Greetings, Cougar fans, and welcome to bowl season. Now that the conference championship games are finished - maybe USC learned its lesson that if it had just called in sick, it would be in the CFP - we turn our focus toward the bowls. For your Washington State Cougars, that means a trip to sunny Los Angeles for the late night talkshow host bowl.
The Cougs have been all but locked in to that slot ever since the Apple Cup loss, seeing as how we were pretty sure the conference would get two teams into the New Year’s Six. That, coupled with the fact that WSU finished two full games behind the next teams in the standings, meant that the conference had to put WSU in Los Angeles. The only real mystery was the opponent, who would come from the winner of Fresno State vs. Boise State.
Though the Broncos were the betting favorite and home team (lots of empty seats for a conference title game, Boise), Fresno never trailed, and cruised to a 28-16 win. The Bulldogs clearly rode or died on the right arm of Jake Haener this season, as they started out 1-4 with Haener getting hurt during the USC game. But the QB returned eventually, and Fresno hasn’t lost since early October.
For some reason, this will be just the fifth meeting ever between the schools, and the first since 1994, when WSU won 24-3. I’m obviously never going to be confused with an athletic department administrator, but it seems like WSU and Fresno State should be playing a lot more often than once every 30 years or so. The Cougs lead the all-time “series” 3-1.
And since we’ve entered the era of players skipping bowl games or quitting during bowl games, and as much as I wish they’d stay and play one final time, I would officially like to launch a campaign encouraging Jake Haener to forego the game in order to get ready for the NFL Draft. Do it for your future, Jake!
The Jimmy Kimmel L.A. Bowl will take place in just under a fortnight at SoFi Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PST, and instead of a blasé, trophy, the winner will take home that awesome-looking championship belt. No word on whether the barfing camel will attend, but a suite can be yours for the bargain basement price of just $4,500. Inquire here!
Cougar Comings and Goings
We’ll start with the good news. WSU’s pair of defensive ends are both coming back for a sixth season on the Palouse.
Edge rusher Brennan Jackson said he will return to #WSU next year for a sixth season.— Colton Clark (@SpokesmanClark) December 2, 2022
"I wanna finish out as a Coug, finish what I started."
Missed it last night, but now seeing that #WSU edge Ron Stone Jr. announced during the Pac-12 Network broadcast that he'll be returning to Pullman for a sixth season.— Colton Clark (@SpokesmanClark) December 3, 2022
Cougs bring back their standout edge-rushing duo of Stone and Brennan Jackson for one more year.
Brennan Jackson had a really good season, while Ron Stone, Jr. fell off a good bit from his 2021 season. But having those two on the edges will be a great start for the 2022 WSU defense.
Who isn’t coming back on defense for 2023? That would be defensive coordinator Brian Ward, who is headed to run the defense under new coach Kenny Dillingham at Arizona State.
SOURCE: Brian Ward is expected to become the new defensive coordinator at ASU. Ward led one of the best defenses in the Pac-12’s at WAZZU, ranking No. 3 in the conference. Prior to that the AZ native led Nevada to dramatic improvement on the defensive side.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 4, 2022
It’s a bummer to see Ward depart, as WSU put together a passable defense this season, and had several solid performances despite losing a lot of 2021 contributors. On the surface at least, the move makes a lot of sense. Ward will certainly be in line for a raise in pay, and as the Spokesman Review reports, Ward is a Phoenix-area native. I hope Ward does a good job in nearly every conference game as part of the Sun Devils.
WSU is also moving in a different direction with its strength program.
I want to thank everyone at Washington State for an amazing 3 years. Our journey has made us family for life! Keep climbing! See you at the top! #Mywatchhasended— Dwain Bradshaw (@_CoachBradshaw) December 1, 2022
On the player front, Travion Brown put his name in the transfer portal earlier this week, and reserve quarterback Xavier Ward has also decided to move on.
Thank you WSU pic.twitter.com/LSEhHRskEA— Xavier Ward (@XMW12_) December 4, 2022
In this fun new era of skipping bowl games and transfers, I’m pretty sure we’ll be dealing with a lot of this in the coming days.
This Week in Parenting
While Sunday Night Football is probably the standard viewing fare for most people, we tend to watch 60 Minutes. Last week featured a segment on a Duke University program that focuses on raising and studying dogs. The high schooler declared on the spot that he was going to Duke for college. Didn’t even need a hat ceremony. But there will be a hat passed around for tuition donations.
Later in the week, the teenager came home from school on time, which is a rarity, as he almost always has some activity or another on the schedule. I sent outside to skim and sweep out the pool, so I wouldn’t have to do it again. As I was folding clothes in my room, something looked and sounded a bit off. Next thing I knew, I heard, “Dad! Help!” Sure enough, the kid had lost his balance and fallen in. He got out right away, but since a teenager’s phone is attached to them at all times, there it sat at the bottom of the pool. I grabbed the skimming net and, after two tries, managed to fish it out. I was going to try at least 10 times before going into that water.
So we got the phone out, got the kid dried off, and threw the phone into a bowl of rice as I hastily searched for whether we have insurance on his phone and/or his phone is water resistant. Of course, nope and nope. After about 40 hours in the bowl, the phone sems to work just fine, but does have some water damage to the lower right portion of the screen. Somehow, some way, the kid managed to survive nearly two whole days without a phone welded to his body. Miracles can happen!
Mrs. Kendall was away for a bit, so dad was in charge of dinner. That meant Whataburger time. I took the 11 year-old there on Friday, and his burger and medium fries cost me more than nine damn dollars.
Is that a lot, dad?
I don’t know. Seems like it is.
How much did you pay for a burger and fries back in the day?
Not that much.
I still remember 1998 in Pullman, when the local McD’s had $0.39 cheeseburgers on Sundays. A guy could pack in a good 2,000 calories (gotta tack on a large fry) for fewer than three bucks!
I was only buying dinner for the one kid because the oldest went to a movie with his buddies. Mrs. Kendall was concerned, since his phone was waterlogged.
He was fine.
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