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The Good, Bad and Ugly of WSU’s embarrassing homecoming

Not great.

Jack Ellis/CougCenter

So first, a little blog inside baseball. None of our usual photo providers posted anything from WSU’s game Saturday, so I had to go looking for some sort of apt metaphor. It took only a few seconds until I decided to enter “car pileup” into the search window, and only a few more until a good photo appeared. Such is the state of Cougar Football at the moment.

I don’t know what it is about the month of October and this team, but man, does it ever stink once the leaves begin to change color. In 2022, WSU started 4-1 after beating Cal on October 1. It didn’t win again until November 5. If you’re hoping that changes quickly this year, dear fan, pack a lunch, because WSU goes to Eugene next week, and that is gonna be ugly. After that, it’s another road trip, this time to Tempe to face an ASU team that has been really close to breaking through lately. Sound familiar?

As for Saturday, if you managed to watch that embarrassment the entire way - yours truly bowed out at halftime - you’re either unfailingly loyal, an easy mark, or both. I’ve become a “die easy” fan over the years, and my life is so much better for it. Given that, let’s try and find some good things to say about Saturday

The Good

  • The first drive!
  • Nick Haberer’s punting!
  • The game was over in three hours!
  • Incredibly, there are a lot of people who had worse weekends than we did. First, this guy!
  • Related: This guy!
  • Who else had a worse weekend than WSU? I’d bet Caleb Williams did!
  • But who took the “worst weekend” title? For the second year in a row after losing to Washington, that would be resident doofus Dan Lanning, who is singlehandedly responsible for his teams losing important games and probably should be a coordinator and not a head coach. He simply cannot function in important games and it’s killing his team. Ok back to Pullman.
  • I really like Arizona’s uniforms and have no idea what the hell they were doing throughout the 2010s.
  • For the rest of the season, we won’t have to worry about seeing that pesky number next to the Cougar logo. I mean, who needs all the pressure of living up to a ranking? Irrelevance is much less stressful.
  • Anyone worried about Jake Dickert leaving for a better job can probably stand down. Maybe that’s good!
  • If you’re a Cougar fan who has Pac-12 Networks, you’re in luck! The Cougs will be on there a lot as we go through the rest of the season!

The Bad

  • Can we just kick an extra point, please?
  • I know I’m just a stupid fan, but when you need one goddamn yard to extend a possession, Jaylen Jenkins has no business carrying the ball between the tackles. Lunacy.
  • God bless Sam Lockett. He just can’t cover anybody.
  • Getting real tired of our linebackers and safeties running themselves out of plays, leaving gaping holes for opposing backs.
  • 3rd-and-12, in need of a spark. The call is a quick screen to a guy playing on a high ankle sprain. What was old is new again.
  • Running backs grabbing opponent face masks. Receivers false starting. Bravo, gents. Bravo.

The Ugly

  • Cam Ward’s breathtaking regression.
  • During practice, did Ben Arbuckle say anything to John Mateer about maybe not throwing to a group of three Arizona defenders on the double pass play?
  • It’s been a fact since football began, and WSU drove it home again on Saturday. I do not care how fancy your passing game is, or how many receivers you can trot out there. If you can’t run the ball effectively, you have no chance to beat anyone but the worst of teams. We knew before the season that the offensive line, once again, was the team’s most glaring weakness. After a few weeks of smoke, mirrors, baling wire and duct tape, it’s predictably coming apart. And unless Clay McGuire can figure something out (lol almost certainly not), y’all better get used to watching Cam Ward run for his life and make mistakes while the running backs get stuffed at the line. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In the end, everything just reverts to my hopes for all of my sports teams. Just win more than you lose. For WSU’s 2023 season, after the biggest non-effort I’ve seen in many, many years, that looks ever more perilous than it did 24 hours ago.

Go Cougs. Whatever.

This Week in Parenting

Dolphins win! Your favorite JV football team had a bit of a hybrid matchup this week, as it faced a school in its first year of competitive sports. As such, both teams combined freshman and JV squads so the opponent could field a full roster. I filled my volunteer role as spotter once again, and the youngest, along with his buddy sat up in the booth with me. Normally, there’s an official up there who runs the scoreboard, but the referees apparently needed the day off. In their place, the two youngsters and I underwent a quick self-tutorial, and they were off and running.

They were doing a great job, keeping up with down, distance, yardline and everything else, which isn’t as easy as it may seem! At one point, the kid even said, “Look at that scoreboard. Perfection.” Unparalleled humility.

When halftime came, they took a break and got some water. Then it was time to set up the board for the second half. This is when I remind you that two 12 year-old boys were in charge of the scoreboard.

I walked right into that one.

As for the on-field events, the Dolphins won convincingly. As the first half was winding down, the teenager (still a 140-pound kid playing defensive tackle after playing corner back as a freshman), burst through the line and sacked the quarterback! Wooooooooo! I may or may not have once again been a poor spotter while my kid was on the field. Not sorry.

About last weekend’s Wave baseball tournament. We did indeed win the first game, which meant that we had to kill several hours before the semifinal matchup at 5:45 p.m. A win there, and we’d have played in the title game at 7:30. Did I mention that this was a Sunday? A school night? WTF are these tournament organizers doing to us? Anyway, we lost the semifinal game rather convincingly, and I learned more new facts about this alternate universe that is travel baseball.

Turns out there are different levels of travel ball, and we’re AA. Two of the teams in the tournament are AAA level, and were playing down. Predictably, it went poorly for the Wave, which leads me to wonder why on earth a team plays down a level. What are we learning here, exactly? Related - I cannot believe this other team’s kids are the same age. They all looked like they were in high school.

The pitcher also threw like a high schooler, which isn’t ideal when the mound is much closer! Our coach said the pitcher threw about as hard as he’s ever seen at this level. Super. Then it came time for the 12 year-old to bat, with a couple kids on base and the game already out of hand. I was curious to see how he’d do. I didn’t get a chance to find out, as he wore a fastball to the ribs on the first pitch. He bravely tossed his bat aside and jogged to first, looking ok. What adrenaline he had quickly wore off, and he went down in a heap when he reached the base. Fortunately, he recovered, and has a pretty nice bruise to show for his effort.

We were listening to some music on the way to his flag football game this week, which must've worked because he caught a touchdown! Anyway, Taylor Swift's "Anti-hero" came on, and I said, "Nothing like some Taylor to get you fired up!" He says, "This is her worst song." I audibly gasped, and reminded him that back in the day, "Style" was his favorite song. He softened his stance and said, "Ok it's her third-worst song." I asked what her best song is, and he said "Cruel Summer" which I thought was a Bananarama song but whatever. So there you have it, another pre-teen's take on Taylor Swift's best and worst tunes.


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