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The Good, Bad and Ugly of another Apple Cup defeat

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Groundhog Day

Washington v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Coug fans, I’m sorry. If you subjected yourself to watching on tv in real time, I’m really sorry. If you went to the game and sat through that crap in the snow, I’m really really sorry. More than that, if you actually believed that WSU had a chance in this game, well, that’s the worst of all. I can not advocate enough skipping the game live, then watching on DVR. I was able to get it over with in under an hour, and speeding through the inevitable butt-kicking makes it easier to accept.

Of course, many of us accepted the outcome long ago, but it still sucks nonetheless. And when the outcome you’ve readied yourself for every day may suddenly be in doubt, such as when WSU had the ball, down five in the third quarter, it takes everything in your power to keep that sliver of hope from creeping in. That sliver was quickly extracted, though, and things were back to normal.

That’s really the most depressing part about this. The Washington team that was on the field Friday night wasn’t anywhere near as good as the last two versions. The WSU team that was out there is, in my opinion, the best of the last three seasons. And still, despite UW fumbling often and throwing a redzone interception, there they were, taking a knee inside the WSU 10 at the end of the game. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The Good

  • Didn’t get blown out! Progress!
  • WSU ran the ball pretty well, to the point that I believe they should have run it more in the second half. Washington was daring them to do it.
  • Great play by Skyler Thomas to save seven points in the first quarter.
  • Another good Travell Harris kick return. He’s going to be a big threat back there, as long as he gets some chances.
  • That Hunter Dale two-point runback was pretty great, but man, he kinda looked like a lineman running down the sidelines.
  • Cool to see Peyton Pelluer lead the team in tackles, including seven solo, in his last home game.

The Bad

  • You mean besides everything else?
  • The uncanny thing to me about this series of late is Washington’s ability to re-establish the line of scrimmage 4-5 yards down the field, almost constantly. No other team has been able to do that to a WSU defense like Washington, and I have no idea why it’s so different.
  • Gardner, I know you were trying to make plays, but those interceptions were absolute back-breakers.
  • Especially that one that occurred at the end of the first half. Your careless throw cost the team a chance at points.
  • While there’s never a good time to have your worst game, Frederick Mauigoa picked a really terrible time to have his. The errant snaps cost WSU dearly early on, and he got dessert-carted by Greg Gaines more often than I care to recall.
  • Really really wanted WSU to kick the field goal down near the goal line. Instead, it was another empty possession that should have resulted in a WSU lead.
  • Tracy Claeys, if there’s one thing that was painfully clear coming into the game, it’s that Jake Browning wilts under pressure, so when UW faced 3rd-and-16 to open the second half, your decision to bring three damn rushers was borderline dereliction of duty. Two pass plays later, Washington was in the endzone.
  • While the snow clearly had a bigger negative effect on the WSU offense than it did on Washington, which is almost a given due to the differing philosophies, four yards per play is inexcusable.
  • WSU’s New Year’s Six chances after Saturday’s results - Florida, Penn State, Ohio State all had big wins. The guess here is that WSU will fall to around 14, and will need some miraculous outcomes next weekend to get back into the CFP Top 12.
  • That’s all I got. I’m sure there are loads more but I didn’t save the notes I took on my phone. Maybe I should put that under the “good” category.

The Ugly

  • The fact that, like Mike Leach has said, WSU is pretty good at beating the teams that beat Washington (happened twice this year), but can’t beat Washington. That sucks.

While it’s understandable to think that this game’s result casts a pall over the entire season, I’m trying to be pragmatic about it. Despite the loss, and despite the disappointment of not beating Utah again (which absolutely would have happened), this has been a magical season, man. I won’t let what happened Friday ruin what has been one of the greatest rides of my sports fandom. And yes, I realize that’s not exactly a deep bench.

I really, really hope the Cougs get to play in a New Year’s Six game, and they need to win it. I’m sure many of you are in the “meaningless bowls” camp, but I most certainly am not. After the way 2016 and 2017 ended - with Apple Cup beatdowns and bowl game no-shows - the Cougs need to win their bowl game, both for the program and the sanity of its fans. Cougar Football has never won 11 games in a season, and it would mean a hell of a lot for this team to do it.

We’ll find out in a couple weeks where the ride is headed next. The only bummer is that we know it’ll end there.

Football

Buried in the snow, Washington State uncovers some perspective after disheartening Apple Cup loss | The Spokesman-Review
Just about every WSU starter on either side of the ball probably felt he had one or two lapses in execution or effort that may have helped the Cougars’ cause.

Volleyball

AT LEAST SOMEBODY CAN BEAT WASHINGTON.

Volleyball Seniors Lead The Way in Apple Cup Victory - Washington State University
The No. 20 ranked Washington State Cougars (21-9, 12-8 Pac-12) defeated rival No. 19 Washington (18-12, 10-10 Pac-12) in a five-set thriller inside Bohler Gym Saturday evening.

Basketball

Photographic evidence suggests the basketball team played a game Saturday night.

WSU Uses Big Second Half to Defeat Delaware State, 80-52 - Washington State University
Robert Franks scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Washington State beat Delaware State 80-52 Saturday night.

This Week in Parenting

Probably more like “This Month in Parenting” but whatever. Before we moved overseas, we’d been warned by other folks who’d lived here about the amount of days off the kids would have in November. The month has come to be known as “no school November.” That is not inaccurate, as you can see below. The kids now have a stretch of three whole five-day weeks until Christmas break starts. No telling if they’ll survive that rigorous gauntlet.

Then again, they should probably consider themselves lucky to be alive at this point, given all that extra time spent in the house.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Chronic Apple Cup ineptitude got you down? Head to Luxembourg! Check out the Christmas markets! Drink some gluhwein and snag a cold Battin Christmas something-or-other beer even though the temperatures are barely above freezing! I promise it’ll help tamp down the football fan blues.

My god that’s a terrible picture.

But anyway, if you do ever find yourself in Luxembourg, take some time to visit the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial. I didn’t even know it was there until my wife mentioned that George Patton was buried near the city. The cloudy skies and cold wind were the perfect setting in which to walk among the graves over 5,000 service members who paid the ultimate price in late 1944 and early 1945, and it made the result of a football game feel as inconsequential as it should be.

Black Friday annual beer quest for Goose Island bourbon county stouts
While many will flock to malls and department stores after Thanksgiving to get a head start on their holiday shopping lists, a legion of beer lovers will line up to secure their own liquid treasure: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout beers.

Non-Sports

I don’t know how many of you actually read anything I link here BUT YOU TOTALLY SHOULD READ THIS ONE. I was riveted to the story, and still have a ton of questions.

The Haunting of 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey
Derek and Maria Broaddus bought their dream house, a six-bedroom house at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. But according to the creepy letters they started to get from “The Watcher,” they weren’t the only ones interested in it.