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HCA: Tyler Hilinski’s death continues to reverberate

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His brother, Ryan, is soon off to play at South Carolina, but Tyler is always at top of mind.

NCAA Football: San Jose State at Washington State
Ryan Hilinski, the brother of deceased WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski, holds their mom, Kym, during the flag raising ceremony at the first home game this season.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

As we all have had too much fun with this Washington State Cougars football season, it seems fair to say that the death of presumed quarterback Tyler Hilinski has faded from the consciousness of most fans.

It’s not malicious; it’s just that ... life goes on, right?

That’s easier for you and me than it will ever be for the Hilinskis, who are the subject of a New York Times story that surfaced yesterday.

“We will sit here for the next 20 years and not know what the heck happened to Tyler,” said Tyler’s dad, Mark.

The story focuses largely on Tyler’s brother, Ryan, and his decision to continue to play football even as the family wonders if degenerative brain disease CTE played a role in Tyler’s death. Ryan is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the 2019 class and has signed financial aid paperwork to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks, where he’ll enroll early after Christmas.

Everything about football now is distressing for the Hilinski family, and most likely always will be. They worry that Ryan could lose sight of where Tyler’s football dreams end and his own begin.

“It can’t just be for Tyler,” Kym said.

She spent the spring fretting about Ryan’s college decision, wondering whether she would be able to set foot in the same stadiums Tyler played in if Ryan stayed on the West Coast. She and Mark worried even more about whether they could bear sending him more than a short drive away.

Most of all, everyone worries whenever Ryan gets hit in a game, none more than when he was concussed in his final high school game. They wonder what those hits could mean now and what they could mean in the future.

“If anyone says they’re not, then they’re lying,” Kelly said. “Because every time I hear a smack or see him go down at all, I hold my breath just a little bit. My heart skips.”

The story bills the dynamic as “raw and complicated.” That’s a good way to put it, and it’s worth your time to read this well-written piece that eschews the temptation to find easy answers.

Mike Leach and Texas Tech, Part MMXLVIII

Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel — the same guy who broke the Pac-12 officiating debacle — went out in search of former broadcaster Craig James, who appears to have disappeared from the public consciousness after his well-documented dust-up with then-Texas Tech-now-WSU coach Mike Leach, as well as a spectacularly failed U.S. Senate bid.

And wouldn’t you know it ... Leach has thoughts on James!

Leach remains bitter about the firing from Tech and James’ role in it, because he feels it cost him his job at Tech and two prime years of his career. In a recent phone interview, Leach said of James: “You create your own karma. It looks like he might have created his. I think he’s a dishonest person and the sport is better off without him. And that’s pretty clear-cut.”

Yep, that’s about all there is to say about that.

Sportswriting Ain’t What It Used To Be

A website called “Bamamaven” has come up with a “Tournament of Champions (that) features Alabama’s top 16 national title teams in bracket-style single-elimination tournament.” The reason that’s relevant to you is that the 1930 Alabama team completed its season with a Rose Bowl victory of WSU.

We don’t really care about the Crimson Tide, but as part of the story, the author dug up a snippet from the coverage of the game on New Year’s Day 88 years ago:

Wrote Royal Brougham of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “Out of the sunny southland came another great Alabama football team and it hit a bewildered Cougar from Washington State like a jug of Dixie gin. By a 24-to-0 score the banjo-plucking, mammy singing troubadours from the land of cotton won the annual Rose Bowl classic, and they were that much the better team. The vaunted defense of the western champions crumpled like the walls of Jericho before an amazing pass attack which caught the northmen flat on their heels.

“The Bammers unleashed a passing and cleverly masked running offense which the canny Coach Wade kept stored in the cooler all season long. And before it the touted cougars were just corn bone and possum pie. That freckled-necked southern gentleman who coaches the Tide won today’s game with his noodle, and don’t let anybody tell you different. Wade sat out there on the bench and outfigured the lads from the northwest all afternoon long.”

Man, I’ve got a lot of work to do on my recaps.

Links

College football betting awards: Six teams could have made your year - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper
Team of the Year: Washington State Cougars

College Football Bowl Picks 2018-19: Game Predictions for Each Matchup of Season | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
The real question for the Cyclones to answer is if they have enough firepower to keep up with the Cougars, and outside of running back David Montgomery, who ran 1,092 yards and 12 touchdowns, we're not sure they do.

Bowl picks: Pac-12 success depends on Washington in the Rose - The Mercury News
You will be absolutely stunned to learn who Jon Wilner picked to win the Alamo Bowl.

The one-stop shop for every bowl game
Motivating factor for Washington State: The Cougars might have a pretty big chip on their shoulders after they were left out of a New Year's Six bowl despite winning 10 games. They'll also try to improve Leach's 1-3 record in bowl games at Washington State.

Ranking the Watchability of the Pac-12's Bowl Games in 2018
The high-powered Washington State offense playing under a dome has the potential to produce basketball numbers.

Grip on Sports: How the heck did Washington State give its fans such a great football season as a Christmas present? | The Spokesman-Review
A GRIP ON SPORTS • Time is running short. Christmas will be here before you know it. Heck, it is so close, Washington State has begun practicing for the Alamo Bowl. Yep, it’s that close.

Crimson Tide Tournament of Champions, Round of 16: 1930 vs. 2017 - Bama Central
This is Alabama-centric, but it's still great.

Washington State Football: 3 reasons to watch Alamo Bowl vs Iowa State - Saturday Blitz
In one of the more intriguing matchups of the bowl season, pass-happy Washington State football is pitted against the defensive-minded Iowa State Cyclones.

Numbers sometimes lie: Cougs better than recruiting rankings - Cougfan.com
Despite recruiting disparity, Cougars have been better on field than USC, UCLA and aren't far behind other powers

SIDs say Cougs trail far behind Cyclones in bowl ticket sales - Cougfan.com
ISU has sold over 13,500 Alamo tickets, while Cougs are at 4,700 and have sold fewer than 2,500 tickets over the past week

The Palouse Posse is Still Unbelievable - Washington State University Athletics
Ask Mike Price what he remembers about the 1994 Cougar football season and his answer is simply two words: Palouse Posse.

Burdette Greeny Named AVCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year - Washington State University Athletics
Greeny honored after helping lead the Cougars to a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Volleyball Sees Three Selected to AVCA All-America Teams - Washington State University Athletics
Taylor Mims gets the third team nod to lead the way for the Cougars.