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The Good, Bad and Ugly of another highly predictable loss

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We all saw it coming.

Washington State v Utah Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Good morning from sunny and beautiful Austin, Texas, where yours truly witnessed an actual functioning offense in person on Saturday. It was the polar opposite from whatever that was in Salt Lake City, from both teams. That’s what stinks the most about yet another Washington State Cougars loss. Utah is a bad team, and while WSU is also a bad team, this was the second straight season that WSU had a chance to beat a bad Utah team with a bad quarterback, and just pissed it away. I know, I am just as stunned as you are.

As I was thinking about the quarterback situation this morning, and how disastrous WSU’s is at the moment, it dawned on me that even though we tend to focus on WSU’s woes, there is a dearth of quality QB play throughout the country this season. Just look at places like Texas A&M, Wisconsin, nearly every Pac-12 school, Clemson etc. Heck, even Oklahoma’s quarterback isn’t very good. That doesn’t make WSU’s misery any better, but hey, at least we have company!

Anyway, let’s get to this truncated edition.

The Good

  • On a personal note, I only had to watch the second half. And I’m doing this writeup while drinking a Tupps Full Grown Jack. It is really good.
  • In another effort to keep things positive, at least the Cougs waited until the 4th quarter to cough up the lead. So, progress?
  • Ron Stone had a high-impact game, and seemed to spend a lot of time in Utah’s backfield. He ended up with six tackles, three tackles-for loss and a sack.
  • The defense seems pretty adept at taking the ball away, collecting another three fumble recoveries on seven Ute fumbles.
  • Pretty solid day, average-wise, from WSU’s top two running backs, as they collected 105 yards on just 19 carries.
  • I really hope De’Zhaun Stribling sticks around, because that kid has a chance to be special. Even though he’s just a freshman, he seems to have been the quarterback’s security blanket on Saturday.

The Bad

  • It really is amazing that WSU has two healthy 4-star quarterbacks - Guarantano and Cooper - and neither is capable of competent play in FBS.
  • Is it just me or does Guarantano (age 23) have the pocket presence of a house fly? And that red zone interception just can’t happen. My god.
  • As in, there were eight sacks, and yes the offensive line stunk, but there was more than one occasion when the pocket was holding up and he panicked when his first read wasn’t there. Did I mention that he’s older than Justin Fields?
  • I’m starting to wonder if I should look for Brennan Jackson’s photo on a milk carton.
  • Nick Rolovich’s use of timeouts in the second half was...well it was something.
  • Does anyone know why coaches keep their offense on the field on 4th and short, only to take a delay of game and punt? I understand if they want to try a hard count or something, but the offense just stood out there until the play clock ran out. Wtf is the point?
  • Another play where WSU was completely disorganized on defense, with guys running on and off, and Utah gets an explosive play. This should not be happening in the fourth game.

The Ugly

  • Did I say that WSU recovered three of Utah’s seven fumbles? That’s an error, as it actually recovered four of Utah’s eight fumbles. But of course the inept officials (who also totally botched a Guarantano spot that became a WSU punt later on) gave Utah the ball despite an angle from behind that clearly showed the runner’s knees off the ground when he fumbled. Just another day with #pac12refs.
  • Utah ran the ball for 212 yards. Two hundred and twelve.
  • Lincoln Kennedy said WSU fell apart in the 4th quarter against USC. Apparently Lincoln only watched one quarter of video to prepare for the game. To be fair, that’s probably one quarter more than he watched the last time he was doing a WSU game.
  • Starting to think that Max Borghi should just stop playing until he leaves for the NFL, but I don’t think he’s doing his pro prospects any favors with his lack of availability over the past couple seasons. I hope I’m wrong, and I really hope he gets healthy soon.
  • Still got eight more of these to go. Let’s watch it out there.

Football

Washington State's 'anemic' offense falls flat, leaves door open for mistake-prone Utes in loss | The Spokesman-Review
Utah seemed determined to gift this one to Washington State. But the Cougars wouldn’t oblige. When the Utes blundered, WSU made sure not to capitalize.

Washington State suffers big blow with Max Borghi injury | The Spokesman-Review
Borghi stuck out his left hand and palmed Reid’s facemask with a stiff-arm, but the defender got a grip on the WSU star’s collar and dragged him down. The full force of Reid’s helmet landed on Borghi’s left hand/wrist.

Difference makers: Linebacker tandem leads Utes' staunch defense | The Spokesman-Review
WSU’s junior edge rusher had arguably his strongest performance in a Cougar uniform, logging three tackles for loss and one sack.

This Week in Parenting

Big doings on the youth football front. After the coach had watched one too many poor shotgun snaps in practice, he inserted the 13 year-old to give it a shot. As a result, the kiddo started the game at center on Saturday and the team won 38-7. As with last week, this is another obvious case of correlation = causation.

In another humorous example of “dad’s or kid’s take vs. mom’s take”, the kid harped on the 2-3 wayward snaps he had, while mom focused on the fact that none of his snaps went over the quarterback’s head, which she termed a perfect day. All about perspective.

Speaking of parenting, I got together with my dad and brother for another one of our semi-regular college football trips this weekend. This year, we ventured to Austin, where we loaded up on the world’s greatest barbecue.

We then watched Sark’s Texas Longhorns #Drop70 on the poor Texas Tech Red Raiders. Few things are more entertaining than watching a game with 100+ points, especially when you don’t have any stake in the outcome, except maybe something that was for entertainment purposes only. It was a beautiful day, with lots of good food and adult beverages.

Being able to access an air-conditioned venue with food and drinks at our leisure also helped. Highly recommend when it’s hot!

Non-Sports

The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine - The New York Times
Israeli agents had wanted to kill Iran’s top nuclear scientist for years. Then they came up with a way to do it with no operatives present.

Norm Macdonald was Tolstoy in sweatpants. Even when he texted you in the middle of the night. - The Washington Post
The comedian, who died Tuesday at 61, was meticulous about his work.