If there was a week for this to happen, this might just be it. If this game was in Pullman, I'd be a lot more confident in the assertion I am about to make. Because, quite frankly, many of you will close your web browser immediately and never take a word I have to say seriously again.
The Cougars will beat Arizona State this Saturday in Tempe. Let that statement sink in for a minute. I can wait. Seriously, if you feel the need to go take some aspirin, maybe get a breath of fresh air, I can give you a second.
Alright, now that your hyperventilation has subsided, I do in fact have my reasons for making this statement. Granted, I know some of you have completely stopped listening at this point but that doesn't matter to me. The ingredients for an upset are all there. Arizona State may be without their starting quarterback because of a concussion but even if he does play, he won't be healthy. The eleven picks thrown by Steven Threet on the season play into the hands of a Cougar defense that has been developing a nose for the football more and more this season.
Better yet, Arizona State is coming off an absolute shellacking at the hands of California last weekend by the count of 50-17. This was not supposed to be a game in which they got spanked like a misbehaving four-year old but sure enough, they must've been sneaking cookies before dinner. That game was the last in a three-game stretch of road match-ups and the Sun Devils and they return home for only this game before heading to Los Angeles to face USC. So, even while they're home, they get to look ahead to yet another tough game away from Tempe.
Most importantly for Washington State, ASU will probably still be looking past them. Despite the Cougars' obvious improvement over the last few weeks, it's definitely conceivable to think teams will still consider them to be the team they have been the previous two seasons.
Most importantly however, the players are primed for a breakthrough victory. In previous seasons, a 31-7 deficit to a ranked opponent would've been a death sentence for another 45-point blowout. But this team has continued to fight in every game and even though those points didn't matter to the outcome of the game, they mattered to the players and coaches. They are primed and biting for a breakthrough victory. You can tell the younger players on this team want a win and are almost too anxious to get one. See quarterback Jeff Tuel's interception in the third quarter versus Oregon when he tried to close the gap to a touchdown.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing of all this is that it's the young players making the plays and showing the strong desire to win again. The players have said the last few years they were sick of losing, but I didn't believe it. But when Tuel says it, I believe it.
One game, the offense plays great and the defense plays like a pee wee team (last week versus Stanford). The next, the defense, for once, plays very well and the offense sputter's like 1980's Jeep Wagoneer with 300,000 miles on it. There has to be a game where the offense executes like a well oiled machine and the defense raises an iron curtain that none shall pass.
It will happen this weekend. I can feel it in the very fiber of my Cougar being. Last year, I had virtually no hope of a victory and the team nearly went without a victory were it not for the interception parade of Bo Levi Mitchell. This year, they've been playing games too closely, showing too much progress and playing too well to go without a conference victory. They are ready to make believers of any doubters they still have.
Win on Saturday and the corner has been turned for this program. It will have soon that all the pain of the previous two seasons has been worth it, all the fighting we've done amongst each other, all the anguish we've gone through. They may not be ready to go to a Rose Bowl again but that's fine.
The last four games of the season will tell us a lot about where this team is headed and how quickly they'll get there. And the first of those four games starts out with a win this Saturday. Count on it. I know I am.
Last Week: 3-1
Hey UCLA! Remember when you beat Texas? Yeah, no one else does either.
Matt Scott Express 42, Bruins Getting' Busted Up 13
California can't play on the road. So that makes this easy.
Only One Rodgers Brother 31, Kevin Riley Is Just Terrible 7
Remember when USC used to be good? Before all this probation stuff? I do, but why does it seem like so long ago?
National Champion Oregon Ducks 56, Lane Kiffin Is Just A Terrible Dude 21
Finally, Washington fans will get to see the best quarterback in the conference.
Jim Harbaugh's Job Until the 49ers Fire Singletary 41, Why Is Nick Holt Employed 13
I refuse to back down from this. It will happen.
Washington State 31, Arizona State 28
Obscure Pick of the Week: Neither of these colleges sound like they should be in the state they're in. But whatever.
Indiana (PA) 24, California (PA) 10
Dunderhead of the Week: Any political ad. Look, I'm not here to spout off about my politics or yours and frankly, I think people should always keep who they vote for private. But I'm so sick of negative campaign ads. I watched Jeopardy last night and for every commercial break, there were only negative ads. I take it back, there was one product ad. For hemmorroidal cream. Ew.
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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.