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The Gravitron Diaries 1.11

I said it was a journey. I'm now trying to decide if I believe now.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Never let it be said I'm impatient.

For a couple years, I've been trying to teach my bulldog how to fetch.   There are a few problems with this sort of training.  First of all, she has a jaw that could stop a Hyundai in its tracks, so if you're trying to remove a tennis ball, you're just going to have to wait it out until she's bored enough to drop it.   Another problem is her short, fat legs that can't outrun other dogs in the park, so when there are multiple dogs playing, she doesn't get a ton of experience actually getting to the ball first.  Third; she's kind of a dick.  She's not going to bring anything back unless there's something in it for her.  She knows if she gives it back to you, she doesn't have it anymore.  She understands capitalism.

It's been a work in progress.  But hopefully you don't give up entirely in the process.

For the last month or two, it's felt a little bit hopeless to be a Coug fan.  Back were the days of giving up 50 points being the norm, one of the brightest minds in the history of college football couldn't seem to convince the Cougar offense to complete a forward pass and our fans were more apt to celebrate their mobilization via social media rather than a victory on the football field.

But hopefully you don't give up entirely in the process.

Meeting the usual B-Lot crew at a local bar for the Arizona game, none of us had incredibly high expectations.  It had become legend the Cougar defense usually looked pretty good against offenses with a quarterback foreign to the idea of moving forward, but we still didn't feel great about our chances.    That 10-0 lead was nice, but you felt like it was only a matter of time before Arizona rattled off a couple touchdowns (and they did).  With two yard punts, bad snaps, missed field goals, field goals bouncing off the upright (an act I still believe should count as double), it felt like whoever's kicking game stopped sucking first was going to walk out with a victory; an idea that did not sit well with me going through an entire fourth quarter.

But we hadn't given up entirely in the process.

Then: clarity.  Not really clarity on the football field, but clarity in my sinuses.  My buddy Gabe sitting next to me ordered a plate of atomic wings, an order of food that is still causing my nostrils to sting five days later.  My eyeballs, clouded in hot sauce, were seeing some alternate form of reality where Connor Halliday drove the Cougar offense down the field 80 yards for the winning touchdown and the Cougar defense made a red zone stand on a drive where they were getting killed by Trey Griffey of all people.   Then the ghost-pepper burning stops and I find out it actually happened.  Because sometimes, when you work on something for so long, something broken will magically click and start running on all cylinders.  Is what was once inept now actually working as planned?

About six weeks ago, I wrote how crazy it was that the calendar reached October 9th and I was still excited for Cougar Football. Imagine my shock that it is now November 21st and I can still say the same thing.  What was once a bleak "Same Ol' Cougs" routine for a month or so has become, "Holy shit, we might actually go to a bowl game this year."

THIS year.

The year where we kept giving up 50 points and throwing three picks every game.  The year where we opted not to play a lower-level Mountain West team in lieu of travelling to Auburn.  The year where we traded Colorado for USC.  The year where our offensive line is still 60% walk-ons.  The year where our punter can net 2 yards and you won't be surprised.

This year.

Thanks to things finally coming together in Tucson, our Washington State Cougars will play two more meaningful football games.  Win or lose, it's not something we've been able to say for nearly a decade.  The Cougs are favored in a November game and will play in a bowl game if they cover.  This is happening.  Hopefully you didn't give up entirely in the process.   This might get fun.

Go Cougs! (take them and give that point)