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September 22, 2010

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - Group Warfare


Way back in the day (and I mean before Twitter and even the ol' "I Like Ike" days), the Mayan civilization used the long count calendar to plan their days, their crop planting and organizing poker night. As you might ascertain by the name, the calendar's "count" eventually ends, with the current one ending on or around December 23rd, 2012. Now, depending on who you talk to this could mean any number of things but, for the purposes of this particular article, we'll lump them into two groups: The World Is Ending So I'm Hoarding Canned Beans (herein referred to as fanatics) and Nothing Is Probably Going To Happen So Put Your Propane Lamps Away (herein referred to as the restrained).

We've lumped these folks into two groups because the Mayans also happened to predict the struggles of Cougar football the past few seasons. That's right: a civilization that disappeared for reasons we aren't entirely certain of was able to see this coming (if you don't believe me, do some research. Actually don't). No one is quite sure how to interpret their exact prediction for where this team will end up, much like the planet you're currently sitting/standing/skipping about on, but there are certainly two distinct groups of people predicting the future of this team. There are the fanatics that see this team ending towards almost certain destruction and the restrained who are reasoning this team and coaching staff can still turn it around.


I know the question you're all asking yourself: is he really going to use a colon for the third time already? The answer is yes but you're also wondering what I think about this. To tell you the truth, I lie somewhere in the middle.

You see, I understand where the fanatic folks are coming from, I really do. I've watched the team the past couple seasons play to simply not be embarrassed and fail even at that. I've watched the coaching staff plan a game in pretty much the exact same way. The coaching staff, at times, has blamed the previous regime for many of the problems they have encountered. At times, I too wonder if this coaching staff is truly equipped to coach at the FBS level.

But I also know exactly what the restrained people are thinking. Not only was the cupboard completely bare when Wulff and Co. were hired, there was no cupboard. After cobbling together a recruiting class for 2008, only now is most of the 2009 class seeing the field. Meanwhile, maybe they were game planning as best they could given the talent level they had. The culture for the players has certainly changed as well; discipline has increased and they are frequently giving all they have until the final whistle.

From both sides, I can come to a conclusion. The players Wulff wants on the field and the ones he believes will make this team significantly better are still a season away from performing as we expect. His 2008 class was thrown together in a little over a month and the redshirted talent seen in the 2009 class is just now beginning to play. The playmakers are also returning (see: freshman Marquess Wilson and his four catches of 40+ yards and freshman record tying three games with 100 yards receiving). But this team still seems ill-prepared for their games and while their at times poor execution can be blamed for even poorer showings on the field, it also has something to do with the coaching staff. While the defense has taken some steps this season, the offense seems looked in a perpetual funk and plays are not being called that maximize the strengths of the unit, the quarterback and wide receivers. Additionally, this team hasn't been able to get out of the gate quickly save for last weekend against SMU and has been outscored 1,345,654 to 10 in the 1st half the last three years (note: may not be accurate).

What we must not do is, like many arguing over the Mayan prophecies, become a fractured group. We are all Cougar fans and it's important we don't begin to bicker with each other when we need to remember what unites us is our love of all things Washington State. I have confidence that no matter what happens, everything will work out and one day, the Cougars will be back fighting for their 10th win to get to a Holiday Bowl or even their 11th to get to a Rose Bowl.

Of course, this could all be a completely moot point if the world blows up right before Christmas in 2012. It'd really put a damper on the holidays. On the plus side, no going to the gym to work off those holiday pounds for you!


PICKS:


Last Week: 7-3
Overall: 24-4


Arizona showed they belong at the big dinner table with the turkey's white meat. Cal is still at the kiddy table with the mashed potatoes and peas.

Tucson On The Rise 35, Here's Hoping Big Donor's Aren't Watching 13


Arizona State showed surprising tenacity against Wisconsin. Too bad Oregon is fathoms (leagues?) better.

We Score Over A Point A Minute 42, We Miss Jake The Snake 10


Gameday is coming to Boise to preview the Beavers getting spanked by the best Bronco team yet.

Still No National Championship Game 31, We Have The Rodgers Brothers! 21


Well, Stanford looked really good…and Notre Dame has lost to virtually the entire state of Michigan.

Jim Harbaugh: Soon To Be NFL Coach 38, Wouldn't A More Appropriate Name Be Brawling Irish? 10


UCLA unexpectedly (to me anyhow) beat Houston. This will not be the same.

Richest Booster Club Ever 48, Back Down to Earth 7


I know the Cougars made some progress last week against Southern Methodist. A few things go their way; we're legitimately talking about a team that loses by less than a touchdown or wins. But starting Pac-10 play against USC is no easy task. Although USC has shown the ability to shoot themselves in the foot (their defense and penalties) their offense has still provided just enough to get by.

Southern California 34, Washington State 17


Obscure Pick of the Week: It's an all-directional Sooner state battle!

East Central Oklahoma 21, Southwestern Oklahoma 17


Dunderhead of the Week: All Husky fans who drank the Kool-Aid but won't admit they did. You know who are and what you've done. That's punishment enough.




+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++

The 2010 athletic season is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Football, soccer and volleyball, just to name a few, are preparing for their 2010 seasons. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.


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