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Cougars head into the woods once more

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It has never gone well in that venue.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. 2008-09 wasn’t the best season in WSU basketball history, but compared to what we’ve lived through recently, it feels like the glory days. Way back when, WSU actually had some success against Oregon. Not only did WSU beat the Ducks at home by a score of 67-38, they went to Eugene and hammered the Ducks in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the 12-point margin would indicate.

If that wasn’t enough, the two teams faced off in the opening round of the Pac-10 Tournament, and Tony Bennett’s Cougs once again hammered Ernie Kent’s Ducks, 62-40. In three matchups that season, WSU went 3-0 against Oregon, with a 21-point average margin of victory. Needless to say, those results were not a good indicator of what was to come.

Since that 12-point win at Mac Court (which no longer exists), WSU has ventured into Eugene seven times, and has lost every time by an average of nearly 14 points. The Ducks have had a decidedly average conference season, sporting a 6-5 record, and not winning more than three consecutive conference games. They have won four of their last five, though, including a 65-40 beatdown of a decent-but-not-that-good Washington team.

The Ducks won’t have much difficulty getting to five wins in their last six games Sunday night, as they are 15-point favorites over Ernie Kent and his Lazy Susan of excuses. One of our better writers (I know, that’s all of them!) will have an actual preview later on. As for what I think - take the Ducks, lay the points, and pray that Ernie Kent bumped into Gary Andersen this weekend.

Football

Pac-12 Pre-Spring Predictions For Every Game | College Football News
Spring practice hasn’t kicked in yet, but how do the seasons look for all of the respective Pac-12 teams?

Pac-12 Pre-Spring Quarterback Depth Chart Breakdown & Ranking | College Football News Tinsley has the most practice time logged in, however, true freshman Cooper might be the most talented passer, and Bledsoe and Connor Neville are going to get every opportunity.

Washington State 2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown, Strength, Star, What’s Missing | College Football News
Defensive tackle is right there in the discussion for the biggest positions to fill, but again, there are some good ones coming in to help the cause.

Pac-12 stock report: Recruit wins and losses, USC's finish, NFL combine snubs
Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan — all three have the tradition and resources to lure away top talents from within the Pac-12 footprint, often using former Pac-12 assistants as bloodhounds loosed upon the west coast recruiting trails.

As SEC and Big Ten powers recruit the west coast, how will the Pac-12 respond?
Eight top prospects from the west coast class of 2018 remain unsigned and uncommitted. Their decisions today will provide a morsel of insight into the future of Pac-12 football.

Basketball

Coming off 32-point loss, Washington State takes six-game skid, depleted roster to Eugene | The Spokesman-Review
Winless in games played in the state of Oregon since Kent took over in 2014, the Cougars (9-14, 1-10) are coming off a 92-64 blowout loss to a 10th-place Oregon State team that had lost its previous four contests before throttling WSU in Corvallis on Thursday.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Took two weeks off from beer drinking, as I was on a little trip through the Arabian peninsula. When I got back on Friday, the first beer out of the gate was a Bell’s Hopslam. While it was decent, last year’s version was far better. Second up was a barrel-aged Old Rasputin XX from North Coast Brewing. It was excellent.

Non-Sports

If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to work in an office dedicated to solving the myriad problems in the CENTCOM AOR, well, here ya go.

It’s Hard to Believe, but Syria’s War Is Getting Even Worse - The New York Times
Since the rout of the Islamic State last year, and steady government advances against other insurgent groups, a misperception has grown abroad that the Syrian war is winding down. Instead, the carnage is reaching a new peak.

Israeli air strikes against Syria 'biggest since 1982' - BBC News
The loss of a warplane sparks what Israel says is its biggest attack on Syrian defences since 1982.