Seen & Heard 10/14

IN LESS THAN one season as head coach, <b>Bill Doba</b> already has guided Washington State to the second-highest national ranking in school history. And come Saturday in Palo Alto he'll have a chance to do something only two Cougar coaches have achieved since World War II: Defeat Stanford in his rookie year as head man.

It's true. Al Kircher lost to Stanford in his inaugural season of 1952. So did Jim Sutherland in '56. Jim Sweeney came close in '68 but settled for a tie. And then Jackie Sherill, Warren Powers, Jim Walden and Dennis Erickson fell to the Card in their inaugural campaigns.

The only first-season Ws were posted by Mike Price in 1989 and Bert Clark in 1964.

Doba has a ton of momentum going into his first foray on The Farm. The Cougars, ranked No. 6 in the nation, are riding a four-game win-streak while the Card are 2-2 after getting pounded 44-21 last week by USC. Oddsmakers have installed WSU as an 8 1/2-point favorite.

Kickoff is set for 2 pm, with no live television coverage.

The Cougars have won the last two meetings between the teams. Last season in Palo Alto the pumas carried a seven-game winning streak into the game and prevailed 36-11, with Jason Gesser firing three TD passes and Jason David picking off two INTs and returning them for a collective 71 yards.

Linebacker Will Derting, he of the truck parking woes a week ago, will not start against Stanford and PT will be a game-time decision, according to Doba.

There will be a familiar face on the Stanford line. The Card offensive line coach is Steve Morton, a lineman for Sweeney in the early 70s and a Cougar assistant coach for ten seasons under Powers and Walden.

HERE'S A LITTLE-KNOWN fact that deserves some crowing about. Senior Jeremey Williams, the anchor of WSU's stout defensive line, is on the verge of becoming a four-time selection to the Pac-10 All-Academic football team. Jeremey graduated cum laude this past May with a 3.53 GPA and is now working on master's degree. He comes by his talent -- on the field and in the classroom -- naturally: His dad is Wallace Williams, a standout Cougar OL from 1970-71, and a standout educator and administrator in Spokane high schools for many years.

THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF PULLMAN: Derek Johnson, a columnist for a Husky fan site, opines this week that the "real" reason behind the disappointing showings of the Dawgs and Ducks this season has been their battle in recent years to outspend each other on facilities. Johnson compares that arms race between the two teams to the Cold War, modestly equating the Dawgs to the U.S. and the Ducks to the Soviet Union. He then attempts to explain how this off-the-field distraction is directly responsible for each team's disarray on the gridiron, leaving the teams he calls the equivalents of Norway (Oregon State) and Botswana (Washington State) to dominate Northwest football. Botswana?

Bold talk from a man who's team was defeated by the equivalent of Lichtenstein last weekend. In the future, we'd like to at least be compared with emerging 21st century superpower China. Oh, and by the way, Mr. America, it's spelled D-E-R-R-I-C-K in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And one more thing, Komrade, I'll be glad to give you a tour of WSU's locker rooms, state-of-the-art weight room and indoor practice facility any time. They stack up quite nicely, thank you.

SPEAKING OF THE Cougars and Beavers, kickoff for their October 25 battle in Pullman has been moved to 3:30 p.m. to accommodate live TVcoverage by Fox Sports Northwest.

While on the topic of Fox Sports, I really needed my Cougar fix this past weekend. Couldn't they have figured out that a Sunday morning replay of the Cougs' victory two weeks ago over the Ducks would have drawn better than a volleyball match between the Ducks and Dogs?

Having any Cougar game broadcast live is always a treat, but for something truly sweet you have to try Dreyer's new Cougar Crunch ice cream. It might not be as tasty as Ferdinand's delectable offerings but it comes darn close. Vanilla with chocolate swirls and little footballs filled with carmel are mighty tasty. I hear the UW flavor is being changed to sour-grapes in honor of star receiver Reggie Williams' unforgiveable public temper-tantrum at the expense of Cody Pickett after the UCLA game.

HOOPIN' IT UP: I just received a basketball survey in the mail the other day from the WSU athletic department. Kudos for wanting to know what we want in terms of game times and events. How about Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday games so we can make a weekend of it. I'd love nothing more than to see Beasly get loud and packed to the rafters like it used to be in the days of George Raveling. I'm confident Dick Bennett can provide the team. We fans need to step up and buy the tickets.

Cougfan Top Stories