Cliches are things I love to use incredibly often. They are a rather large portion of my vocabulary. Many hands make light work, a common phrase I learned from my father who constantly encouraged my sister and I to come and help muck horse stalls. Through thick and thin, hopefully something that doesn't refer to wild weight cycles in a person's life. So why not use a cliché to describe the Cougar football game against Hawai'i this coming Saturday.
This one is a must win. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Despite the fact that the Warriors are favored, the Cougars absolutely have to get the victory in this game. For many reasons but mostly it's a psyche thing. You see, the Cougs haven't beaten a Division I [now FBS] opponent since the 2008 Apple Cup when they beat a team that couldn't even muster a win all season. Before that, the last time they beat a Division I opponent was….the 2007 Apple Cup. After a better performance against Stanford last Saturday, the Cougars need to parlay that performance into a victory.
The Cougars match up better against the Warriors perhaps better than any other opponent all season. For one thing, the Warriors have no semblance of a running game. Although the pass defense hasn't been a strong point of the Cougars this or last season, it's certainly in better shape than the running game. If the defensive lineman can put a little pressure on Hawai'i quarterback Greg Alexander, you could see a lot of bad throws and some possible turnovers of which the Warriors committed five against Central Arkansas on Friday. Since the Bows won't be putting the ball in the hands of a running back, you only need one linebacker to stay at home to protect against a decent running Alexander.
This is a Hawai'i offense that struggled to beat the University of Central Arkansas in Honolulu. Central Arkansas just made the jump from Division II to Division I-AA [now FCS] and Hawai'i struggled to get by them, needing a fourth quarter touchdown to overcome UCA. There is no reason why a better performing Cougar defense shouldn't hold a one-dimensional offense to only a couple of scores.
Not that the Cougar offense shouldn't do well either. The Warriors' defense might be in a more sorry state than their offense and for a recently rejuvenated running and passing game this will be a test the Cougars should pass with flying colors. The Warriors gave up 270 yards of offense including a 186 yards through the air against a sub par offense. The Cougars balance of rushing and passing should be able to carve up the defense after grabbing 349 yards of offense against a pretty stout Cardinal defense.
All of this should happen. The Cougar offense and defense should do enough to beat the Warriors and give them a good boost going into their next game against SMU. But what if none of this happens? What if the Cougars go out on Saturday afternoon and lay an egg at Qwest Field?
In front of all the alumni and students who travel almost 300 miles to see the game, losing to Hawai'i should probably be considered a disaster. The Warriors are a team that is on the verge of becoming the joke of the WAC and losing to them is going to say way more about the Cougars than the Warriors. It will tell us the Cougars haven't come nearly as far as we may have thought they have. It will mean this team has even further to go than most people could've ever imagined. And perhaps worst of all, it could mean they go without a win in the 2009 season. This could be the last time in a while the Cougars play in front of wealthy alumni in Seattle and a loss could mean losing incredibly crucial cash for a stadium renovation or overall athletic department funding.
Win and win well and the season looks a little brighter. Lose and this team may be in the deepest, darkest trouble just about any one can remember. Perhaps calling this game a must win is a bit of understatement.
Total, complete and utter need to win the football game. Because if you don't, the consequences could be more dire than you could possibly imagine. Alright, not that bad, but close anyhow.
Last Week: 8-1
Clean sweep last week. Easy as pie.
A good test for Stanford going out to North Carolina to face an Aaron Curry-less squad of Demon Deacons - a test I think the Cardinal have the gumption to pass.
Jim Harbaugh's Gang 24, How Does A Forrest Have A Wake? 17
Nothing like taking a freshman quarterback to Neyland Stadium to face an up and coming team!
Checkerboard Endzones 34, Lords of Westwood 10
No analysis needed here. This one won't be close.
The Jahvid Bests 58, The Former Paul Wulffs 10
Once again, no analysis needed here. But you want some? Fine….the Wildcats are better. There.
Non-Tame Kitties 42, Arizona Has Lumberjacks? 7
Without LeGarrette Blount this game got a lot easier for Purdue - and I smell one heck of an upset here.
The Boiling Trains 28, Punching Quacks 24
An interesting match-up to find out where the Beavers really are in terms of team progress this year. Just don't let them go out and gamble.
Potato Salad Stadium Players 31, The Gamblers 10
Matt Barkley is a freshman going into the Horseshoe to play an exceptional Ohio State team that is much better than they looked against Navy. Upsets abound!
Posionous Nuts 21, Our Mascot Is For Family Planning 17
Even I think the Huskies will end their losing streak here. But what the hell, Go Vandals!
The Other Palouse School 24, Purple Is Manly 21
And now, you Cougar picks:
Washington State 28, Hawai'i 17 says good friend and excellent sports anchor for the evening news Sean Brewer.
Washington State 24, Hawai'i 17 says recently graduated and old man by comparison Jay Harris. He's not that I old, but I know he feels like it.
Hawai'i 17, Washington State 6 says a man with a terrible confidence problem in Adam Logan.
I'm feeling much better about this football team with every day that goes by. And now they're facing a very poor Warrior defense and a mediocre offense at best. Once again, the Cougars have to win this one. A loss would be completely demoralizing.
Washington State 31, Hawai'i 17
Obscure Pick of the Week: We missed it last week! But we're back! A battle between Catholicism and Baptism! South versus Ireland!
St. Scholastica 24, Maranatha Baptist 10
Dunderheads of the Week: The local and national media for blowing the swine flu "outbreak" way out of proportion. Every kid that called health services with even the slight inkling of a flu-LIKE symptom was diagnosed with H1N1.....over the phone. Only 500 kids actually went and saw a doctor and no one gave them a blood test to confirm it. In other words there no actual confirmation that anyone had the flu even though the CDC says to just treat it as such. And most of the people that got it were over it in about 2-3 days unlike the normal flu which can take 2-3 weeks to get over.
Needless to say there were probably about 250-300 kids who actually had it and then 3,000 kids like my girlfriend who just had a normal beginning of the year cough that everyone gets when there are 20,000 kids in close proximity again. It happens every year around this time the only difference this time was there was a new virus to worry about even though the worst case of it didn't even require hospitalization. Next time let's keep it in perspective.
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
Summer is almost over…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Football, soccer, volleyball, men's & women's basketball, baseball, track & field and tennis, just to name a few, are coming up right around the corner. 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.