Brink getting good ink; weekly picks

Good read from the TNT on Brink:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/story/5218405p-4741255c.html

Every week it feels better to know that this is Brink’s team. He sure has had some positive write-ups lately, and for good reason. Check out the picture of Brink in action last year in the article vs. the picture below this year from the Idaho game. Physically you can see the difference in just one year, and that 10-15 lbs isn’t just lip service.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how he plays with the whole return-to-OSU theme, the site of his first (and worst) start. He’s completely different in every way, mentally, physically, you name it. Oh yeah, his team is a hell of a lot better too! Add in some of the Beavs name defensive players they lost, again (Meeuwesen, Browner, Arick Anderson, Swancutt, two starting LB’s) AND the fact that the Beavs have struggled like crazy to keep the opposing team out of the endzone, you HAVE to like our chances! Hey, win or lose, at least we’ll have a better idea of where we are after this one.

Also sounds as though Don Turner and Dada will both play, with Dada getting the start. Both returned to practice yesterday per Cougfan’s premium stuff. Also they have moved super-athlete Michael Willis to corner, which is out of necessity. Pretty amazing that this 6-3, 225lb kid can play every position but d-tackle on defense! Man, that 2005 recruiting class, in a couple of years we’ll look back and just be amazed at how many of these kids are starters. Usually in a class of, say, 25 kids, less than 1/2 ever even turn out to be starters, maybe 3 or 4 are possible all-conference picks, and the rest are either backups, flat-out leave the program, or never even make it academically. I have some signing class info from the 2000 – 2002 seasons, and it’s interesting to see some of the names and some of the comments about those players. I’ll find that stuff and post it next week.

I’ll say this though – EVEN if we lose, we can’t lose sight of the big picture. We still have an excellent chance of being 5-1 after our first 6 games. With Stanford next week, that should be a game we win, and then with UCLA, well, they never play well in Pullman and the crowd will be bananas, so we have a good shot at that one too. Mid-October is usually about the time UCLA starts their mid-season struggle, so we might be catching them at a good time. They play Cal the week before they travel to Pullman, too, so who knows.

In other words, I’m going the other way in regards to how important this week really is in terms of MUST-WIN. Every year, we always seem to win one when nobody thinks we will (@ UCLA last year for example) so who’s to say we won’t beat Oregon or ASU at home in November, or we can’t sneak in to Berkley and pull out a win. That’s why they play the games, right? As Beano Cook always says, if the favorties won every week then life would be boring.

In my mind, it’s more important that we play well and whatever happens on the scoreboard, happens. If we play really well yet lose a close game, that still will bode well for the rest of the season. Even though the Beavs have struggled recently, Corvallis is still an incredibly difficult place for our Cougs to win, and we haven’t won there since 1996. This game is the defining moment of the season, though, not in terms of winning or losing, but, if they come together under adversity and say, rally from a huge deficit only to fall short for example, that could still be ok for the rest of the year. Just keep it all in perspective and remember there is A LOT OF SEASON LEFT AFTER THIS WEEK!

This week’s Pac-10 games:

WSU (+2) @ OSU – Cougs 38, OSU 34
UW (+21) @ #20 UCLA – UCLA 33, UW 27
#1 USC (-16) @ #14 ASU – USC 41, ASU 37
Oregon (-7) @ Stanford – Oregon 38, Stanford 20
Arizona (+16) @ Cal – Cal 31, Arizona 19

Two national games:
#13 Notre Dame @ #22 Purdue – Purdue 30, Notre Dame 27
#5 Florida @ #15 Alabama – Alabama 23, Florida 21