don’t want that guy to win.  In fact, I want him to lose.  And lose big. 

Anyway, on to this week’s games.

UCLA at Oregon: UCLA sees nothing but yellow tonight.  Haven’t you heard, it’s a “Yellow Out” for tonight’s ESPN broadcast?  Oregon comes in off the bye, rested and ready to continue their hopeful march towards BCS glory.  Ducks have won seven of last nine vs. UCLA.  Make that eight out of ten tonight.  Oregon 47, UCLA 17.

Arizona State at Cal:  As Sutra has been saying, King Mediocre is a huge problem for Cal.  He’s a senior, but he’s done virtually nothing but disappoint in big games, the latest a huge loss vs. USC last week.  However, this week isn’t exactly a huge game.  ASU, after all, is hardly a super power in the Pac-10.  Meanwhile, some are saying that Tedford might be in some hot water down Berkeley way?  On the surface one might think that, but Tedford has hardly been a failure down there.  Did you know he is now 70-38 overall as a head coach?  And that Cal is now an impressive 42-11 at home under Tedford?  Tedford in trouble??  I doubt that.  Meanwhile Cal has won six of their last seven vs. ASU, and I’ll go with that trend this week.  It’ll be close, but Berkeley Bears 21, ASU 20

Washington at Arizona
:  UW has been consistently inconsistent.  They partied hard after their crazy win over the Beavs, and with young teams, you have to wonder if they can rev it back up after so much was expended last week in a big home win.  Thing is though, last time UW went on the road and they looked doomed?  USC, a last-second victory for the purple-n-gold.  Meanwhile AZ is down to Matt Scott at QB, and make no mistake – this is a HUGE loss for the Mildcats.  I know our Cougs feel good about holding AZ’s vaunted offense to just 352 total yards, but that was with Nick Foles out for the majority of that game.  Stoops says they will fine tune the offense to fit better what Scott can do, but can they put that all together in a week of practices?  I doubt it.  AZ’s defense will keep it tight, but Locker and UW are the better offensive team right now, as AZ is going to sputter with the ball for most of the night.  UW 27, AZ 24.

Finally, Cougs at Stanford: I will keep this one short and sweet.  Stanford is rested after a bye week.  Our Cougs, unfortunately, are banged up and hitting the road.  Stanford has won the last two games vs. WSU by a combined score of 97-13.  Of course, 58-0 in 2008 will skew the numbers a bit.  But still, Stanford is way, way, way ahead of where we are right now.  If this was next year, I would really like the Cougs to hang tough well into the fourth quarter, and who knows, maybe just lose by a TD or two.  But not this year, and not this week.  Cardinal roll the Crimson, 54-17

All for now.  As always, GO COUGS!

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