This week we mourn the loss of the greatest (creepiest?) voyeuristic experience Coug fans have ever had as Mike Leach has banned twitter. No longer will we be able to know everything every player is thinking and doing at any moment of the day. It seems that despite a seminar on the risks of social media, some players demonstrated the extraordinary thickness of their heads by continuing to tweet things that were offensive and irresponsible. For some of us older folks it can be hard to wrap our heads around the absence of caution young people use on social media. I used to employ up to 60 college students at a time in a previous job, and let me tell you, we were constantly flabbergasted by their complete inability to understand the risks associated with social media. One of my favorite examples was a student who called in sick, then proceeded to update us via twitter about all the fun he was having at the lake with his friends. Another student invented an elaborate excuse for a series of absences that involved a sick newborn niece who eventually died. Via the wonders of Facebook, where she had “friended" me we were able to see quite clearly that her “newborn niece” was actually a toddler, living in another state, just starting preschool and very much alive. Incidents like these were not exceptional, they were the rule. We tried to explain these things to our students in as plain of terms as possible, but it went straight over their heads. They literally have no functional concept of privacy. This experience alone makes me want to applaud the decision coach Leach made this week. However, I am not sure what it will accomplish since it is easy for players to just send similar messages via facebook, or other social media outlets. You also have to wonder, will this inevitably lead to loss of players as somebody decides to test the rule? Will this affect recruiting (gawd, I hate having to ask that, but its true.)? I guess we’ll see.
One thing is for sure, we here at the WSU Football Blog are unaffected by this new rule and will continue to bring you the best predictions the internet has to offer. Our picks for this week after the jump…
If you are following our Cougs to Palo Alto this weekend, be sure to read up and be prepared. You don't want to miss Jim Plunkett's tailgate. This week we take our quarterback carousel down to The Farm where a very physical Cardinal team awaits us. This is concerning, because physical is one thing our Cougs are not. My keys to this game can be summed up in two words… Jeff Tuel. We really need Tuel to rise to the occasion and have the kind of game that can put this QB controversy to bed for good. So far, in relief of Halladay the last two weeks, Tuel has been steady, but has not shown enough to get this team over the hump and into the win column in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal are likely to feed our defense a steady diet of tough runs and long drives so it is going to be imperative that Tuel can lead our offensive on some sustained drives that give our defense a break and end in points. Meanwhile, our defense needs to be much tougher against the run than they were against Cal. They must force some passing downs where they can put pressure on Nunes and hopefully get him to make some mistakes. Can they do it? I think it is an awfully tall order on the road, but a rested and healthy-ish Wazzu makes it closer than most people think… Stanford 31, Cougs 21
ASU 38, UCLA 35 (OT)
ASU has got to be stinging a bit from falling so flat in their much anticipated matchup with Oregon. They get things back on track in a thriller against the Bruins.
Oregon 63, Colorado 17
The schadenfreude for Lucas Coug continues as the Buffs take another severe beating.
USC 44, Zona 35
Matt Barkley had a QB rating somewhere near a million last week. Zona looked awfully good against UW. This is going to be a whale of a game, but I am giving the edge to the Trojans and the arm of Matt Barkley.
Cal 28, Utah 17
Utah just cannot muster much offense, no matter what they try. Like most Utah games, this will be ugly, but Cal is going to pull away eventually.
UW 33, Beavs 24
Two teams going in opposite directions clash at the Clink where the Dawgs rally after a week of epic handwringing and soul searching on Montlake. Not quite a fatal blow to the Beavs title hopes as they can still claim a spot in the championship game by knocking off the Ducks.
Wow, another week of great matchups. Enjoy the games and GO COUGS!
Greetings Cougs, and a happy Football Friday to you and yours. No, that's not a picture of me, but I just thought who wants to look at my ugly mug for another week? Besides, I really like this picture for a few reasons: 1) It's cool to see that Natalie Portman was at a college football game, as she decided to take in the Baylor-UT game last week; and 2) Natalie Portman looks like she is recovering nicely after the birth of her child, eh? Keep up the good work Nat, can't wait for THOR 2! 3) Finally, there is a really fat leg just behind her, which is kind of a major contrast to the whole thing. Just pointing that out, I guess.
Anyway, I also show a pic of Natalie because for some reason I thought she was Stanford-educated? It turns out she actually went to Harvard, but hey, I've come this far. Might as well use it. And she's regarded as being really, really smart. Not Stanford smart, our opponent for this week, but she's Harvard educated which is pretty damn smart!
Where was I? Oh yeah, on to the picks for this week:
UCLA 33, ASU 24
I actually think ASU is pretty good this year, and even after getting their doors blown off early vs. Oregon they fought hard in the second half. Sometimes it's those moments when it's clearly hopeless and yet you still don't lay down? Those moments can sometimes define a season and set you up for a nice run of success. But I think UCLA is better than ASU, pure and simple, and the Bruins get it done.
Oregon some big number, Colorado a much smaller number
I could throw up a number here, but does it really matter? And as of last check, the line is at 45.5 for the Ducks – and believe it or not, it's the BIGGEST in-conference point spread in the history of the conference! Oregon is really good, and CU is really bad….but honestly, is CU as bad as WSU, circa 2008? I mean back in '08, we were celebrating if we completed a frickin' pass, and if we scored?! PARADE DOWN MAIN STREET, led by Longball! I actually think the Buffs cover, but still lose by, oh, I don't know, 40??
USC 38, Zona 27
I smell some good offense here, but I think Zona might struggle a bit in the second half as they go against those SC athletes on defense. Rich Rod is doing a nice job, and it helps to have a senior QB who fits your offense to a T in Matt Scott. But SC pulls off a nice W here.
Cal 30, Utah 13
Cal bounces back with some nice offense after a weak-ass Big Game, while Utah still scratches and claws for something, anything, on offense.
UW 28, Beavs 24
I have to admit, I have been feeling this upset since Sunday. I think the oddsmakers have it right too, I mean you have a UW team struggling in the midst of a losing streak while OSU is off to their best start since electricity or something? Anyway, Sark has shown the ability to circle the wagons, as in his first two years he got the team off the mat when all looked lost. I believe UW has their issues, but at the same time I just have a feeling that OSU spits the bit in this one.
Finally, the Cougs – Earlier in the week I thought we were going to get blasted. Then I read some really good breakdowns over at Cougcenter, in regards to the offense. And folks, let me tell you that I am ENCOURAGED by what I saw! There is progress being made, even though the Cougs are behind other conference teams in sheer talent. Jeff Tuel DOES look better, in fact the Cal game was the best he has looked since, I guess, the first half vs. EWU when he really didn't even look that good? What I'm saying is that was the best Tuel has looked under Leach, and you can see from the Cougcenter breakdown that progress is being made.
But it's still a ways to go here, isn't it? So in the last day or so, I couldn't get the thought of the BYU game out of my head. It just feels like a physical mismatch in this one, especially up front on both sides of the ball, and that's where my optimism wanes. I do think we'll see the offense move the ball in good chunks, and we'll even score into the low-20's this time. But it won't be enough, as Stanford pounds the ball on the ground on O and makes enough plays on D to slow the Coug O down. Trees 37, Cougs 24.
Enjoy the games, and GO COUGS!