Wazzu Rise ‘N’ Grind – Looking Ahead Edition


Happy Friday Cougs, and well, we made it to the end of another week.  Our friend of the blog, "OldSavage",  has been in the driver's seat as he unleashed his week-long previews for WSU in 2013, and today he winds things down with a game-by-game look at the Coug football schedule (and even makes predictions!).  If you missed any of his previews from this week, be sure to check them out here:

Skill Positions preview
O-line and D-line preview
Linebackers and Secondary preview
Special Teams and New Faces preview

Here we go…



By OldSavage

Pressure from unrealistic expectations should not be the problem it was last year.  Almost no one is predicting significant improvement in the win/loss column for WSU.  While there are condescending comments about “certain improvement”, only Colorado is predicted to have a worse year in the conference.  Not only has the realization that Mike Leach is no Merlin finally set in (even among those who were the most effusive prognosticators last year), but terms like “bowl eligible” or “winning season” have either disappeared or are asides, spoken hushed tones.

The naysayers look at the schedule and ask, “Where will the wins come from?”   And it is conceded, this is one ugly schedule.  While it is not likely to be ranked among the toughest in the nation, it is a litany of potential “wrong place at the wrong time” games, with only five total appearances in Pullman.  The season starts with two away games in traditional power-house venues, does not include Colorado – the only conference team ranked lower in the preseason ratings than WSU – and has two bye weeks in a three week period in late October/November.  In addition, the Stanford game is in Seattle, the Arizona State game is on Halloween (Thursday, and 7:30 start time, it seems safe to assume) and the Apple Cup is again on the Friday after Thanksgiving.   I can see Job looking down and saying, “I thought I had trials – Go Cougs”

But, “Not so fast my friend”, there are some up-sides to this schedule.   Auburn is not exactly at the pinnacle of success for its program.  USC will have depth problems.  Southern Utah and Idaho are gimmies.  The Cougs seem to match up well against Stanford and Oregon, the OSU/Utah games are very winnable at home, and ASU has as much trouble winning in Pullman, in the cold, as the Cougars do in the heat in Tempe.  The rest of the away schedule is tough, but the PAC-12 always is and, if an improved Cougar team can consistently put forth the effort they did last year against Stanford, UCLA and Washington, those games are within reach as well.          


Note:  All games are subject to change in date and, of course the time of day is open on those not scheduled in the preseason.   I think it is reasonably safe to assume that the Arizona State and Washington games will take place on the date indicated.    


Game 1:  August 31, at Auburn, Auburn Alabama
Cougars are used to the heat, after practices under the sun of the Palouse in August, but the humidity is a killer. After a furious start, Cougars run through three deep at many positions and just manage to hang on at the end.  Cougars 32 – Auburn 28

Game 2: September 7, at USC, Los Angeles, California
USC is determined to make amends for last year and lack of depth is not a factor in this early conference game.   Injuries from the Auburn game play a major factor and take a toll here.  USC 37 – Cougars 17

Game 3: September 14, Southern Utah at Pullman
A walk-over, but Cougars get a chance to rest and recover, with many of the starters sitting, half-way through the second quarter.  Cougars 54 – SU 7

Game 4, September 21, Idaho, at Pullman
This is the Home Coming game, probably because it is one game where it is fairly safe to assume that it can be played Saturday afternoon.   More time for rest and recovery.  Cougars 47 – Idaho 10

Game 5, September 28, Stanford, at Seattle
Stanford manages to squeak by again with the Cardinal corners, Reynolds and Richards, preventing any of the Cougar receivers from getting really untracked.   Stanford 21 – Cougars 13 (tree green)

Game 6, October 5, at California, Berkley
Cougars shut down the Bear’s running game and score just enough to pull this one out in overtime.  Dykes defense is not ready for the Air Raid.  Cougars 27 – CAL 24 

Game 7, October 12, Oregon State, at Pullman
Beavers fall behind early, end up changing QBs and never can match the out-put of the Cougar offense.  Special teams excel, with over 120 yards in punt returns.  Cougars 34—OSU 19   

Game 8, October 19, at Oregon, Eugene
Ducks score big first and get over confident, but a wild WSU comeback, and stifling defense in the second half falls just a little short.  UO 38 – Cougars 32

Game 9, October 31, Arizona State, at Pullman
The student section comes close to drawing a penalty, after an eight hour pre-function warm up, with classes canceled for the day.  It’s a weird game on Halloween night, with the Cougars prevailing on a late Furney field goal.  Cougars 43 – ASU 41

Game 10, November 16, at Arizona, Tucson
With more than two weeks of rest and rehabilitation, the Cougars are healthy and, with Isaac Dotson leading the scout team, are well prepared for Mr. Jenkins and the Arizona running attack.  Cougars 45 – UA 39

Game 11, November 23, Utah, at Pullman
The Cougars spend the week being reminded of what the Utes did to them last year in Utah.  While the payback is not in kind, it is still payback.  Cougars 24 – Utah 19

Game 12, November 29, at Washington, Seattle (Apple Cup)
Speaking of payback – The underdog Huskies inaugurate their renovated stadium and win the Apple Cup, with a sack of Halliday, ending the last Cougar drive.  UW 24 – Cougars 19  

Afterword:  This report is not a best case scenario but it is written at a time when the good can be anticipated and the inevitable ignored.   August 31st is a long way off and that leaves a lot of time for mishaps, stupid mistakes and just plain lousy luck and I have no doubt the Cougar football team will encounter all of the above.  Even as I write, the intrepid Pullman Police Department is grinding the wheels of justice to see that no breach of decorum goes without legal consequences.  

Toni Pole has been charged with “providing false information to the police” when he gave a phony name and address during some sort of incident investigation.  (I put this in the “stupid mistake” category, considering his appearance [6-2, 300] and prominence in the area).  As I understand it, he was not the subject of the investigation and, consequently, would have no duty to tell them anything.  

Shortly after that, #1 running back Teondray Caldwell was arrested on suspicion of burglary and first degree assault.  Apparently, he is accused of smacking some guy when he was denied entry to a party.  The officers must have spent considerable time and effort figuring out how to turn a minor brouhaha into a double felony case.  (Burglary is essentially “trespass” done with the intent to commit a crime.  So, while you can contort a meaning out of the burglary statutes that theoretically might apply here, nobody with any real understanding of the law would attempt to charge burglary in a situation like this.)  Also, apparently the police could not find anyone who would press charges or cooperate in the investigation – real cops would take this cue and let sleeping dogs lie. 

Then there was a report that Logan Mayes was charged with “hit and run”.  My initial reaction was that he probably dinged a door in the Dissmore IGA parking lot and I wasn’t too far off.  Motor vehicle laws usually apply to something like, “operation …. on the public streets and highways of the state,”  and most cops will follow up, but not cite, for conduct that would be a violation if done on public thoroughfare.  At worst its “failure to leave information at the scene”.     

So that should do it.  Good work OldSavage, as this is clearly the most optimistic take on the 2013 schedule without question on the internet these days, I mean there aren't a lot of people out there calling for an 8-4 season for WSU.  But stranger things have happened, and of course, that's why they play the games!

All for now.  RISE & GRIND, and GO COUGS!