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January 17, 2009

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - Genius Is Born, Not Paid



This past football season, the Cougars had a dismal year to say the least. The very least that is, a season worse than the previous is hard to remember if it occurred at all. The number of times you buried your head in your hands and thought deeply about tossing your television out of the window would have to be countless while watching a Cougar game. Ways to forget about the season varied from taking on more at work, not reading newspapers or the popular Pullman method of drinking away the pain. But everyone knew this season was not going to be a good one and after all, it should be considered a stepping stone towards success.

Although the journey will be a long one, something deep with in the recesses of my mind tells me that next year the skies may open up and shine down upon the Cougar faithful. This trek back to the Rose Bowl will be a long one, but that doesn't mean that along the way we as fans can be treated to a season with, dare I let the words pass my mouth, bowl possibilities at the end.

For those of you who have picked up the phone to dial your local asylum to tell them they have a very special case coming, please give me a moment of your time. I have my reasons and I believe some of them to very valid so don't let Dr. Kline at the crazy house on the other line convince you otherwise quite yet.


Many things are really unknown at this point, most of the uneasy feelings surround the make-up of the defensive line which is valid. Kevin Kooyman and a late season treat in Toby Turpin will be back but there is still a great amount of concern there. The offensive line was plagued with injuries last year and that will be a key concern again as they all try and stay healthy in the year to come.

But enough of the discouraging talk. Why should you be looking forward to the coming year? The biggest reason, for myself anyway, comes down to two little words: James Montgomery. The transfer running back from Cal was the practice squad player of the week just about every week of the season. While at Cal during his redshirt freshman season, he logged 171 yards on 36 carries while running behind Justin Forsett. Montgomery will come into fall camp battling for the starting position with two year starter Dwight Tardy immediately and the competition will be good for everyone.

As fall rolls around, Marshall Lobbestael should be fully healthy after recovering from ACL surgery and will compete for the starting quarterback position with Kevin Lopina and even J.T. Levenseller creating more healthy competition at the position. Once the coaching staff figures out who their signal caller will be, they will have a good crop of receiver to throw to including Jeshua Anderson, Michael Willis, Jared Karstetter and incoming freshman Gino Simone (assuming he isn't redshirted). The offense looks to be full of some relatively underrated weapons.

This view, I will admit, is relatively optimistic because now I turn and look at the schedule. The Cougars go on the road to The Los Angeles Coliseum, Autzen Stadium and a game at a "neutral" site game in San Antonio with Notre Dame. The key to this schedule will be the early season with games at home against Stanford, in Seattle against Hawai'i and at home against Southern Methodist. Based on the way they play these games we will know much about this Cougar team. Mark my words: should they win all three of these games, the Cougars stand a great chance of making it to a bowl.

Now that I see the asylum paddy wagon has arrived outside my humble abode, I'll leave you with this before I go to my room lined with mattresses. Last season, for all of us may have been a blessing. Now that we know the pain of the failure, we can enjoy the blessings of a new and successful season that lay ahead.

"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise" - Oscar Wilde


PICKS:

Last Week: 8-1
Overall: 12-6

I really don't get these two teams. Arizona and USC continue to amaze me with their inconsistent performances. Flipped a coin. Go Wildcats.

Arizona 76, USC 70


First great game of the year in conference and this one should be a thriller so want not make it more exciting for myself by calling the upset.

ASU 68, UCLA 65


The Bay Area rivalry, I'm not sure that is has a name but we'll call it the Hippy-Nerd Championship. Not that creative I realize but these are two schools I actually like so I'll lay off them a bit.

California 68, Stanford 58


Really, I don't think that even Washington could screw this one up.

Washington 84, Oregon State 60


The young and inexperience Oregon team should be easy pickings for a stout defensive team like WSU. Let just hope Porter gets streaky against Washington rather than this night.

Washington State 59, Oregon 50


A game on a Wednesday? Who do Arizona and Arizona State think they are, everyone else in college basketball besides the Pac-10?

ASU 76, Arizona 68


Oregon will be the second hippy school in a row Stanford plays. Something tells me they throw calculators at them from the student section.

Stanford 75, Oregon 63


Let see: the best versus the worst. Something about this screams bad news for the Beavers. And their coach will just be getting back from visiting his brother-in-law. Apparently he got a really good job or something.

California 80, Oregon State 60


USC and Washington. Two schools that can't figure out how to keep a lead in a given game. So how do you call this: the team that's ahead with five minutes to go in the second half will lose. Mark my words.

USC 76, Washington 72


Sorry guys, Darren Collison rips the Cougars a new one each year and without Kyle Weaver, this one is no different.

UCLA 64, Washington State 49


Dunderhead of the Week: Pete Carroll, USC head football coach. I know you're mad about Sanchez leaving, but you don't have to throw a little hissy fit to the national media. You'll get over it, another five star recruit will just step into his place.




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