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Today’s Category: Cougar Football Hodgepodge

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Previews! Interviews! Ok that’s about it!

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. As many of us have repeatedly stated over the years, this time of year is often bereft of compelling WSU Cougar material. However, if you look around the interwebs thoroughly enough, there are often small nuggets to be mined and melded together for a coherent (well, maybe) post.

First up, Athlon Sports published its web preview of WSU this week, and the outlook is in line with many of the others we’ve seen so far. Yes, I know this preview has been linked already, but here are a few tidbits I found interesting:

The bigger issue could be on defense, due to the loss of dominating lineman Hercules Mata’afa and, more important, coordinator Alex Grinch.

I disagree with this. In the short term, the loss of Mata’afa’s disruptive presence will be felt more than Grinch’s loss to Ohio State. Only time will tell if Tracy Claeys is a suitable replacement, but Claeys is certainly capable of achieving the same results Grinch did. There is nobody on the roster right now who can replace Mata’afa.

The offensive line wasn’t as cohesive as it needed to be in 2017, so starting from scratch with three new starters and a new position coach could help matters. Left tackle Andre Dillard is sturdy and savvy, and dependable center Fred Mauigoa returns.

This is an interesting way to look at it. To me, the offensive line was easily the most disappointing position group in 2017. You’d think losing two all-conference level players would make them worse, but maybe a fresh outlook and some fresh faces will help them improve. One can only hope, because they really need to step forward in 2018, given the paucity of experience at quarterback.

Dynamic safety Jalen Thompson becomes the leader of the secondary after leading the Cougars in tackles (73) and interceptions (four). WSU has decent talent at all four spots, but the Cougars desperately need depth.

Yep! The WSU defensive backs could turn into one of the team’s strengths, but hoo boy do the first-teamers need to stay healthy.

(Cougar fans) may just have to find some middle ground: Competing for a title in the rugged Pac-12 North seems unrealistic, but a bowl game is within reach.

I’m still having a hard time buying into the notion that WSU can get to six wins without some very good fortune, but national media view Leach as someone who should be given the benefit of the doubt. Increasingly, that opener in Laramie is looming quite large for WSU’s bowl hopes.

Speaking of which, College Football News previewed the Wyoming Cowboys this week. I won’t go through all of it, but they think Craig Bohl’s team will be quite good this season. One nugget really stood out to me:

On the year, Wyoming was 8-0 when the offense turned it over fewer than twice, 0-5 when it gave it up two times. To push this further, the program is 0-for-its-last-21 games when it turns the ball over two times or more, with the last win with multiple giveaways coming in the 2014 opener against Montana.

So it’s up to Tracy Claeys and the defense, presumably. Turn over Wyoming two or three times, and WSU stands a huge chance of winning. Plus, defenses who turn teams over a lot in one season (like Wyoming did in 2017) should never expect that it will happen again the next season.

Finally, apparently Mike Leach has a weekly spot on something called the Kurre and Klapow show, which originates from Birmingham. This week, Leach joined the show from Croatia, where it was well after midnight. He gave his thoughts on Klay Thompson, the Triple Crown, visiting the White House if WSU ever won the national title (which, hahahaha), and who is to blame for the NFL’s national anthem controversy.

Football

Pac-12 Football 2018 Predictions
The Cougars will get better over the course of the season, as the offense should find its rhythm in time to guide this team to a bowl game for the fourth straight year.

Preview 2018: Wyoming Cowboys. Bohl’s Best Team Yet | College Football News
For the first time in its history, Wyoming will go bowling three years in a row

Beer

Best beer I had this week: For about the last month, I’ve been posting my pattern of beer consumption on Untappd. Why am I doing that? It certainly isn’t because I think anyone cares about what I’m drinking. I’ve come to realize I’m doing it in order to remember which beers I’ve had. Never get old, kids, it’s the goddamn worst.

Anyway, we spent last weekend at the beach, and made our way to Mad Beach Brewing Co. for dinner. Among several great selections was Imperial Peanut Butter Cup Stout. It was so good that I took home a crowler and drank the whole thing a couple days later.

Lagunitas Brewing: Successful Formula Of Craft Beer, Music Unchanged By Heineken Takeover
Some craft beer geeks wonder whether the acquisition by Heineken will affect the quality of Lagunitas beers.

Non-Sports

I only saw one or two Anthony Bourdain shows, but the many stories of what a decent man he was seemed to flood out upon his death. It’s an incredible shame that he could never seem to find peace.

Don’€™t Eat Before Reading This | The New Yorker
Anthony Bourdain’s 1999 memoir about working in Manhattan restaurants. “Gastronomy is the science of pain. It was the unsavory side of professional cooking that attracted me to it in the first place.”