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Cougar bowl locale comes into focus: Ready for some Sun?

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Hope you like TexMex! WSU is headed to El Paso for the Sun Bowl.

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NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, and welcome to what has become a nice tradition in these parts over the past several years. Sunday is the day that we learn where the Washington State Cougars will take part in their postseason bowl game, for the sixth consecutive season. But despite the fact that that Cougs are now on the verge of playing in yet another bowl game, it’s starting to look and feel a lot like 2015 around here.

UPDATE: It is, in fact, the Sun Bowl! Against Miami! Yay?

Bowl News

That is, it’s 2015 all over again if we are to believe the consensus bowl projections out there. While I’m guessing that a vast majority of Cougar fans were hoping for the new and more pleasant bowl environs of Los Angeles or Las Vegas - possibly even a third crack at San Diego - it’s looking a lot like WSU will be headed to an old Texas town where Cosmo Kramer has some fond memories.

Not only that, but all of the experts are predicting that the 2021 Sun Bowl will be a rematch of the 2015 version, against the Miami Hurricanes. On that day, a game named after the sun became one covered in snow, then WSU went from “we may blow them out” to “are we really gonna crap away another one of these?”, finally sealing a nail-biter with a...Luke Falk option keeper??? That bowl win was significant for a couple reasons. It was WSU’s first in a dozen years, and it took some of the sting off what was a ghastly Apple Cup performance.

Also in December of 2015, Adele’s “Hello” was the #1 song, Star Wars Episode Something or Other was the top movie, and you could get a share of Netflix stock for a little over $118. That same share would cost you north of $600 today. If the predictions come to pass, this will be WSU’s third appearance in the game, and they will be looking to maintain their undefeated record. They first beat the Purdue Boilermakers in the 2001 version (brought to you by the crooks at Wells Fargo), then squeaked out that aforementioned game against Miami (brought to you by Hyundai).

On the bright - ok, not as dim? - side, this year’s sponsor is easily the best of the three, with our man Tony the Tiger at the helm.

Additionally, this year’s game will take place on New Year’s Eve, as opposed to the day after Christmas. So while there are probably places other than El Paso that you prefer to ring in 2022, this year’s date is certainly more amenable to travel than the last time the Cougs were there. Another cool thing about the Sun Bowl is that it’s not some Johnny-come-lately / ESPN invention, as this will be the 88th rendition of that game. And if the opponent does turn out to be Miami, there’s a decent chance that WSU will face a Hurricanes team led by an interim coach once again.

If you’re interested in the official announcement of the matchup (which will have leaked long beforehand), the teams will be revealed around lunch time on Sunday from a horse track in New Mexico.

Seems about right.

Cougar Coaching Update

It’s been in the hopper for the better part of a week, and Saturday it finally came out in the open. What’s that? The Gamble-Tron hinted at it when we threw out some picks on Saturday.

Why were we interested? Well, we were aware of the seemingly super awesome news that Jake Dickert has plucked former WSU assistant Eric Morris to run the Cougar offense in 2022. The only thing getting in the way was Incarnate Word’s success, as it was still alive in the FCS playoffs. Morris’ Cardinals faced a tall task on Saturday, as they took on top-ranked Sam Houston State. Despite going in as a 14-point underdog, Incarnate Word damn near pulled off the upset, taking the lead in the fourth quarter and piling up 600 yards (12.3 YPA) of offense before falling, 49-42.

(cough; we had another solid week, going 4-2, and sit at 25 games over .500 for the season; cough)

About seven hours later, Matt Zenitz reported the news.

I’ll let CougCenter’s smart people give you a much better analytical breakdown once the hire is official, but I can say that this is damn exciting news, and credit to Jake Dickert for nabbing Morris. The most important hire a defensive-minded coach makes is offensive coordinator, and Morris seems like a home run. Will it work out? Who knows!? Still, I have a hard time coming up with a name and resumé that would make me more excited about next year’s offense.

Basketball

Kyle Smith’s Cougars missed an opportunity for a quality win on Saturday, falling to the USC Trojans, 63-61. It was almost certainly another painful watch for those who partook, as the Cougars didn’t even reach 38% field goal shooting, and surrendered a late lead once again. On the bright side, at least the team in Pullman isn’t forfeiting games because of COVID. What an embarrassment that University of Washington’s athletic department has become.

The Cougars have five more non-conference games to try and get their (bleep) together on offense before Pac-12 play resumes on December 29, against the aforementioned tire fires of Montlake.

Noah Williams' game-winner falls short, Washington State loses Pac-12 opener to No. 20 USC | The Spokesman-Review
Forward Noah Williams couldn’t convert his 3-point attempt and the 20th-ranked Trojans remained undefeated with a 63-61 Pac-12 Conference road win.

This Week in Parenting

We were talking about the big Coug win this week (a 40-13 ass-kicking over Washington in Husky Stadium, in case you forgot), when the 13 year-old asked if he could get an Apple Cup Champs t-shirt. Almost brought a tear to my eye. But unfortunately, unlike that random time we beat Oregon five years ago, apparently nobody cared to make shirts to commemorate the 40-13 curb-stomping that WSU put on Washington while waving the Cougar flag at the Husky 50. At least, my rudimentary internet search did not reveal any such shirts for sale.

Later in the week, I arrived home to the boys staring at their tablets (this is not unusual, as they get an hour or so each night once homework is done). Normally, they have their earbuds in, so I can’t - nor do I want to - hear what they’re listening to. But this time I did hear some unusual sound coming from the 10 year-old’s tablet. Finally, I asked what the sound was. “I’m taking Russian lessons online.” Well alrighty then.

Friday brought my office’s combination Thanksgiving/Christmas party. Originally it was supposed to be at a restaurant off base, but Germany has gone full wackjob over COVID, so I came home on Wednesday and told the family that we were doing a potluck at the office. I don’t know what got lost in translation, but on Thursday the 10 year-old demurred, saying he was not looking forward to the “pop and lock” at my office. I’ll admit that the festivities would have been far more entertaining had they centered around popping and locking, as opposed to roasted ham and pasta salad.

So the hour came, and the family ventured into my workspace. The 10 year-old decided to decry the conditions immediately. “Your office is boring.” I had no comeback. After the onslaught continued, he arrived at “Even your water fountain is boring. The one at my schools is way cooler.” I mean, ok? I asked him what qualified as a non-boring water fountain and never got a satisfactory response.

As I was walking them out, we got in the elevator and I told them that I’d been in the SCIF before they arrived (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility - aka where all the Top Secret stuff lives), and they wanted to see it. So we took the elevator to the basement, and I pointed to the door to the area we call the “vault.” That was as far as they were allowed to go, obviously. For one final time, the kids felt compelled to troll dad’s workspace. “I thought the door would be much bigger and heavier, like a bank vault or something.”

Too bad we only do this once a year!

Non-Sports

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How the 1936 Berlin Olympics boycott effort failed - The Washington Post
The Olympic boycott campaign of the 1930s included civil rights groups, college presidents, newspapers, labor organizations, politicians and others, but Nazi Germany got the propaganda win it had been seeking.