The Joe Cougfan Report, No. 15

AFTER SPENDING MY Saturday evening running up and down the CUB stairs between a cousin's wedding reception and the WSU-USC matchup on the lounge televisions, I have to say that I'm a little tired. And while I can admit that the better team won and not feel like a dirty liar, there are a few things I still want to talk about.

That was one of the worst Saturdays I can recall in all my days in Pullman. We got blown out, the Huskies won, and The Coug was closed. It's a good thing I don't own a dog, because if I did, a car probably would have hit it.

I was hoping that the Wigen family wedding mojo against Southern Cal might hold out (my sister was married during the '97 game), but it was not to be. Apparently, it doesn't work with cousins. So, the next time we play in the Coliseum, either my brother or I will need to have a wedding scheduled. Right now, it's looking a lot better for my brother than it is for me. Have I mentioned that I'm single? Ladies, you can do your part to help out the Cougs. Get together, draw straws, whatever. Take one for the team.

I gained a lot of respect for Cougar quarterback Matt Kegel on Saturday. He was beaten like a disobedient circus monkey and kept getting up, even when the game was out of reach. Once again, he was saddled with an inconsistent running game, and still managed to do a good job of moving the team up and down the field in spite of the officials.

I don't do a lot of griping about referees, because they're generally trying their best at doing a tough job, but the so-called "officiating crew" that the Pac-10 sent to Los Angeles on Saturday wasn't fit to run a sno-cone stand at the county fair, let alone manage a football game between two top ten teams. The way they managed to bogart the Cougs' momentum on multiple occasions bordered on criminal. Even if putting on the striped jersey does automatically remove fifty IQ points, there is no excuse for that kind of incompetence.

Having said that, I would like to have a word with the Cougar linemen—on both sides of the ball. Jumping offsides is not an effective strategy (though surprisingly, it worked well for USC's defense), nor are the false starts. The regularity with which these occur is disturbing, especially when it gives the opposition a free first down or stops our drives cold. Please make it stop before I go crazy. It's not a long trip, and I don't need any help.

So this week it's the Bruins, just beginning their annual November swoon in time for their trip to Pullman, in what should be some pretty cold temperatures. This time, they're led into their tailspin by unpredictable coach Karl Dorrell, a guy who apparently thinks his top offensive performers (like QB Matt Moore and RB Maurice Drew) play better as backups. Sackmaster and all-around weirdo Dave Ball leads what seems to be a pretty solid defense. Cougar big play artist Sammy Moore may have a huge day on special teams, as the Bruins have had some trouble covering kicks this year, a problem that resurfaced Saturday during their meltdown against Stanford.

Anyway, let's put the Troyboys and their zebra pals in the rearview and not forget that this is still a big game, as are all three of the remaining contests. The conference title (or at least of share of it) is still very much in reach, something our players can be proud of, and that never looks bad with recruits. We win out and a return visit to the Rose Bowl is looking likely. So fight ‘til the end, honor and glory we must win!

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