It is early February but most of you should've just kept the Christmas tree up (full disclosure: mine was three feet tall and the plastic needles where falling off) for National Letter of Intent signing day yesterday. In the interest of making the same analogy of every other columnist or sports writer, this class of Cougars was full of presents. Did we get everything we wanted in football from that list we sent to head coach Paul Wulff? No, but sometimes what we want is impossible to find or Best Buy simply ran out. Here are some of my favorites ones, now that they're officially unwrapped.
C.J. Mizell: Mizell was like the big surprise present you never saw coming. The car sitting in the driveway in the morning with an oversized bow or the brand new gaming console you never saw coming. Mizell is an absolute specimen: 6' 3", 210 pounds and he is quick from sideline to sideline. In pads and a helmet, this man is as frightening as they coming; like a run away train coming down the tracks. To be completely honest, he had academic issues that discouraged some schools but he has recommitted to his studies and shown he can buckle down. The best part about him is that we were offered scholarships by Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and Maryland - that's offered scholarships not just showed a little fleeting interest. Will he start? Absolutely.
Jake Rogers: If Mizell is a specimen, Rogers is simply a beast. He stands 6' 7" tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. Rogers played at Shadle Park in Spokane with current Cougar men's basketballer Anthony Brown so you know he can get up and down. At his size, he's an imposing figure on the outside edge and perhaps just as important, he provides a great big target in the short field for Jeff Tuel.
Connor Halliday: Hopefully the vertically proficient hurler from Ferris gets a chance to redshirt because his talent is very raw. He doesn't have the scrambling ability of Tuel but one could argue his pocket passing ability combined with his height to see over the line makes him the best traditional quarterback (in the pocket, no scrambling) on the roster. All around, he's not there yet and will need time to get comfortable with the system but what is there is the talent.
Wade Jacobsen: The junior-college transfer already enrolled so we knew about him way back at the beginning of the spring semester but he still remains an ever-important part of this recruiting class. First, he stands 6' 6" tall and weighs 300 pounds, a massive figure on the offensive line. Secondly, the offensive line needs all the help it can get after two years of decimating injuries and inexperience. Jacobsen provides experience and as long as he can stay healthy, he'll be a foundation for the line.
Blair Bomber: Of all the receivers in this class, Bomber was probably the one with the least fan fare. Coming from the tiny border town of Lynden didn't help him much either. Add to that the fact that Bomber is undersized (5' 9") and relatively tiny (listed at 165 pounds). So why is he on my list? Simple: speed. He runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and in his highlight reel, it shows. Bomber can get down field and when he catches the ball, the after-burners kick in and he takes off. His cuts leave a little to be desired but he can avoid tackles and when he needs to, he can take off like his namesake. Plus the fact, how can you not like a kid with a name like Bomber?
That's my list and you all probably have your own but the one I'm rooting for the most is Bomber. He'll probably grab a redshirt this year but I'd love to see him be successful at Washington State for years to come. Now I can move on to something you all may not know about.
Yesterday, WSU students walked out of class from Noon to 2 PM in protest of the potential tuition hikes the state may impose on higher education at all schools. At the base level, it seems like a cool way to try and stick it to the man and really tell them what you think. But analyze it more carefully and hopefully I'm not the only one who finds the incredible irony in all of this. Not that it is unlikely the legislature will listen but that they are not attending class which they are paying for. It seems a rather idiotic way to show the state that they don't approve of the tuition hikes by not attending the classes that you or your parents' hard earned cash is paying for. Plus the fact, you could save plenty of money by simply tightening your belt.
Do I spend money at Valhalla or the Coug on weekends? Absolutely. Do I call for a pizza to be delivered. Sure. Do I go out for lunch or dinner? All too often. But I don't profess to the best financer with my own monies. But it seems to me a lot of problems students are facing financially could be fixed by just not spending money on frivolous things like beer or pizza. Or working 15-20 hours a week and saving that money rather than spending it like it's going out of style.
But at the end of the day, the legislature is still going to do whatever they want because they know one thing: people will still go to college. A simple tuition hike isn't going to drive people away.
I forgot to pick games! Oh well.
Last Week: 4-3
These two teams SHOULD be some of the best in the conference. So much for that.
California 76, UCLA 70
Both of these teams are relative enigmas and Landry Fields can't have as good of a game as he did again. Plus, there's always the Tavita Pritchard wild card. I know, im laighing too.
USC 63, Stanford 60
Go Beavers! Fire Ernie Kent!
Oregon State 61, Oregon 51
Well, Washington never wins at home. And Arizona State plays an excellent zone. First home loss? Not likely.
Washington 68, Arizona State 58
Well the Cougars figured it out in the second half against State, lets hope they continue that against the non-State from the desert.
Washington State 76, Arizona 71
Oregon State is an inconsistent team at best and on the road against a surging Sun Devil team…..this one turns out badly.
Arizona State 67, Oregon State 50
This one also turns out badly for the team from the state that makes you pump your own gas.
Arizona 73, Oregon 60
This game is on ESPN? Ew.
California 74, Washington 58
Let's hope a trip to the lovely Bay Area (hi Mom!) snaps the Cougars out of a funk.
Washington State 79, Stanford 70
Obscure Pick of the Week: This isn't obscure! Go Greyhounds!
Pullman 56, Colville 50
Dunderhead of the Week: Loco Grinds Hawaiian Barbecue in Pullman. Is there food bad? No, as a matter of fact it's extraordinarily good. My debit card knows all too well. So stop making the food so good!
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The new year is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! 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.