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Early predictions on the 2020 Pac-12 standings

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Where will the Cougs finish?

NCAA Football: Colorado at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. I’d say that hopefully you’re all spending time at home with your family on this Easter Sunday, but that’s pretty much the only thing any of us can do at the moment. Well, immediate family anyway. But while we’re all stuck at or near home with no end in sight, why don’t we try and think of fall Saturdays with tailgating, friends and football? We won’t talk about the first two today, but we can still think about the latter a bit.

Earlier this year, as they like to do, many #content providers took a stab at how the Pac-12 will shape up in 2020. Big picture-wise, the Washington State Cougars came in right about where they usually do, i.e. fourth or fifth in the Pac-12 North.

First up is Athlon, which pegs the Cougs fourth in the division, ahead of the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon State Beavers. In my opinion, the biggest gap in the standings is between the top three and the bottom three. The trio of the California Golden Bears, Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks seems to be quite a bit better than the other three, at least at this juncture. Obviously, a lot will change as the season plays out.

Here’s part of the WSU analysis:

Regardless of who starts at quarterback, getting the ball to running back Max Borghi is a good idea. Borghi accounted for 110.4 all-purpose yards a game last season and should be the focal point of this offense...The defense will return largely intact, but this unit took a step back on the stat sheet in 2019. Reloading up front and replacing cornerback Marcus Strong will be among the top priorities in the spring.

So yeah, about that spring part.

Meanwhile, ESPN released its Football Power Index (FPI) rankings about six weeks ago, and has WSU ranked 54th in the country and ninth in the Pac-12, ahead of Arizona, Colorado and OSU. While ESPN didn’t put a lot of verbiage to the initial rankings, the folks at 247 decided to tease out the Pac-12, and you can read about that in the linked article below. I will say that I was most surprised at the fact that Stanford is clear up at 28th in the country and fourth in the conference. That...is quite a stretch in this person’s humble opinion. Interestingly, there are three Pac-12 teams bunched together in Stanford, Washington and Cal.

And so endeth the aspirational look at football 2020 for this week.

Football

Early Pac-12 Football Predictions for 2020
A complete breakdown of way-too-early Pac-12 predictions for the 2020 season.

ESPN releases Pac-12 preseason rankings
ESPN ranks all 130 FBS teams, and we took a look at each one from the Pac-12 eight here. The first number is the conference ranking, while the number in parentheses is the overall ranking.

John Blanchette: Washington State’s Dallas Hobbs designs angelic memorial to Bryce Beekman | The Spokesman-Review
Often the most difficult part of helping is deciding what part of ourselves to give.

Basketball

Washington State’s Kyle Smith details how the coronavirus has affected NCAA transfer portal during S-R forum | The Spokesman-Review
The coronavirus pandemic may be shaping how college basketball coaches are doing business these days, but the business itself is not too much different than usual.

This Week in Parenting

Spring break, we hardly knew ye. I’ll be honest, it was kind of nice for my kids to experience the kind of spring break I had growing up, as in pretty much hanging out at home and annoying the parents. But I still want to get them out and about as much as I can, so I’ve been mandating that they ride their bikes along with me when I go jogging. The 8 year-old loves it, while the 11 year-old is a dick about it, which tells me he’s careening toward the typical teenager attitude.

Friday night, I left the house with two kids and damn near returned with none. If it’s not the 8 year-old bitching about the hills, it’s the 11 year-old refusing to stay with his brother despite specific direction to do so. If it’s not the 11 year-old getting too close to the 8 year-old’s tire - almost leading to a massive wreck - it’s the 8 year-old whining about how his brother keeps trying to pass. I’m the kind of person who has a tough enough time getting loose enough to feel good when running, so I’ll be damned if I’m stopping for anything short of bike crash-induced compound fracture.

The combination of constant complaining, and my refusal to give in to them by stopping led to more than one fusillade of swearword-laced tirades, all while trying to maintain my subpar pace. It’s a good thing nobody else was around, but I’m betting a few of my lines even caused some of the pine trees along the path to do a double take. Dinner time at the Kendall house on Friday night didn’t contain a lot of discussion as a result.

So anyway the Easter Bunny got the little bastards some Lego and new wireless headphones. That, along with me giving some very specific pre-run rules of engagement, greatly improved their attitudes and performance on Sunday’s jaunt through the neighboring village. The lesson, as always: When all else fails, concise guidance (and bribery) usually do the trick.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Santa once again came to the house this week, in the form of mail order beer from Mikkeller. Among others, he delivered The Ocho, which is a collaboration among eight different breweries throughout the globe. Now, I don’t know how you can get that many people to pitch in on one specific beer, but they did a helluva job.

Wine, beer, alcohol delivery: How to get alcoholic beverages delivered to your door
Many states are relaxing alcohol delivery laws as liquor stores are deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic. Here's how to find a service you can use in your area.

Non-Sports

I’m sure you’ve read about the hubbub regarding the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the firing of its Captain over the last week or so, amid the constant deluge of news we get nowadays. I wanted to give a few thoughts of my own. Now, I’m never going to command a ship, and I’m never going to be a senior leader in the military, but I’ve worked for enough of them (almost all outstanding) to understand how they tend to think and make decisions.

What follows is my opinion, formed over 21-plus years of observing how commanders make those decisions.

I don’t know how it works in the civilian world, but in the military (especially nowadays) every decision a commander makes is based upon risk. Among other things, commanders want options, and along with those options, an analysis of which option carries with it the amount of risk that can be accepted in order to safely accomplish a given mission. There is no doubt in my mind that Captain Brett Crozier had risk at the forefront of his mind when drafting the memo that resulted in the Secretary of the Navy relieving Crozier of command.

In my opinion, Captain Crozier was weighing the risk of his decision to disseminate the memo to a wide audience against the risk of Coronavirus to the crew he is charged with protecting. He could have appealed up the chain of command, which is almost always the proper way to handle inflammatory situations. However, he either knew it would take too long to get resolution by doing that, or he believed that going through the proper channels would not solve his problem. Probably a combination of the two.

As a senior officer, he also surely know that widening the aperture on his memo (including upwards of 20 others on the email address list) would inevitably result in that email leaking out. Again, he was weighing the risk of the leakage and associated repercussions - likely his firing - against the urgent problem of his crew’s safety. Despite that, he was willing to risk his own career to garner the attention of those up the chain of command, and compel them to help him. Well, he certainly got their attention, and he got fired. Like a very wise Colonel once told me, you only have to fall on your sword once if you do it correctly. That Colonel is now a 3-Star General, and is one of the most brilliant men I have ever met.

In the Secretary of the Navy’s defense, nobody in a leadership position likes to be surprised, let alone blindsided, and there is no doubt that he felt blindsided. What should he have done? Well, he probably should have taken a step back, given Captain Crozier all the help he needed, and evaluated the status of the Captain once the crew of the Roosevelt’s health had been addressed. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the Secretary of the Navy fired the Captain, then flew to the other side of the world in order to trash Captain Crozier via a speech to the Roosevelt crew, a crew that almost unanimously loved Captain Crozier. Not good, Bob. Secretary Modly would soon be former Secretary Modly.

The problem is bigger than Secretary Modly, though. It’s also bigger than the Navy. Over the course of my career, the military has increasingly become a risk-averse, “one mistake and you’re out” force. It is a military that - if not actively - subconsciously discourages risk-taking, because commanders at all levels don’t want to be the one with his or her head/ass/rank on the line if something goes wrong. I could write another 1,000 words on this.

It also doesn’t help that the Department of Defense has almost zero continuity. The new (interim) Secretary of the Navy is James E. McPherson. He is the fifth SECNAV (sixth if you count Modly’s other brief term) since Donald Trump became President. The Secretary of the Navy’s boss is the Secretary of Defense. The current SECDEF, Mark Esper, is the fourth person in that position since 2017. Of those nine people, seven (SEVEN!!!!!!) have had “Acting” in front of their titles.

My friends, that is no way to run a banana stand, let alone a military. When you have constant change at the top, it is nearly impossible to set, establish, and carry out a clear policy. That negatively affects every man and woman in uniform, along with every DoD civilian and contractor. It is symptomatic of a much larger problem throughout government that I won’t go into here.

End rant.

Happy Easter.

It’s Hardly Shocking the Navy Fired a Commander for Warning of Coronavirus Threat. It’s Part of a Pattern. — ProPublica
In dismissing the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy once again punished the messenger, a frontline leader brave enough to tell the unvarnished truth to superiors about a threat to his sailors.