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Good News and Bad News for WSU on Saturday

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Let’s concentrate on the good news!

NCAA Football: Washington State at Utah Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings. If you’re a fan of the Washington State Cougars (almost certainly) and other teams from the Pacific Northwest (quite possibly) Saturday’s sporting events were quite a bummer. However, there was some good news to be had on the Cougar front, so let’s start with that, shall we?

Praise be! After only being able to play one of WSU’s four games in 2020 due to a back injury, nobody could have blamed Max Borghi for packing it in and testing the waters of the professional game. But there is no certainty to what awaits at the next level, and Borghi’s decision to return to Pullman for another season means that he has a chance to shine as a ball carrier like he was not able to in an Air Raid offense.

We saw how well Deon McIntosh ran the ball - he averaged 6.2 yards per carry as WSU’s only viable option at running back until the Utah game - and there’s no question that a one-two punch of Borghi and McIntosh will be a lethal weapon against opposing defenses in 2021, provided McIntosh also decides to return. After all, Deon has been in college since 2016, so next season would be his sixth. For his part, Borghi rushed for 95 yards on only 10 carries during the one game he got to play, showing how badly he is needed to take the offense to another level.

With others such as Calvin Jackson, Jr. and Renard Bell announcing their intentions to also return, WSU should be loaded at the skill positions, provided whoever starts at quarterback is able to elevate the offense. The only remaining mystery is tackle Abe Lucas, who has been quiet so far regarding his football future, and whose return would be monumental to the offense’s fortunes.

Now all that’s left to do is have an honest-to-goodness 2021 football season.

Football

Washington State's Max Borghi puts NFL on hold, will return to Cougars for fourth season | The Spokesman-Review
After missing three of WSU’s four games due to a back injury that was sustained during preseason camp, the junior running back announced Saturday evening he’ll put an NFL career on hold and return to the Cougars for a fourth season.

Basketball

Saturday wasn’t as good for the Cougar cagers, as they lost both a game and a good player to injury. The Stanford Cardinal presented a significant step up in competition compared to what WSU has seen this season, and it showed throughout the first half. In addition to trailing by double-digits at the break, injury came along with insult as Noah Williams left the game after being undercut on a layup attempt. The play appeared to warrant something more than a common foul, but the referees didn’t think so. Let’s see what Noah thought.

The Cougs fought back, though, once they figured out that giving the ball away wasn’t conducive to staying competitive. It looked like there might be a glimmer of hope when WSU battled back, as it always does, taking a brief two-point lead. But unfortunately that effort to get back in the game probably emptied WSU’s tank as Stanford scored 22 of the game’s final 27 points to win going away, 75-60.

As Theo Lawson pointed out, Stanford has been a particular bugaboo (among many) for the Cougs, having won the last nine matchups by an average of 19.5 points. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that hopefully Stanford’s Oscar da Silva moves on to the professional ranks after this season.

All in all, a road split is nothing to be disappointed about. Heck, we’ll be really excited if they can somehow muster another road split next weekend in Los Angeles, where two more solid teams in the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans await. The first-place Bruins are 5-0/9-2, with losses to San Diego State and Ohio State, while the Trojans are 3-1/8-2, with losses to the UConn Huskies and Colorado Buffaloes. Hopefully WSU is able to get a couple more guys out of COVID protocol before the weekend. Go Cougs.

Stanford, Oscar Da Silva too much for Washington State in 75-60 loss | The Spokesman-Review
The wounds Washington State suffered during Saturday’s loss to Stanford could be divided into two categories: those that were inflicted by the Cougars themselves and those that were inflicted by Oscar da Silva.

This Week in Parenting

There was a bit of a bonus Christmas this weekend, as one more gift finally arrived in the mail for the 12 year-old. His old Nerf-like mortar was down to one shell, so he asked his grandparents for a new set for Christmas. The set was ordered on November 16, so long before the holiday that I forgot about it until we began wrapping presents around the 20th of December.

When I finally looked at the tracking, the new delivery date was December 23. So of course that date came, and that date went, and the tracking info (which contained the wrong number and which I had to look up on a website in Chinese) said “your package may be lost.” Super. I finally got in touch with the company, who said it would be 15 more days. But at least they gave me the right tracking number, so I was able to tell the 12 year-old that his present was somewhere in a former Warsaw Pact country. Regardless of the slow pace, he kept asking every day, and normally I wouldn’t have an update. Well finally, on Saturday, the mortar set arrived. Here now is its journey from warehouse in China to house in small German village.

You’ll note that it still shows “in transit” even though it was delivered. I think my favorite part of that journey was the four-day “disinfection” which they made sure to denote. All told, the mortar set traveled roughly 7,700 miles through seven countries, over a period of 50 (!!!) days.

Elsewhere on the post-holiday beat, the boys have some Christmas money that has become a five-alarm fire in their pockets.

First up, the nine year-old.

I told him I’d think about it. He wasn’t in a mood to wait.

Good talk.

Not to be outdone, the 12 year-old dove in head-first.

I mean, when you want to spend 91 dollars, who am I to argue with the logic that you’re actually saving nine dollars?

Book Club

Scipio Africanus has been somewhat snakebitten. Shortly after I started it, one of the Generals at the office handed out a couple books for us to read, in the name of professional development. The first was Prisoners of Geography, in which the author posits that simply studying maps can tell us a lot about geopolitics, and why nations behave the way they do. I found much of it quite interesting, particularly the chapters on the Arctic, Africa and Europe/Russia. I’ll admit to being disappointed in the Middle East chapter. If you’re into geo-politics, history or both, I recommend it.

Next was Factfulness. The book leads off with a 13-question quiz that the author would often give to audiences that he was addressing. I got 7/13 and it was one of the proudest moments of my professional life. Anyway, the book takes a data-centric look at the world, and contains some very valuable pointers regarding the optimal way to analyze the things around us. I’ve never been an analytics/data acolyte, and some parts of the book stretch hard to make a point, but I highly recommend it. Looking at things through a fact-driven point of view would make the world a much better place. Instead, millions of Americans choose to believe a...nevermind.

Non-Sports

This story about how a reporter got ahold of the Pentagon Papers is fascinating.

How Neil Sheehan Got the Pentagon Papers - The New York Times
It was a story he had chosen not to tell — until 2015, when he sat for a four-hour interview, promised that this account would not be published while he was alive.

Alex Trebek’s Final ‘Jeopardy!’ Episodes Are a Testament to His Legacy - The Ringer The longtime ‘Jeopardy!’ host’s final episodes are airing this week. They’re a testament to Trebek’s profound impact—on the show he defined, the world it created, and the lives of those who crossed his path.