Football Friday on a Thursday, Week 6 of 2013

Football Friday on a Thursday, Week 6 of 2013

Cougs and Bears, a wild and unpredictable matchup.

Alright everyone quit watching that popcorn man gif over and over again. Despite the stinker against the Furd in front of dozens of somewhat devoted fans in Seattle last weekend, the season goes on. This week may not seem as big a deal as last week, but in reality this is a much more important game for the Cougs. When the season started our fragile bowl hopes hinged on a few games, and Stanford was NOT one of them. Cal most definitely is.


Last week we were throttled by a Stanford team we had almost nothing in common with. Now we face a Cal Bears squad that has some striking similarities to us, namely: they run the Air Raid (Bear Raid, if you will), they just got destroyed by one of the top 5 teams in the country, and they have some unexpected uncertainty at the QB position due to their last game. This week we are being inundated with quotes about how the true test of a team is how they respond to adversity and all that, and its probably true.


In the past we took our beatings and instead of getting off the mat, we turned around the following week and took another one. Cal just had a pretty successful coach fired for doing the same thing. This week, one team is going to reverse that trend. Is it going to be us? Is the dreaded Cal curse brought on unwittingly by the Sutra going to rear its head yet again? Our resident blognosticators chime in with their blognostications and more below the fold…


Longball’s Locks:

Last week my feelings about our chances against Stanford went on a roller coaster ride for the ages that continued well into the 3rd quarter of the game. At first glance the matchup, plus the location all spelled DOOM for our Cougs in neon letters. But as the week went on and some folks began to highlight our game as an upset special and lay out their cases, I started to be swayed. Our own Huddy and Sutra joined a chorus of upset pickers that included the venerable Christian Caple. Seriously, Caple picked the Cougs to pull the upset and that dude is a Husky! To be fair, most Huskies think that Stanford is a really beatable team with a guy named Nunes at QB, but still.


So there I was getting all fat and sassy on gallons of rum spiked crimson kool aid, just washing away all my worries. At the time, these were almost entirely of the Conner Halladay variety. But suddenly near the end of the week, it dawned on me… our defense that we are so pleased with has had a pretty easy slate so far. In fact, they had not been tested AT ALL. It hit me like a ton of bricks. We had played four teams that all fail to field an offense that could be counted on to move the ball consistently against air, let alone, hair. I started to dial back my optimism, in a big way.


Early in the game I saw little to assuage my fears. When I saw how easily Stanford was protecting their QB from our rush, I pretty much settled in for a sure loss. However, the offense started to show just enough life to give me hope of a shootout. When Bucannon intercepted Hogan in the end zone and we suddenly had the ball with little time left in the half and due to receive in the 2nd half, optimism, that fickle ol bitch,  began to creep back in. Of course it did not last and after a complete meltdown of blown coverages, turnovers, injured QBs and general 2009-style mayhem, I found myself resigned to my more dire feelings about this team and with a lot less Jameson than I had started the game with.


So after all that, this is where I think we’ve found ourselves as we near the halfway point of the 2013 season. Our offense is not good enough to produce much of anything against good defenses (Stanford, USC, Auburn) and our defense is not good enough to stop a really good offense. What does that mean for this week? Nothing less than an epic battle…

It's Cougars vs. Bears week…

Football Friday on a Thursday, Week 6 of 2013


Football Friday on a Thursday, Week 6 of 2013


I think what we are about to have on our hands is exactly what it looks like on paper… a good ol fashioned wild west shootout bonanza. Our ineptitude and strengths on offense are pretty much a wash, while we probably field the better defense. Of course, Cal is the home team, so that may be enough to cover for any advantage we have on D. That all adds up to an ESPN instant classic and a sure heart attack or two for the Sutra:

WSU 51, Cal 48 (OT)

As for the rest of the games…

UCLA 33, Utah 24

UCLA visits Utah tonight where the Utes may be closer to competing for a South championship than we realized. How does that old saying go about being a ranked team playing on the road on Thursday night? Hmm, can’t quite remember. I expect UCLA to win, but ugly.

Oregon 55, Colorado 21

The Ducks roll on in soggy Colorado.

ASU 28, Notre Dame 24

In the battle of the overrateds, ASU proves to be slightly more worthy.

Washington 35, Stanford 33

Wilcox will cook up something just good enough to hold off the Trees and Sankey keeps the Stanford D honest allowing the Dawgs to strike deep. I am almost certain that the Dawgs will win one of these next two games against the pole favorites in the North and there ain’t no way they beat the Ducks, so this is the one. Sark to USC rumors will explode after this, and he will use that to negotiate a major pay raise out of UW even though he isn’t actually on USC’s short list.

Enjoy the games folks, and Go Cougs!


SeanHawk Sez:



Happy Football Friday on Thursday Cougs.  Can you believe that after this week, we're ALREADY halfway through the 2013 season??  Please tell me where does the time go and why does it go by so fast!?  For as the MLB Postseason has picked up, it struck me watching some of the Tribe-Rays last night that baseball is just too long.  Football season is to be cherished for it's weekly event feeling during the season, and it's no secret as to why we all love football while baseball falls down the ladder this team of year, even if it is the postseason in the old past time – America loves big events, and we love watching strong guys beat the crap out of each other every week!

But enough of that stuff.  I picked the Wahlberg confusion pic today because that's how I felt for much of the WSU – Stanford game.  I kept thinking going in to it that 1) Stanford would ground-n-pound, and 2) it would be a tight, tough, competitive game all the way to the end.  We all know what happened though, and I along with many in the WSU universe were taken by surprise by the aerial assault and the margin of victory.  After an OK first half the wheels just came off, and by the end of the third quarter it was the all-too-familiar Paul Wulff era feeling of garbage time, garbage yards and garbage points against a far superior opponent. 

No, I don't want to go back there.


The good news to take from Saturday and at least to take from the majority of what we've seen in 2013?  The days like we saw vs. Stanford are going to be far and few.  Outside of what will probably/likely(?) happen vs. Oregon, I can't see another game going the way that one went against a truly outstanding Stanford football team.  

One quick thing, don't forget about the Yahoo pick'em if you are in the pool.  Here are the details:

1) Go to this link

2) The group ID is:  14820

3) The password is:  gesser17


Week 6 picks:


UCLA 40, Utah 21

I am a big believer in UCLA and their W at Nebraska just won't get out of my mind.  Utah is tough at home, but nothing like going in to Nebraska and putting up a bunch of yards and points in one of the toughest road trips in college football.  Bruins roll again on the road and start to look like the class of the P-12 South (and headed for their 3rd straight Pac-12 title game??).

Oregon 68, Colorado 16
The Ducks get up early and just do not take the foot off the gas for the full 60 minutes.  Colorado was exposed with their lack of speed last week vs. OSU but it'll be much, much worse this week.

ASU 38, Notre Dame 26
Weird game, in Jerry World and the world's largest big-screen TV.  I am still in shock that ASU put up 62 points vs. that bad ass SC defense last week?!?  I guess that was less about the talent SC has on D, I mean they are a bunch of NFL'ers running around out there, and more about the fact that the team just laid down on LAME Kiffin and decided enough was enough.  Anyway, ASU keeps moving the ball against an unimpressive Notre Dame team coming off a game where they gave up 35 to Oklahoma at home.  

Stanford 31, UW 24
I can certainly see the arguments in UW's favor, and there are some out there who are picking the upset here.  But while I have been big on UW this year and have been saying they are going 9-3 since January, I have personally never liked this match-up for the purple-n-gold.  Stanford looks like a legit national title contender and have the look of one of the most complete teams in the country.  I mean seriously, what don't they have?  I guess some big-time playmaking speed on the outside on offense is one area they don't exactly move the needle, and their secondary has some issues (but seriously, what team outside of Alabama has a bunch of big-time DB's?  It seems like a strong secondary is becoming a rarity in college football!).  UW hangs tough though and the senior QB element with Keith Price and the running game with Bishop Sankey will keep them in it until the end.  And Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a tough matchup for anyone, including Ed Reynolds of Stanford.  But in the end Stanford and Kevin Hogan make a few more big plays, and Stanford takes it at home.

Finally, the Cougs.  Honestly this entire week I have NOT been able to sort this one out in my head.  But slowly I've been taking a look and it seems to be getting clearer by the moment.  I know Cal has had their doors blown off by really good teams in Northwestern, Ohio State and Oregon, but they also showed they could move the ball and seem to be taking to Sonny Dykes and the new offense.  They have scored 30 or more points in 3 of their 4 games, minus the 55-16 disaster in Eugene last week where Cal had trouble holding on to the ball in the rain, ala the slippery bar of soap in the shower.  Think Dave Krieg (old schoolers know exactly what I mean, while the youngsters are like "who?"):

Anyway, the negative on Cal is that they haven't really stopped anyone – and I mean ANYONE, including Portland State – in 2013.  That's right, the PSU Vikings had the Berkeley Bears on the ropes before Cal was able to salt it away at home and they hung on for their lone W of the season.  But the Vikes hung up 553 yards and 30 points, at Cal.  How can a healthy-enough-to-play Connor Halliday and the rest of the WSU offense look at that and NOT think anything other than it's time to go in and take care of business against these guys?  And to top it all off, Cal's awful defense this year is now without some of their top defenders, including defensive end Chris McCain who was just kicked off the team?  

One of the things I've noticed is the tone that Mike Leach and the rest of the team have set in the media this week.  They don't sound like a team that is 1) happy to have "hung around" for a half against Stanford last week, and 2) like a team that is settling in to the hang dog looks from 2012.  I believe we find out a lot about this team this week, and I will say this much – if there is ANY hope of postseason play, this is simply a game they have to win.  Period.

And in the end, I think they will.  The Coug Air offense gets it rolling in the second half, and in shootout fashion WSU finally beats Cal for the first time since 2002.  WSU wins it, 45-35.   GO COUGS!


Burning Snowmans Says:

Burning Snowmans Bold Statements

I joined the yahoo pic’m group late this year, but you’ll notice that besides drinking the Kool Aid and choosing WSU over Stanford I’m perfect so far! Man am I good at this! Let’s see if that streak can continue into the second week of conference matchups.

UCLA at Utah
UCLA is pretty good at this football sport. Utah is less good. I’m taking the Bruins 35-17 over the Utes.

Oregon at Colorado
While the improvement in Colorado is vast from last year, those strides will not be enough to challenge the mighty O. The Ducks in a laugher, 66-10.

ASU at Notre Dame
Last Saturday I found myself watching Pac12Net’s “The Drive” and really being impressed with the attitude at Arizona State. Todd Graham seems to have found a nice home there and Sparky is playing pretty good football right now. ASU 34, ND 24 in a very physical football game.

UW at Stanford
Matchup of unbeatens in Palo Alto, but one team will come out on top and it won’t be the pups. Last week showed us how good Stanford really is, this week will cement it. The Furd 45, udub 25.

WSU at Cal
Does WSU want to make a bowl game this year? They must beat Cal. Will they beat Cal? Yes, yes they will. Sonny Dikes has momentum at Berkley, but they’re at the spot we were last year and we’re at the spot we are this year. Especially with the somewhat QB controversy there and the lack of a defense, this team just isn’t there yet. I expect to see the WSU offense pick it up (with either Halliday or Apodaca at the helm) after a dismal showing last week, WSU wins 45-15.


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