I promise not to make this about fantasy football.
My 15 favorite Cougs descended upon the basement in stately Sherwood Manor last Saturday to draft their fake players via the internet, watch real Cougar players on the television and drain a keg in my laundry room.
Our buddy Weak comes rolling into the room around an hour or so before kickoff carrying a plate full of bacon (don't ask, just eat) and glances over at the draft board.
"Why is Evan picking last?"
"Evan won the league last year."
"No, I won the league last year."
"No, Evan beat you."
"I'm pretty sure I won that game."
"Uhhh.....maybe you did?"
I was around four beers deep at this point, so I wasn't ready to argue and even less ready to back up my statements, so I ended up agreeing with him.
Weak made the rounds for the rest of the evening collecting his congratulations and getting a few "I can't believe we lost to that guy" comments under breath. He even made arrangements with the previous winner to transfer the trophy.
Two days later, I go onto the website to correct my error and declare Weak the champion and on the way there, I stopped off at last year's site to get the final score.
Evan beat Weak by 3.
The lesson learned? Bravado can get you everywhere; but once that dust settles, the bravado better be for something.
For all the Summer talk of how much this team would improve and that players could all tell this team would take the next step forward, we all bought in for the first five minutes of the game. Connor Halliday dealing darts, Nolan Washington breaking up passes, linebackers making plays in the backfield, Bowlin dropping punts on the 1, having any semblance of a running game.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS IS.— Kyle Sherwood (@BigWoodWSU) August 31, 2013
And when the dust settled, we found to still be dealing with dumb interceptions, dumb special teams play and a defense that couldn't stop a team starting a Cornerback under center.
If only the game were five minutes long.
I took Halliday to task on Saturday, and probably should've bitten my tongue somewhat.
WE'RE LOSING TO THIS QUARTERBACK BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR QUARTERBACK.— Kyle Sherwood (@BigWoodWSU) August 31, 2013
In hindsight, there were some inexcusable mistakes, but those can (hopefully) be corrected with discipline and film. And if not, we'll move on to the next guy.
What scared me about Saturday was how truly awful Auburn's Quarterback was. You know why Nick Marshall didn't throw five interceptions last week? He didn't throw it anywhere near the defense, either. If WSU's defense was average, Auburn shouldn't have scored more than 10 points or so. They scored 31. They had 300 yards on the ground when we knew they were going to do nothing but run the ball. Auburn's quarterback was the worst we'd seen in four years and we still gave up 31 points. The Cougs have eleven games remaining and will face eleven quarterbacks better than Nick Marshall. If we gave up 300 rushing yards to a one-dimensional team, how bad is it going to look against Stanford in a couple weeks? Or even Southern Utah?
I thought at the beginning of the season this would be a 3-9 football team; I think I still stand by that. I saw some positives in that we may not have the worst offensive line assembled in college football for the fifth straight season and we might actually have positive rushing yards this year. I thought Halliday looked great in between the 20's and if he's disciplined enough can probably get better where it matters. But I'm worried about that defense. That was a winnable game. That was a terrible team. And we let the game slip away. I think Auburn is probably the 8th or 9th best team we play this season and we didn't get it done.
So now we move on to play a much better team who will be looking to bounce back from the embarrassment of only beating Hawaii by two touchdowns on the road and they have nine days to prepare for us. I'm assuming at least six of those days were spent at the water park. That's what I'd do if I were USC. When WSU comes to town, hit the wave pool. Even if you lose, you still got to float on a tube and mock the lifeguard when he tells you not to run. They can't take that away from you. Maybe they'll just stay in Hawaii for the week. I may or may not need a vacation.
So here we are again with another 0-1 record. I'm prepared to be 0-2, but look forward to something magical happening. Daquawn Brown might take a pick to the house. Andrew Furney might kick an 80 yard field goal. Elliott Bosch might get to run the Annexation of Puerto Rico. We might drink Los Angeles dry. Let's again pray for the improbable and brace for the inevitable.
And yes, we finished the keg. And two fifths of Fireball.
Laid to waste pic.twitter.com/M50v4kbmau— Kyle Sherwood (@BigWoodWSU) September 1, 2013
Go Cougs. (Take USC and give the points).