Rising to the Level of the Competition

So much cuter when they lose.

First of all I would like to say to the gentleman in front of us at the Apple Cup who began talking mountains of trash even before kickoff and didn’t let up until Furney’s kick sailed through the uprights in overtime… HA HA HA HA HA! F YOU! Sorry, but you got out of there so fast, I didn’t get a chance to tell you that. I would also like to commend the group of Coug fans sitting in front of this gentleman who were as drunk as you can be and still be awake (They actually left at halftime and returned even more drunk. How the hell did they find their seats?) Extra kudos to the lady who was so drunk that she climbed onto the bleacher in front of us, turned to Amieable and I and asked “Where’s that Husky guy who was sitting right here?” Yeah, she was sitting right next to him. None of them were younger than 50. An even better Apple Cup memory and a glimmer of hope for 2013 after the jump…

Besides the unintentionally brilliant comedy show being put on by the fans in our section, this Apple Cup will always be one of the most memorable. Husky fans may joke that we win so few, ALL the wins are memorable, but I promise them, I barely remember anything that happened during our 2004 triumph. This years game, with its mercurial ups and downs was one for the ages. Deep in the darkest depths of the 3rd quarter, when time and time again we gifted the Huskies possessions deep in our own territory; when all seemed lost and the victory celebration in the East end zone was well underway… I gave up. I didn’t leave the stadium, but I slouched into my seat, covered my ears and gave up. I couldn’t believe we were collapsing like that on our own field! I exhibited the kind of zombie basset coward corpse behavior that would get me benched by coached Leach. Luckily, Jeff Tuel was having none of it. And despite my pleas from the stands after his blooperpalooza, Brett Bartelone refused to quit the team in disgrace. Gino Simone refused to just call it a career and ride off into the sunset. Carl Winston tightened his chin strap one last time. Logan Mayes decided the time to step out of his fathers shadow and create his own place in Cougar lore was now. Toni Pole made sure his sneakers were laced up good and snug and Andrew Furney still had nothing but straight ice water pumping through his veins. Coons had no chance to make that field goal. You could feel it. The Husky sideline Chainsaw dance had lost all its magic (Seriously, are they auditioning for River Dance? The Husky sideline is an embarrassment beyond words.)

Since I have the hips of an 80 year old man and the courage of a baby giraffe, I was a bit late getting down on the field to join the celebration. Amieable, on the other hand, was over the rail and hugging Jeff Tuel before Furney’s kick landed in the stands. Once I did make it down there I had one goal in mind, find fellow Pullman High Greyhound Jared Byers…

Beards. What can we say, wheat ain't the only thing that grows on the Palouse.

My life is now complete.

With the celebrations on the field and at the Sports Page Tavern still ringing in my ears, its time to start looking ahead to the future. Are we on the right track? Is our long awaited return to bowl season just around the corner? While 3 wins are hardly enough to keep us from smelling the bottom of the same barrel we scraped during disastrous 2008 and 2009 campaigns, there is one telling characteristic of this season that has me seeing a glimmer of hope for 2013 and beyond. We were very competitive against all the ranked teams we played this year. In fact, all of our stinkers came against the worst teams on our schedule. We competed very well with both Oregon schools away from Martin Stadium and really had the Beavs on the ropes much of the way in Corvallis. Against Stanford we again went blow for blow with one of the best teams in the country and had an opportunity very late to win that game. UCLA is the champion of the Pac-12 South and after a calamitous 2nd quarter we rallied to erase a huge deficit in a game we would have won going away if we played 5 quarters. Then there was the Apple Cup. Again, we put ourselves in a big hole in the 3rd quarter, but by the end of the game we were clearly out-playing the Huskies and when we stopped gifting them the ball, they couldn’t hang with us. There is an argument to be made that the only thing that kept both UW and UCLA from getting blown out was our own penchant for errors. Still, here we are with just one win in the those 2 games despite dominating 6 of the 8 quarters of football played.

On the way out of the tunnel I ran into a couple strength coaches I had the pleasure to hang out with in Salt Lake. I hugged them and yelled at them to get to work to make sure it happens again next year. One of them looked at me and said, “It starts tomorrow.”

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and a memorable Apple Cup. GO COUGS!