In 1997, my Dad and I traveled down to Pullman to watch WSU play the Southwest Louisiana Rajun Cajuns, a team which I only recently learned was not created for the movie "The Waterboy". The Cougs mopped the floor with them, 77-7.
On Saturday, I got to feel the exact opposite of what I felt that day. It was embarrasing. Humiliating.
It was meaningless.
You see, whether you lose 96-0 or 28-27, it's still a loss. At the end of the day, it's just one tally in the "L" column. Were we really expecting to beat Cal? Did we really think that a stagnant offense from the week before could come to life and overpower a team with more talent on both sides of the ball?
Yes, it was historically bad. The worst loss in 104 years of Cougar Football. But you also have to consider the following things about history:
- Jeff Tedford is a no-class loser swell guy who enjoys flowers and rainbows, who went for it on fourth down and goal, up 52-3.
- Before about 1940, most football games were 7-0, 3-0, or 0-0 ties.
- Before 1950, a large number of teams probably discouraged or flat out banned black athletes from playing.
- Jahvid Best runs 100 meters about 0.6 seconds slower than Usain Bolt.
- Offenses are so predicated on speed and scoring today that a 66-3 whipping is nowhere near as bad as a 42-0 defeat would have been 40 years ago.
- The Cougars have been blessed with great offenses over the years, to the point where we have the second longest shutout avoidance streak in the nation (Michigan is #1). In other words, the more you score, the less embarrassing the final score is, even in a blowout. (For example, which looks worse: losing 79-28, or 51-0? It's the exact same margin)
Which brings us to the positives and negatives for this week. Yes, there are positives. In fact, I'll start with one of them. Stop rolling your eyes.
+ Wayne Patrick Rooney: Rooney gets top billing - but not just for the ability to kick the ball five yards deep into the end zone. He also belongs here for running off the field after each boot acting like he was going to run his fist through some drywall, Andy Bernard-style. Seriously, he was jacked up after every kick. And he has a good leg. If he keeps up the good work we may be able to cross off kickoff-coverage from our mile long list of special teams concerns.
+ Reid Forrest: Bill Doba has some explaining to do. Mainly, how he allowed Forrest to do the rugby-style punt time after time when the reality is that he can, apparently, boot a ball 58 yards with no bounce required. I'm also glad that unlike the Doba era, we now have a backup punter (Dan Wagner) who is actually a punter.
+ Special Teams: Three pluses in a row after this game? Yep. Mainly because the only large cheers from the crowd in this game came after special teams plays: the Grasu 43 yard field goal, the Rooney kickoffs, the Forrest punts, the two 60+ yard kickoff returns from Staden and Ivory (one each). Want a stat that makes you want to cringe? Special teams had almost twice as many return yards (306) as the offense had total yards (167) ! In one game, Chantz Staden went from "who's that guy?" to a pretty decent return man.
- The QB Controversy: Gary Rogers (a.k.a. Seth Rogen, judging by his picture) waited four years for a chance to be the Cougar starter. Now he gets six quarters and that's the end of the rope? Nothing against Kevin Lopina, who is a great talent in his own right, but at least give Rogers a chance to start through the cupcake game against Portland State. Rogers' struggles are well documented, but how much of it is Gary and how much of it is the offense as a whole? Yes, his decision making hasn't been the best at times, but both Lopina and Lobbestael threw interceptions in this game despite having less attempts, and playing a reserve-heavy Cal defense.
- The offense: Oh, it's bad. 65 plays. 167 yards. That's 2.6 yards per play. Last week, Nuss spent a whole post breaking down how awful the offense was. They averaged 5.3 3.3 yards per play in that game. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
- The D-Line: My X-factor decided the game, alright. Too bad it was in favor of the Cal Bears, who put on a track meet to the tune of 391 yards. 391! That's 9.8 yards per freaking rush. If the line doesn't show up in Waco with a chip on their shoulders this Saturday, I will be very disappointed. It was a bad, bad day.
+ Glenn Johnson: "Sean Young is back to return the punt... again." If you don't love Glenn Johnson, please leave the internet.
- Jeff Tedford: Going for it on fourth and goal up 52-7 is the football equivalent of shoving a 10 year old kid out of the way while trying to catch a foul ball at a MLB game. I'll say it again: classless.
+ Martin Stadium: The new scoreboard is amazing. The "Martin Stadium" sign above the East end zone is scrumtrillescent. The "guard tower" elevator to the new Cub is premium freeloader seating (if you can avoid the CMS attendants). The new concourse on the East side makes the old walkway look like an alleyway in downtown Pyongyang. It's amazing how a few little improvements can make such a big difference. It's beautiful, modern and hopefully a middle finger to the Husky boosters who want taxpayer money for their redesign.
- Pac-10 officiating: I'm a Cougar, and I think the celebration call against Locker was not only ridiculous, but goes against everything college athletics should be about. He wasn't taunting, he wasn't dancing and he was caught up in the moment. If you call that on Locker, you need to go back and charge 798 technical fouls to Brook Lopez for pounding his chest last season (actually, not a bad idea). Luckily my fiancee was there to hear me say "Offff course" when ESPN said it was a Pac-10 crew.
+ The fans that stayed until the end: Support your team. You can go eat and drink and all that fun stuff later.
- Parking and traffic management: A lots. B lots. AA and BB lots. Green permits, President's permits, Chartreuse permits. Lots that are normally free blocked off to charge people for parking. Traffic direction that isn't usually any better than what the traffic lights normally do. Welcome to Pullman, where Parking Services is your master.
+ Cougar Football: So, we lost. Big deal. There's always next week. It's great to be back in Pullman.