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What are WSU’s 2020 Best and Worst Case Scenarios?

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Lots of variance, for lots of reasons!

Oregon State v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Good morning. Hopefully you’ve been outside at some point since we last spoke. It’s the little things. As you’re all aware, there aren’t any college sports taking place, so we have few options in a forum such as this. If memory serves, spring football was supposed to fire up around this time, but since that’s not happening, why not look even further into an uncertain future and talk about the fall??!! Any port in a storm, right?

Back in late January, when this virus thing was doing little more than causing rich elected officials to sell stock, college football-type folks began peering into their crystal balls toward college football season. The fine folks at College Football News love to do just that, and they turned their thoughts toward our Washington State Cougars a while back. While a lot could - and almost certainly will - change between now and the fall, I was somewhat surprised at the optimism on both ends of the spectrum.

Here’s a partial breakdown the best case scenario:

9-3: The Cougars aren’t exactly pushing themselves in non-conference play. New head coach Nick Rolovich is welcomed in with at Utah State, Houston and Idaho, and a 3-0 start before opening the Pac-12 season with a win at Oregon State.

I know we’re calling it a best-case scenario and all, but 9-3 seems even a bit beyond that, given all of the things that seem to be stacked against WSU. But hey, we all need to be looking on the brightest of bright sides at the moment.

I’ll let you read the rest on the link below.

As for the worst case scenario:

5-7: There’s a stumble against Houston or at Utah State in the first few weeks, and the Cougars drop the Pac-12 opener at Oregon State. Throw in tough losses to good Cal and Utah teams, and it’s uh-oh time.

I disagree whole-heartedly with 5-7 as the worst case. Why? Well, given where we are in the world, the worst case scenario - and one that might not be entirely farfetched - is no football season at all!

But presuming we do get to see Cougar Football in 2020, there are a few things working against them that will be tough to overcome. First, there’s a new coaching staff, which means new systems on offense and defense. The lack of spring practice greatly exacerbates that issue. Even Nick Rolovich thinks so. He mentioned on a podcast with Mitch Levy that the offense (more pointedly, the QB-receiver nuances) “will look awful for most of the spring, if not all of the spring.” Well now there isn’t a spring at all, so Rolovich and his staff are already playing catch-up.

Add to that the fact that WSU doesn’t have a quarterback on the roster who has played any meaningful snaps, and the curve gets even steeper. On the other side, I don’t think the guys who play defense will have as much ground to make up, because hopefully the scheme won’t be too complicated. There is that pesky issue of a glaring talent gap, however.

The biggest thing WSU has going for it is the relatively soft beginning to the schedule, as I’m sure we’ve mentioned previously. Both the Utah State Aggies and Houston Cougars will be breaking in new quarterbacks, and Idaho will always be Idaho. That does put on a little extra pressure, however, as the Cougs really need a 3-0 start to allow for some breathing space in conference play.

My best case right now? Let’s call it a mostly arbitrary 8-4. As for the worst case (besides no football at all)? Breaking in a new coach, a new quarterback and a new system (you can say what you want about the Run n Shoot being close to the Air Raid, but there are pronounced differences), and the dearth of talent on defense add up to the possibility of a rough season. We’ll call it 3-9.

Counterpoint: Nick Rolovich seems pretty awesome, and I don’t think I’m alone when smashing the “I believe” button.

What say you?

Football

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This Week in Parenting

This week was the first full week of what will almost certainly be the remainder of the school year with the kiddos at home. I get a break from the madness by heading to the office every now and again, but Mrs. Kendall is down in the trenches every day. So if we make it out of this thing with two living children, it will be solely because of her heroism on the front lines.

That’s not to say they don’t have some adventures, however. Last Sunday brought some good weather, so a friend of mine picked up the boys and, along with his kiddo, took them on a metal-detecting adventure near the house. After about an hour, they burst through the front door shouting, “We found a land mine!” Now, I would think that would be cause for concern, but to pre-teens it was about the greatest experience of their young lives. They had, in fact, detected a World War II-era anti-tank mine less than a mile from our house. Welcome to Germany.

Later, the weather on Saturday was chamber of commerce quality, which allowed the boys and I to get some baseball time in. Not so much on Sunday, with cloudy skies and temps in the upper 30s. That didn’t stop Mrs. Kendall from keeping the boys active, though. When I came in from my jog, here’s what greeted me.

Turns out that since they can’t play outside, Mrs. Kendall opted to have them take part in a yoga session. Namaste, you little bastards.

This Week in Social Distancing

One of our current situation’s casualties has been Scouting meetings. Some fine folks have adapted, and are holding merit badge sessions via Zoom, three times per week. We made sure the 11 year-old enrolled in all three pursuits, which come with M/W/F video conferences at 7 p.m. Friday night was the first meeting for the Personal Management (mostly personal finance) merit badge. The leader was asking the kids if they knew about buyer’s remorse, and I remarked to my kid that the only case of buyer’s remorse his mom ever had was when she picked a husband. Next thing I know, everyone on the screen is laughing.

Now, I’m a veteran of VTCs - not proudly so - and am a major stickler for proper “mute” button use. Clearly, I haven’t drilled that into the 11 year-old well enough, because he forgot to mute our mic after he’d spoken earlier. Maybe I need to start a movement toward developing a video conference merit badge.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Many from which to choose, especially because of the truly heroic folks at Mikkeller, who sent me lots of beer in the mail, for a fee of course. However, this week we’ll play one of the old hits. I’ve grown fond of a few things since moving to Europe. Among them is the Quadrupel style of beer, and the lovely city of Bruges, Belgium. Those two merge quite incredibly in the form of Straffe Hendrik Quad. I will never tire of this beauty.

Non-Sports

So apparently a lot is being made of some Netflix show called Tiger King. I don’t plan to watch it because Texas Monthly published a tremendous profile of that very topic back in June. I think I linked it in this section, but in case I didn’t, I will do so again. So do yourself a favor, skip this miniseries and start season three of Ozark.

Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild – Texas Monthly
He called himself the Tiger King and plastered his face on highway billboards in Texas and Oklahoma.