It's an odd feeling really. I'm actually looking forward to the Cougars' football game tilt this Saturday with Colorado. I say an odd feeling because it has been an awfully long time since I was excited for the Cougars to play. And given the results of the last few years, many (if not all of you) can see why. But this team seems have finally turned the proverbial corner and now, I want to see them carry that through with a victory over Colorado on Saturday.
But perhaps more importantly, we are now a quarter of the way through the season. That means it's time, of course, for the Park Bench Cougars Of The Quarter Awards! We would've had the results in last week's column but we were still tallying up the votes from voters all over the vicinity of my apartment.
Best Make-Up: Marshall Lobbestael
Jeff Tuel's injury was ugly; ugly in the sense that it had the potential to really put a damper on the season. But Lobbestael isn't the same red headed signal caller we all knew and we're mortified over every time he threw the ball from a few years ago. Sure, he made mistakes against San Diego State but by and large, he's improved leaps and bounds past where he was just two years ago. This Lobbestael just looks different. And he may not be Tuel, but he sure looks somewhat like him.
Best Original Screenplay: Marquess Wilson
I could give this to Todd Sturdy but it's really Wilson who makes the plays happen with his legs and the ability to miss tackles and just outrun defenders. At times I am a little worried Sturdy may be using this play too much but then I remember as long as the blocking gets there, Wilson should probably be able to break for about a billion yards off screen passes this year (Note: billion may be a bit of an exaggeration).
Best Costume Design: Nike
I'm going to give a little credit to Phil Knight's boys here. I am in love with the new uniforms. And I'm hoping the all-grays are worn on homecoming against Stanford because I purchased one and I haven't yet found away to keep the ladies from being attracted to it like Rosie O'Donnell to cake. Seriously, these things are absolutely gorgeous. I've asked my fiance if I can wear it instead of a tux at our wedding. I'm still currently sleeping on the couch.
Best Actor in a Leading Role: C.J. Mizell
A year ago, this guy didn't get it. He was lazy off the field, assuming his talent would be what got him his playing time. I was worried he was never going to get it. This guy has more raw talent than just about anyone on the roster. And this year, he finally did. He's chirping at practice. He's getting more involved with the coaches. He was even selected as a captain for the UNLV game. Mizell has flipped his attitude around 180 degrees from where it was last year and that is incredibly refreshing to see.
Best Original Score: 59-7
It would've been a shut out against UNLV had it not been for those pesky kick off returns. At the end of the day though, this was a result I was incredibly happy with. In the past couple of years, the Cougars didn't do this to bad teams. In fact, they we're barely able to beat them. I'll absolutely take it as a sign of progress that the Cougars were able to absolutely bury a team they were supposed to absolutely bury.
Best Visual Effects: Rickey Galvin
I really don't think we've seen Galvin at his full potential yet. He's only carried the ball a hand full of times but when he does. He has an ability to make defenders miss the Cougars haven't seen since Jerome Harrison was in the WSU backfield. I'm absolutely not adverse to giving him the football 20 times a game as long as his smaller frame can shoulder the burden of running that much.
Most Marquess Wilson-ish Performance: Marquess Wilson
Fine, it's not a real Academy Award but it should be. The thing that amazes me is I think some Cougar fans still don't understand what an incredible asset in Wilson the Cougars currently have in their possession. Perhaps the most striking thing about Wilson is that he earned Freshman All-American status last year while playing part of the season at the tender age of 17. At the end of this academic year, he won't even be out of his teens. That's absolutely outstanding. He has so much room to grow into a better, more complete (if that's possible) player.
Please Come Back Soon, No Seriously Like Now Award: Jeff Tuel
Lobbestael has been a better replacement for Tuel than I think any of us could've expected. But he's not Tuel. This march towards a bowl game would be a lot easier with Tuel at the helm for all of it.
Last Week: 4-1
Arizona looks bad on a level I don't think any of us expected. Damn I wish we played them this year!
USC 41, Arizona 21
So….uh…is Oregon State allowed to just not play?
Arizona State 34, Oregon State 0
Same as above, just sub UCLA for Oregon State. Also, I was wondering Stanford…..could you do me a favor? Injure every single UCLA running back please!
Stanford 35, UCLA 14
Utah is a much better team than anyone expected and they have the best defense and offense the Huskies will have faced all year. And it's in SLC.
Utah 28, Washington 17
This is tough. Again. I was not pleased at all with the Cougs' second half performance against SDSU. And Colorado, although they aren't good, I still think they are on about the same level as WSU. Things helping WSU: banged up Colorado secondary, Colorado possibly looking towards Stanford instead of focusing on WSU. Things not helping: Colorado's front seven, Colorado's passing attack. I'll say this: if Marshall Lobbestael doesn't turn it over, WSU will win. There's your difference. Plus, SDSU is a much better team than Colorado.
Washington State 27, Colorado 21
Obscure Pick of the Week: Holy Missouri directional schools Batman!
Missouri Western 31, Missouri Southern State 17
Dunderhead of the Week: Dan Shaughnessy at the Boston Globe for saying if the Red Sox finish this collapse and don't make the playoffs, it'll erase the 2004 and 2007 championships for the fans. And there is no worse place in the world to be a sports fan than Boston. OH GEE I DON'T KNOW DAN MAYBE A SEATTLE SPORTS FAN!!!!!!!
And, of course, John Buccigross.
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The 2011-12 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 playing their 2011 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.