Excellent points in your comments, Mikey. Once again, well put. Ah, the memories of Football Friday!
Here are my picks for this week, then I’ll expand what I think happens tomorrow in our game:
UW @ Notre Dame
I have no real reason to say this, but I have a strange feeling that UW is going to battle like crazy. I have picked UW for the first 2 weeks and I’m 0-2 with them, and every expert on earth sees no reason they won’t start 0-3 for the first time since 1969. But there is something to this game, I can’t put my finger on it. Here’s why you shouldn’t like UW:
1) They gave up 400 rushing yards to the powder-puff blue last week;
2) Outside of Frederick they don’t have a single receiver that is worth a damn;
3) It’s the first road start of the career of Paus, and what a place to get your feet wet. Plus, have you actually SEEN Paus throw a pass? A glacial-like delivery and Kosar-like sidearm throw is about the ugliest I’ve seen in a long time;
4) Overall, UW looks young and dumb and don’t seem to be able to make that play to win games, and really, sure they were stopped at the 2-yard line last week, but in reality they never should have even had the ball – the refs TOTALLY and completely blew a 4th-down offsides call, as UW was clearly in the neutral zone when Olson took a knee! That should have been a first down due to penalty, and UCLA ends the game wiht the ball.
However, Notre Dame is even tougher to figure out. They lost to BY-WHO, and have wins over Michigan State and Michigan. Well, the Big 10 is REALLY down this year, outside of Purdue and Minnesota it’s a bunch of mediocre-at-best teams with serious questions marks. Michigan barely beat San Diego State at the Big House, while Michigan State lost to Rutgers….who lost to New Hampshire?!?!? Bad bad bad.
Here’s why you should like UW – the last time everyone was saying they had no chance?? That would be the last 2 Apple Cup games. Just when you think they don’t have a prayer….well….we know what happens.
Throw it all in the mixing bowl, what do you get? Notre Dame closes the deal late and wins, but UW gives them a fight. Notre Dame 24, UW 21.
USC @ Stanford
Some people see a close game here, as USC is still young on the o-line and WR’s, but not me. SC has more talent that you can imagine. Can you really see Buddy Teevens beating them????? I don’t think so. USC 45, Stanford 14.
OSU @ ASU
The Beavs got their first W last week, but it wasn’t the blowout they were hoping for. Meanwhile ASU not being ranked in the AP is nearly a CRIME. They are hot, they are pissed, and they are really good. ASU in a runaway, 38-17.
Idaho @ Oregon
Oregon wins their first game, 56-10. ‘Nuff said.
Finally, the beloved Crimson Cougs @ the Mildcats.
All I know about us so far this year is a strange sample-set. 1) We won a big one on the road in week 1 where we looked shaky, yet finished strong, 2) we looked about as bad as we have looked since the 1994 season against Colorado, and 3) we looked like the co-conference champ last week! Add it all up, what do you get?? Most likely something right in the middle.
We’re not as good as we were last week, we’re not as bad as we were vs. Colorado. We’re somewhere in the middle. As Mead loves to say, “You’re never that bad, and you’re never that good either!” It’s very true. We have that classic look of a 6-win team, with some breaks maybe 8 wins, but that’s the ceiling.
Like many of our games this year, this whole thing comes down to the 2 large issues – 1) how do we do at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball? And 2) How will Swogger handle the blitz?
For the lines, I can’t help but wonder how we’re going to handle the pressure that they will bring. They don’t have a bunch of all-americans over there, but they are at least as good as Colorado, and they had a field day with our o-line. Then again, we’ve gone back to the scheme that we are comfortable and successful with, some 2-back and a lot of shotgun, so maybe we’ll look like we did vs. Texas, NOT like Colorado or New Mexico! Word is too that Armstrong is getting healthier, so that can only help.
Defensively, you know they are going to try to run right at us. It’s the old adage, how do you beat speed? You don’t try to beat it outside, you can’t. You run RIGHT AT IT. So look for a lot of stuff right up the gut. Just hope Johnson and Howard can hold their ground and keep the guards off Derting! All I know is those guys did one hell of a job against Colorado, so I expect them to fight hard.
I predict that we’ll at least get a draw on the lines. We won’t necessarily win the battle, but I don’t think we’ll lose it either.
2) As for Swogger, you can’t help but feel good not only with the new approach to the running game, but he doesn’t have to feel like it’s all on his shoulders. He had his best game ever as a player with the 4 TD passes, and he looked really sharp last week. It’s a wonder what a young QB can do when it’s not 3rd-and-12 every single posession! Idaho didn’t bring much of a pass rush, however, as they had to keep things honest against a running game that nearly had 300 yards. So, expect a lot of New Mexico type blitzing. Can Swogger get the ball out in time? Further, will the WR’s cut off their routes properly when they see a blitz, as Levy alluded to after the Colorado game that it wasn’t all Swoggs, that the WR’s not only dropped the ball but did some bad things running routes?? Is last week a mirage, or do we get nervous as young teams tend to do on the road and fall back to poor habits!??!
The Bottom line? After what I watched of Arizona last week, before we played Idaho, even then I thought we are better than they are in all phases of the game. So they nearly beat Wisconsin, so what? They are part of that grouping of overrated Big 10 teams, they were playing without Anthony Davis and their game was delayed 90 minutes due to lightning, so that whole game was completely out of synch. Also, Arizona had a chance to win but didn’t. That can really hurt a young team’s confidence early in the year. It’s possible they’ll have a hangover from last week early on, and that is the time to jump on them.
One more thing on Swoggs. He does take care of the football. He only has 2 picks this year, one of which ESPN clearly showed was a horrible call vs. New Mexico and the ball clearly hit the grass, so while he has been a victim of drops and been a little erratic, he’s not turnover-prone. In other words, he’s looking like Derek Anderson minus the picks and fumbles! I think he has another strong game, not as good as last week, but he’ll make a lot of good decisions, the WR’s will make plays, we’ll have just enough of a running game to keep them honest, and WSU WINS, 27-10!