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Cougars find a way...to score 59 points and lose

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WSU scored lots of points, Connor Halliday threw for lots of yards, and the team lost again.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

One of the worst things about living in Central or Eastern time as a Pac-12/WSU fan is the fact that, after these late games end, it's already well past the time most people go to bed. After a gut-wrenching game like the one we saw last night, it is nearly impossible to hit the sack and fall asleep no matter how long one has been awake. The brain refuses to turn off, and you just lay there replaying what you just saw and wondering how it could have gone differently.

What ran through my brain until 2:30 AM? Where to start. What if we weren't a complete embarrassment on special teams? If we're not blocking in the back/holding on a kick return, we're not getting close enough to breathe on a kick returner, who is executing the SAME EXACT return twice in a row. If we're not screwing that up, we can't make a kick that's shorter than an extra point. Did our Special Teams coach get a raise this year too? If so, does he take a gun and mask to collect his paycheck?

What if the defense hadn't reverted to its completely inept form for the last two-and-a-half quarters? Does missing a true freshman safety really have that much impact? I mean, they did not stop Cal's offense one time in the second half. Cal's offense is really good, but not coming close to stopping them is pathetic. The one time we did stop them was on the two-point conversion which, in hindsight, I wish they'd made. If Cal is up three, WSU tries to score a touchdown at the end and win. Does anyone have any doubt that the offense would have scored again?

What if the officials hadn't made an absurd offensive pass interference call on Vince Mayle, which led to WSU's only punt of the half? What if they had at least reviewed that possible touchdown at the end of the game and/or what if our coach, who has made some terrible decisions on challenges, had challenged that one? I don't know if the play would have been overturned or not, but I think a review was merited, especially after the refs seemed obliged to review a play on which Isiah Myers fumbled, and then recovered his own fumble. Don't get me wrong. The officiating in this game, while it was its normal subpar self, wasn't close to the main reason WSU lost. Winners move on, losers blame the refs.

The strangest thing about this morning is that I really don't feel any different than I would have felt had WSU not thrown up all over itself and managed to win the game. At this point in the season, we are who we are. We are a supremely flawed team that is capable of showing flashes of brilliance, but is little more than a team capable of scaring good teams from time to time. Turns out this entire conference isn't very good this year, which makes it a little more frustrating, knowing that if we could actually compete if we could get out of our own way. But in the end, for me anyway, it's just another Cougar loss that gets thrown on the pile with hundreds of others.

Football

Errant FG try wastes record performance by Connor Halliday as WSU falls to Cal - Spokesman.com - Oct. 5, 2014
Washington State made superlative plays and that should have been enough to win the game, but it was the ordinary plays that were the Cougars undoing as they lost the highest scoring game of the Mike Leach era to California by the slimmest of margins, 60-59.

John Blanchette: 59 points just not enough; Cougs needed a couple more - Spokesman.com - Oct. 5, 2014
Sixty-nine yards the Cougars drove in the game’s final 3 minutes, 18 seconds – all the way to the Cal 1-yard line and to the height of drama. And then they left it to a transfer kicker on third down after a night of relentless swashbuckling.

Connor Halliday sets NCAA passing record in WSU’s 60-59 loss to California | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times
(WSU) blitzed with impunity all night long, and still, they couldn’t get to Cal quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for 527 yards. It’s tempting to say that was chump change in a game like this, but these teams could play until Tuesday and the Cougars couldn’t have done anything defensively to bother Goff, who led his team to 47 second-half points. Yes, 47.

What we learned in the Pac-12 - ESPN
So, the Pac-12 Blog's verdict is still out on which is more ridiculous: the fact that Halliday still has an arm after throwing six touchdowns and 734 yards or the fact that he did that and his team still lost. But one thing is for sure: Halliday has cemented his legacy in college football with that performance. He did everything he could to get the Cougars the win.

Missed field goal allows Cal to edge WSU 60-59 - SFGate
Everything in this one changed after a relatively calm first half. The third quarter featured eight touchdowns (four from each team), 56 total points and two kick returns for touchdowns from Trevor Davis, who became the first Bears player to pull off that feat in a single game.

Final Thoughts from the Cal game - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Oct. 5, 2014
But the biggest reason this one hurts if you're a fan is because for the entire game, and even before the game when you were driving into Pullman, you felt like the Cougars were going to win.

Beer

Germans Learn Craft Beers From U.S. to Bring Back Buzz - Bloomberg
In Germany, home of Oktoberfest and a five-century-old brewing law, beer consumption has been on an unstoppable decline, prompting Europe’s biggest producer of the beverage to turn to an unlikely place for help: the U.S.

Non-Sports

At CIA Starbucks, even the baristas are covert - The Washington Post
It is one of the busiest Starbucks in the country, with a captive caffeine-craving audience of thousands of analysts and agents, economists and engineers, geographers and cartographers working on gathering intelligence and launching covert operations inside some of the most vexing and violent places around the world.