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No. 25 WSU Cougars set to face Stanford Cardinal

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There is a sort of big game in Pullman Saturday

Washington State v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Good morning. Your Washington State Cougars will take on the Stanford Cardinal Saturday afternoon in Pullman. “Did he really say afternoon? As in, the sun will still be up? Holy crap he really did!”

While the sun will be up, you brave souls attending the game are unlikely to see it, as the forecast calls for 33 degrees and a chance for snow at kickoff. No thank you. The good news is that the first 9,000 fans will get a free Cougar beanie. The bad news is it means you’ll have to sit in the cold even longer. Again, no thank you.

Cougar fans received a couple pieces of somewhat disappointing news in the last couple days. First, Stanford announced that KJ Costello would start at quarterback instead of Keller Chryst. Then, on Friday, we found out the West Coast’s best running back, Bryce Love, will start as well. Seems David Shaw knows he’s actually playing a good team this week, so he’s going with the guys who are actually competent.

Love’s presence has influenced the point spread a fair amount, as it has gone from WSU -2.5 to a pick ‘em in many places. Luke Falk gets the nod at quarterback for the Cougs, and stands just 131 yards and four touchdowns short of tying the all-time Pac-12 records in those respective categories. It would be great if Falk set both records Saturday, but I think he’s on a leash that’s about as long as those ones you see around kids at the mall.

Saturday is also Senior Day, and once again, WSU will honor a key player who isn’t in uniform. This time it’ll be Peyton Pelluer. Sigh. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, we expect to see Isaac Dotson in street clothes as well. Double Sigh. Regardless, this group of seniors has been a huge part of Cougar Football’s revival. Many thanks to all of them for helping put our school back on the map.

This game is sure to be a big test for both the offense and the defense, and believe it or not, I’m more confident in the defense at this point. That is despite the fact that Khalil Tate and the Wildcats set them on fire, hosed them off, then doused them in gasoline and torched them again.

It feels like this game will come down to the end, as it did in 2015. Maybe Lou Groza semifinalist Erik Powell will nail a big kick if called upon. I have a lot more confidence in that these days than I did last year. One thing in our corner? WSU has outscored Stanford 87-80 in the last three matchups. That’s something! Here’s hoping that point differential is at least eight by the time the sun sets. Go Cougs

Football

A first, a last: With family making first visit from American Samoa, WSU’s Frankie Luvu readies for last home game | The Spokesman-Review
WSU’s starting Rush linebacker has a group of relatives traveling more than 5,000 miles to see the 25th-ranked Cougars play 18th-ranked Stanford on Senior Day.

Two minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Stanford | The Spokesman-Review
In the only start of his career, Costello was 15-of-24 for 173 yards with one touchdown while leading the Cardinal past Arizona State, 34-24.

Stanford at Washington State: TV info and other fast facts
Look out in the trenches for Stanford DT Harrison Phillips, who leads the team with 61 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries, but don’t dismiss Washington State’s Hercules Mata’afa, because no one currently in the Pac-12 has more career sacks (18½) or tackles for losses (39½).

WSU’s Mike Leach a coach whose curiosity knows no bounds - San Francisco Chronicle
Leach, 56, who has a law degree, is a man of enormous intellectual curiosity.

Pac-12 preview: Elimination games, TV info, point spreads and score predictions
It feels like the Cougars are out of the North race because of the way they’re playing and the way they’ve lost. But they aren’t done, not yet.

Stanford vs. Washington State Fearless Prediction & Game Preview | College Football News
It’s not about Bryce Love. It’s about a Washington State defense that’s fantastic on third downs, against a Stanford offense that doesn’t have the passing game to come up with key plays to keep the drives moving.

Beer

Really good beer I’ve had this week: Twitter informed me that Thursday was International Stout Day. Since stouts are probably my favorite beer type, I went with an oldie but a goodie in Avery’s Barrel-aged Vanilla Bean Stout. It did not disappoint.

The Other Reformation: How Martin Luther Changed Our Beer, Too : The Salt : NPR
The protest movement Luther launched 500 years ago revamped not only how Europe worshipped but how it drank. We'd call him the patron saint of beer except, well, he wouldn't like the "saint" part.

Non-Sports

A Student Loan Nightmare: The Teacher in the Wrong Payment Plan - The New York Times
After $70,000 in payments, one teacher found that he wasn’t in the public service loan forgiveness program after all. Now, he has to start over.