First, it was spring practice. Then, it was the beginning of preview season. Now, we have yet another sign that football season is fast approaching as the Pac-12 announced kick times and broadcast information for its first tranche of 2023 football games. Let’s take a look!
September 2nd - WSU at Colorado State: 4 p.m. PDT on CBS Sports Network
I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the last time WSU opened the season on the road against a Mountain West team, with a broadcast carried on CBS Sports Net, WSU won 11 games and finished in the Top 10. Foreshadowing??!! Probably not, but hey, we’ll grasp at just about anything that may portend a big season for the Cougs.
As far as the opponent, Colorado State has almost nowhere to go but up. Here’s what College Football News had to say about Jay Norvell’s first Rams edition of 2022, in its preview article:
The Rams went 3-9 for their fifth straight losing season. The defense was okay, but the offense was a disaster, failing to get to 20 points in any game.
It was definitely evident during CSU’s visit to Pullman that the Rams were a tire fire, as WSU scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and registered seven sacks on the way to an easy 38-7 victory.
So, what does CFN see happening in 2023? Apparently the Rams are rebuilding as much as WSU is along the offensive line (Ts and Ps to Clay Millen, once again), and 4-5 wins seems to be close to the ceiling.
The Rams, though, didn’t really improve enough personnel-wise to make a massive leap. For the changes to come, they’re going to have to catch lightning in a bottle from the transfer portal, and the young players who got their butts kicked throughout last season need to rise up and rock.
While it probably won’t look as easy as the 2022, WSU shouldn’t have much of a struggle with this opponent. Oh, and apparently Ayden Hector plays for Colorado State now. Interesting!
This will only be WSU’s third game against the Rams, which is odd. Aside from last year’s WSU blowout win, I don’t recall any other time these teams met. Probably an internet error.
PS - What the hell happened to Winsipedia? That website was extremely handy!
September 9th - Wisconsin at WSU: 4:30 p.m. PDT on ABC
Holy perfect starting time! Before the conference announced the start time, I was hoping form something around 4 p.m. Wish granted! Not only that, but this game is an ABC national telecast. No, not the regional deal we’re used to. If you turn on ABC during this window, no matter where you live, you’ll see the Cougs. It does go up against Alabama-Texas, but whatever. WSU will be on an ABC exclusive telecast for the first time in like two decades!
So, what about the opponent? This ain’t gonna be your old man’s Wisconsin Badgers. Ever since Barry Alvarez showed up and took Wisconsin from perennial doormat to multiple Rose Bowl champion, the Badgers have been a run-first, play-action offense. No longer.
New head coach Luke Fickell brought in Phil Longo from North Carolina, where he ran offenses that put up gobs of points for the Tar Heels behind studs like Drake Maye and Sam Howell. Now Longo’s offense is in Madison, along with SMU transfer Tanner Mordecai, who put up more than 7,000 yards passing and 72 touchdown in 2021 and 22. The Badgers also still have stud running back Braelon Allen and a host of transfer receivers to bolster the offense.
To that end, here’s something interesting about Wisconsin’s reliance on the ground game:
The team was 6-0 last year when running for more than 192 yards, 1-6 when it didn’t, and was 7-1 when running for 4.5 yards per carry or better. To take this even further, the program is 22-1 over the last four years when getting past 192 yards - the only loss coming to Ohio State in 2019.
The defense lost a few key pieces, notable linebacker Nick Herbig, who incidentally didn’t have a big impact when WSU won in Madison last season, for whatever reason. I expect the Badger defense to be solid if not spectacular, like it almost always is. As for the team as a whole, it will definitely be improved. How much will obviously be a mystery until the proverbial bullets start flying.
You can read the entire CFN Badgers preview here. This matchup will bread the 1-1 tie in the all time series, as the Badgers won in 2007 before WSU got even last year. I can’t wait to be in Pullman for this game. Hopefully it ends like the last one did!
September 16th - Northern Colorado at WSU: 2 p.m. PDT on Pac-12 Networks
YOU GUYS IT’S THE COVETED 2 PM TIME SLOT ALL OF US OLDS SO COVET! AKA THE TOM HANSEN SPECIAL!
For real, though, given the fact that this game is sandwiched between home dates against Wisconsin and Oregon State, I will be surprised if there are 20,000 people in the seats, especially if the Cougs lose the week prior.
I know next to nothing about the mighty Bears of Horace Greeley’s namesake, other than the following factoids:
- WSU has faced Northern Colorado just once, in 2019. WSU won that game 59-17, as Cougar QBs threw for 481 yards (11.5 YPA) and five touchdowns. Northern Colorado rushed for 216 net yards (109 yards more than its season average), on 4.0 YPC (NCU ended the season averaging 3.1 YPC). In hindsight this probably should have been more alarming than it was at the time!
- Northern Colorado hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2016.
- Greeley is home to WeldWerks, which brews some outstanding beer. What is WeldWerks really bad at? Honoring its bets. Just ask our guy Craig Powers.
Former and also semi-current Spokesman Review sports writer Dave Boling put together a long feature on former Cougar Leon Bender this week. For Cougs of a certain age, Bender was bigger than life, overcoming academic and eligibility struggles to anchor a WSU defense that helped get the Cougs to Pasadena.
Cougar coach Mike Price is featured throughout the article, and this quote about sums up father-son-like yet rather complicated relationship between the two.
“He was one of my favorites, but at times he wasn’t,” Price said. “He was such a character. He had that great smile and was a great leader. Some kids can push your buttons, though, and have a way of getting to you, and he could get to me. I loved him … but it was confusing.”
“I admit, I kind of gave up on him,” Price said. “He would do things … I was frustrated. He was such a leader that a lot of times kids would follow him and not me.”
Price echoed a coaching axiom that sometimes the players hardest to reach are the ones who end up being the most rewarding.
“He was a thoroughbred and a really good guy,” he said. “But it wasn’t always easy.”
If not for Price’s unending faith in him, along with many others in his life (most pointedly, fellow WSU student Liza Garcia), as well as Bender’s commitment to be a good husband, father and player, we probably wouldn’t remember the name Leon Bender in Pullman. Instead, this story had a happy ending in Pasadena. At least, it should have. Unfortunately, Leon’s life was lost far too soon. But he definitely had an outsized impact on many others while he was here. This is worth your time.
According to reports, WSU baseball coach Brian Green is headed from the middle of nowhere to almost the middle of nowhere to coach WSU. Make Sense? This despite the fact that Green signed a contract extension in 2021 - a nice reward for going all of 35-30 - after having coached WSU for just one full season.
BREAKING: @GoShockersBSB is expected to hire Washington State's Brian Green as its next head coach, @d1baseball has learned. Green turned around New Mexico State before spending the last four seasons at Wazzu. This comes after interviews the last three days. #Shockers pic.twitter.com/h9huT8tU7q— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 4, 2023
So, in addition to helping clean up the fiscal calamity he oversaw, Pat Chun now has to hire a baseball coach for the second time in four years.
This Week in Parenting
It was the first full week sans school, and you won’t believe this but both boys spent most of their time doing jack squat. The oldest has begun football conditioning, but that’s over by about 11 a.m. After that, it’s foot loose and fancy-free until sack time. The 11 year-old has already settled in nicely. So much so that he asked my one morning if I got summer vacation as well, and then seemed rather baffled when I said, “that’s not how it works when you get older.” Bless his heart.
Before school ended officially, actual schooling pretty much ended a week early for the former 5th grader. How do I know? The term he mentioned more than any other was “ultimate recess” which apparently meant the kids showed up and then just played all day. There was also a permission slip in case it rained and the kids had to watch a movie. Said permission slip was to ensure that parents were ok with the 5th grade class watching a “G”-rated movie. You read that correctly. I had to give my consent in order for my kid to view Finding Nemo. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it one more time for the free state of Florida! All hail our dear leader and the scores of idiot/overbearing helicopter moms for
liberty totalitarianism throughout the land!
Later in the week, I flew what we call an “out-and-back” for work. You take off from home station, land at a different airport, grab some food, then fly another mission and land back home. On Wednesday, the mighty T-1 Jayhawk made its way to John C. Stennis Airport in Mississippi. Upon landing, crew members get a voucher that allows us to order anything on the menu for $1. And the food is good! After that, well, I squeezed in some time to anger up the kids’ blood between debriefing mission #1 and briefing for mission #2.
This was met with a rather negative reaction, so of course I had to press the issue.
You won’t believe it but they weren’t happy.
Ok, I should probably stop now. Lol nope.
Dad Superior Trolling Achievement: UNLOCKED
Old Man Yells at (Google) Cloud
Team Kendall has been in its house for about 10 months now, and although there was a lot to like about the house, the seller was an elderly widow who had done next to nothing in terms of improving the home in many, many years. Among the multitude of projects we decided on was to increase the size of the patio, which would require the landscaping company to pour concrete. We signed the contract, made the down payment, and confirmed a start date of May 30.
But before then, we had to have another guy come out and move our sprinklers around, on short notice (definitely not free!) because the landscapers confirmed the May 30 start date. So we get all that done, I go to work on Tuesday, and Mrs. Kendall waits for them to show. And waits. Aaaaaand waits. Nothing. So she calls, and the person on the other end says something about how they’re backed up and maybe they’ll get to our house in a week or so, but she has to talk to the project manager first. Um, not really acceptable! For many reasons! To include our travel plans! So I call at 11 a.m. the next day and ask to speak to the project leader. You won’t believe this but he wasn’t available! The same lady also said that they’d been backed up because of rain the previous week. Surprisingly, she hadn’t mentioned that to my wife earlier. It’s almost as if maybe she was making it up!
The entire day went by without a call, text or email reply. By 6:30 p.m., I’d had enough, and decided to write me second Google review ever, in which I laid out the timeline, lack of professionalism, and not-insignificant amount of money we’d already paid them to not show up. Within an hour, someone was at my door to survey the yard, and said they’d be there the next day to start. Sure enough, the crew showed up at 7 a.m. Wednesday to begin. The company then asked us to take the review down, to which I replied, “It’ll get edited once the job is done satisfactorily.”
So that’s where we are, and I have a question - WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AROUND HERE??!! WHY DOES IT TAKE A SCATHING INTERNET REVIEW TO GET SOMEBODY TO DO THEIR GODDAMN JOB??!! If one person - one person! - would have called me back, this would have been avoided. So then the secretary calls and says they had to move their schedule around to squeeze our project in. Trying to pretend you’re doing us a favor, after ignoring your commitment? Oh, that is rich.
The other Google review I wrote came after multiple attempts to contact a local business, over a period of eight weeks, went unanswered. The day after the Google review posted, I had resolution. The power of the Google review seems far weightier than it should be, but Jesus Christ, just return a goddamn call or email and your precious rating won’t be affected.
Out of our minds: opium’s part in imperial history | Drugs | The Guardian
How a mind-altering, addictive substance was used as a weapon by one empire to subdue another.
Russians snitch on Russians who oppose war with Soviet-style denunciations - The Washington Post
As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime cracks down on critics of the war and other political dissenters, citizens are policing one another in an echo of the darkest years of Joseph Stalin’s repression, triggering investigations, criminal charges, prosecutions and dismissals from work.