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Cheez-It Bowl: What can nature tell us about WSU vs. AFA?

Mascot metaphors!

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Apple Cup 2019 game time tv schedule WSU washington uw Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

I would first like to begin this article by thanking Air Force members for their service, because I don’t feel entirely comfortable teasing an entire branch of military before that preface. Now that I have that out of the way — hi Cougs! I’m here, in Phoenix!! And I’m pretty excited about it. The city itself is cool, surrounded by desert and mountains but still maintaining a glimmer of urban terrain.

So I decided to take a page from the environment and look at what it would be like if our mascot, beloved Butch T. Cougar, met the Air Force falcon in real life. My condolences for Aurora, the real life mascot who passed away recently, so I will be referring to hypothetical animals.

Obviously the cougar has ground advantage, which is the opposite of what the game will look like. You’ve heard this already, but we’re looking at an Air Raid against ground attack. That could be super interesting or really sad, and with our defense there is usually no in-between. It might be blind optimism, but I’m looking forward to seeing how that’ll shape up.

The falcon could attack from the air, but because of the quick reflexes of a cougar, I doubt that would work. I hope this rings true for a football metaphor. Anthony Gordon only needs 4 more completed passes (he currently has 465) to surpass Gardner Minshew’s 468, which would set a new Pac-12 Single Season Pass Completion record. That would be pretty cool and is ideally within reach of our receivers. Pun semi-intended.

Looking at the diet of the two animals, obviously a falcon is much smaller. Both are carnivores, but the falcon eats mostly rats. The cougar on the other hand is known to eat deer and the occasional stray Huskies.

The size can also loosely translate to football, as most of the Air Force players range from 6’-6’3”, with the occasional 6’5”. Most of our guys are 6’2” and our tallest is 6’7”. All in the same range and I am grasping a little bit, but I have never claimed to create the perfect metaphor.

While falcons stick to hunting at night (not ideal, kickoff is at 8:15pm local time, 7:15 PT) a cougar can hunt whenever. I’m taking this as a point to our advantage both because I am entirely biased, and because real life falcons have a layer in front of their eyeballs that is basically built in sunglasses. Cool from an evolutionary stand-point, but any animal that needs shades in order to go outside is automatically hindered. I don’t make the rules, Darwin does.

Also, because Chase Stadium has a roof, a falcon isn’t at an advantage anyway. From an audience standpoint, I am quite thrilled to have a roof; I’ve been having Sun Bowl 2015 and Apple Cup 2018 flashbacks all weekend, and did not pack for snow.

What will today’s game bring? I’m no psychic. But I like our bird-vs-cat chances in the wild. I hope this has been a good learning opportunity and I also hope we crush the Air Force later today! If you’re at the game and you see me, that would be really cool and I wouldn’t be able to believe it. I encourage all of you Coug fans to look up the song “Up in the air, Junior Birdman”- it makes a polite mockery of our opponents today. Go Cougs!

Time for links:

History, winning record on the line as WSU prepares for Cheez-It Bowl
Even though this has been a down year for the Cougs, there's still some history on the line Friday.

Blast from the Past/1992: Drew Bledsoe’s WSU bowl victory | Blast from the Past
Drew Bledsoe (front) and his father, Mac Bledsoe (in cowboy hat), walk off the plane after landing at a snowy Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport in this Mike Venso photo

Arco’s surprise: Receiver has made a career of ‘throwing people off'
PHOENIX — About the time Brandon Arconado was beginning high school in Southern California.

Cheez-It Bowl - Air Force vs. Washington State

WSU men's basketball team to play catch-up as Pac-12 play nears
PULLMAN — It’s back to a hard truth for the Cougars: Pac-12 play is looming, and they surely wish they had more time.

Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force-Washington State odds, picks and best bets
Previewing Friday's Cheez-It Bowl Air Force Falcons vs Washington State Cougars college football matchup, with NCAA football betting odds, picks and best bets