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Taking a closer look at the 2021 football schedule

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Good? Bad? In between?

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

Good morning. There are lots of sports goings-on in Cougar Land, as the Washington State Cougars men’s basketball team is getting ready to defend its Pac-12 Tournament crown. The Cougar women are sitting back and hoping their resumé is good enough to merit a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Cougar Baseball is still raking all over the yard. So, with all of that going on, let’s talk about Cougar...Football? Yes indeed!

The Pac-12 finally got off its behind this week and published the 2021 football schedule. Ever since, many of the usual suspects have given their opinions on the subject, and we’re no different. Over at the Spokesman Review, Theo Lawson typed up a story that ranked all 12 games on WSU’s schedule, from least to most interesting. You can read the full article in the links, but I’ll just say that Theo and I disagree quite a bit on the Apple Cup’s position. Regardless, I thought that was a good idea, so I’m totally copying it. Here now, the 12 games on your Washington State Cougar football team’s schedule, ranked from least to most interesting on the always-scientific PIST* scale.

*PJ’s Idiotic Sports Takes

12) at California Golden Bears: I don’t want to watch this game. You don’t want to watch this game. Hell, even Oskie is planning to “accidentally” schedule a claw clipping that day.

11) at Washington Huskies: The only reason this isn’t 12th is because it’s Nick Rolovich’s first Apple Cup. Other than that, whoever put this graphic together deserves hearty pack on the back.

I mean, as a WSU fan, my official stance requires me to be upset. But damn if I didn’t laugh.

10) at Utah Utes: Oh good, another chance to play in Salt Lake City. WSU should have the deed its own wing of a hotel down there by now.

9) Portland State Vikings: This would probably rank somewhere around 16 out of 12 if not for that game that apparently took place in 2015. Instead, I’ll be in front of the TV screaming “RUN IT UP ON THEIR ASSES” in a lame attempt to recoup some measure of revenge.

8) Arizona Wildcats: Arizona will probably stink, and this should be one of WSU’s most winnable conference games. And before I hear, “Alright! Arizona has to come to Pullman in November!” please stop saying that. WSU hasn’t beaten Arizona so badly in Pullman of late because of the cold. WSU has beaten Arizona badly because its players were way better (as is the case almost all of the time). I’ve sat through many a frigid game in Martin Stadium and watched a team from the southern portion of the conference wallop the Cougs.

7) Stanford Cardinal: Another eminently winnable game for the Cougars. Not only have they owned Stanford of late, but the Cardinal just aren’t very good. Their slow fall from conference power to also-ran has been an oddly-unnoticed story, probably because hardly anyone pays attention to the Pac-12 and also because Stanford doesn’t have any fans.

6) at Oregon Ducks: Oregon keeps stacking up outstanding recruiting classes, and the last couple years have felt like real missed opportunities for the Cougars to extend their series winning streak. The off week prior will definitely help this season, as will the fact that the Ducks will be coming off a rivalry game in Seattle. That talent gap ain’t getting any narrower, though.

5) Utah State Aggies: Yeah, I know, this is almost certainly higher than anyone should have this one. But it’s the first game of the year, in what will (Inshallah) be an actually sort of maybe normal football season.

4) BYU Cougars: Like Portland State, this is probably higher than it should be. But this is the closest thing to a Power Five team we’ve seen in Martin Stadium since I was a WSU student. Yes, it’s been that long. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to sob into this Diet 7 Up. BYU shouldn’t be nearly as good as they were in 2020, which is nice.

3) Oregon State Beavers: The Cougs will be going for their eighth straight win against the kindred spirits from Corvallis. Well, except that those kindred spirits actually beat their rival every now and then. I was curious to see if this was in the running for longest winning streak in the series, and it’s close. WSU actually beat OSU 10 straight times in the 80s and 90s, and aside from a 14-14 tie in 1982, didn’t lose a game to the Beavers between 1979 and 1994 (aka that time the entire WSU defense wanted to murder Chad Davis).

2) at Arizona State Sun Devils: Another venue in which WSU should have won its last game. Anyway, late October in Tempe? Why do I get the feeling there will be thousands of Cougar fans there? We won’t mention the fact that ASU will likely be pretty good and WSU will almost certainly be an underdog. Sunshine and warm temps in late October! Be there!

1) USC Trojans: Yeah, the Cougs don’t have a great chance to win, but I’m nostalgically thinking back to the last time USC visited in mid-September. Plus, it’s always cool to see USC play in Pullman, even if the Cougs almost always exit on the wrong side of the scoreboard. And who could overlook Graham Harrell’s return to the Palouse?!

So there you have it. If I squint hard, I can find 6-7 wins in there, provided WSU finds a quarterback who can get his veritable s**t together.

Football

Ranking Washington State's 12 games from least to most interesting | The Spokesman-Review
It’s difficult to gauge what the Cougars will look like on the field when the Sept. 4 opener comes around, let alone any of their opponents, so we ranked the 12 games from least to most interesting.

Pac-12 Football Schedule 2021: Winners, Losers, 5 Things Need To Know
The Pac-12 had a shortened 2020 season, but it was a whole lot of fun stuffed into a small package of games. Now we get the full thing back, and it looks like it’s going to be a blast.

Pac-12 Football: What to Know About the 2021 Schedule
The Cougars should start 2-0 with games against Utah State and Portland State to begin 2021.

Baseball

Cougs beat Seattle by a touchdown! This is getting kind of ridiculous, as WSU scored 11 runs in the final four innings. As is the norm, Kyle Manzardo got two more hits. I won’t stop until this goes viral. Ok I will stop and it won’t go viral, but still.

Also I am 100% swooning over those jerseys.

Cougars Receive Big Boosts From Bench in Win Over Seattle U - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State evened things in the fifth inning and pulled away in the later innings for a 14-7 win over Seattle U at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon.

This Week in Parenting

Not much to report other than the rumor that the 12 year-old might have a girlfriend. I think what that means is he let it slip that he liked a girl, so mom and brother instantly labeled them as a couple. It is quite enjoyable to watch his face turn beet red when I mention her name. Which I definitely don’t do every time I see him.

Elsewhere, the degenerate parents continue to turn the kids on to booze, this time champagne.

They were a little more amenable to this than they were to beer. Fine with me!

Book Club

There’s a long and boring story behind why I read John Grisham’s The Innocent Man and you get to read about it! I was waiting on a ride home from Afghanistan one time when we found out the plane that was supposed to fly us back to the US broke, causing us to spend an extra night in the giant tent. I’d finished my book, and went looking for a new one at the base exchange.

Being a fan of non-fiction, I’d never read a Grisham book, but I saw that this one was a true story so I bought it. The only time I put it down was to go to sleep, and I was so engrossed that it took me a while to notice the giant rat staring at me while I was waiting for the bus to take us to the flight line. It was so compelling that I’d finished it by the time we landed at home. While looking it up, I saw that it was turned into a Netflix series, because of course. Definitely gonna watch!

Non-Sports

The Once-Classified Tale of Juanita Moody: The Woman Who Helped Avert a Nuclear War | History | Smithsonian Magazine
America’s bold response to the Soviet Union depended on an unknown spy agency operative whose story can at last be told

Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College - The New York Times
A student said she was racially profiled while eating in a college dorm. An investigation found no evidence of bias. But the incident will not fade away.