CF.C Super Computer turns stats into forecast

IN HONOR OF THE brainiac from Stanford who founded the Internet (true fact, it wasn't <b>Al Gore</b>!) and, therefore, unwittingly gave rise to, our editorial staff this week unleashed the CF.C Super Computer. It's aim? To crunch more numbers than anyone this side of <b>Arthur Andersen</b> --- all in the name of nailing the outcome of Saturday's tiff between the Cougs and Card.<br><br>

Hidden somewhere deep in a gopher hole between the esteemed Edward R. Murrow School of Communications building and the even more esteemed Ferdinand's Ice Cream Shoppe, the Super Computer offers definitive proof why win No. 6 is in the "Card" for the Cougars this weekend, even though the cats are banged up and Stanford's offense is due for some big-time clicking.

Under the cover of darkness, I fed our technological marvel the 66-year, 52-game history of the Washington State/Stanford football rivalry and came out with scientific, mathematical, numerological, astrological and fanatical proof of why our shade of red will prevail over theirs.

So without further ado, let the CF.C Super Computer count the ways crimson should reign over cardinal:

6.5 -- The advantage oddsmakers give the Cougars on Saturday.

8 -- The Cougars are 8-5 all-time in their seventh games of the season under Saint Mike. In fact, the Crimson Soldiers have outscored their opponents 357-303 in game sevens under in that 13-year span.

8 -- As in Stanford being eighth place in the Pac-10 in the following statistical categories: total defense, rushing defense, total offense and scoring offense.

9 -- The number of teams in the Pac-10 with winning records this season. Want to guess the one team that doesn't have a winning record? Come on take a stab. Don't be shy. Take a wild guess. I'll give you a hint: they are the underdogs against Washington State this Saturday.

10 -- As in Stanford being tenth place in the Pac-10 in the following statistical categories: passing efficiency; first downs made; turnover margin (-6), points allowed, red zone defense and sacks.

12 -- Washington State's ranking in the latest AP poll.

30 -- Oh Cardinal fans, brace yourselves, because the 30-year rule is in effect. Rain or shine, the Cougars are locks to win this game based on the Rule of 30. In 1942, 1972, and 2002 the Cougars were in the Top 20 and defeated Stanford along the way. Last year we all know about. In ‘72, Jim Sweeney's Ty Paine-led club went 7-4 and downed favored Stanford 27-13. In ‘42, legendary Babe Hollingbery's final year on the Palouse, the boys went 6-2-2, beat Stanford 6-0 and finished No. 17 in the AP rankings.

35 -- The average points per game scored by the Cougars this season --- just four less than what Stanford is surrendering each week.

50 -- As in 50 percent, which reflects Washington State's all-time record against the Cardinal in years that end with a 2. That's nearly nine percentage points higher than the Cougars' all-time head-to-head percentage.

72 -- The number of points that the 1-3 Cardinal have been outscored this season in their three losses to Boston College, Arizona State, and Smiley Willingham's Fightin' Irish.

So there you have it. A thoroughly unbiased assessment of Saturday's game courtesy of one of the minds produced by that little school we fondly refer to as The Stanford of the Palouse.

NOTABLE NOTES: It's true. Were it not for Stanford alum Vinton Cerf, wouldn't be here today. As a Defense Department computer whiz in the 1970s, Cerf led the team that truly invented the Internet. In fact, he's widely dubbed the "father of the Internet."

And then there's this factoid: Besides John Elway, Jim Plunkett, Mike Mussina and Tiger Woods, Stanford has produced the likes of ABC's Ted Koppel, four current Supreme Court justices, one U.S. president (Herbert "The Father of the Great Depression" Hoover), two living Nobel Prize winners, author John Steinbeck, and actors Ted Danson, Sigourney Weaver and Jack Palance.

While the CF.C Super Computer produced a mountain of data that's less-than-flattering of the Cardinal, it also shows that the Cougars are a bit lacking in a number of areas as well. Consider the following: The Cougars rank ninth in the Pac-10 in third-conversion efficiency, red zone offense, first downs allowed and pass defense. The Cougs also are seventh in turnover margin (0).

On a more positive note, WSU is eighth in the nation in passing offense and 13th nationally in total offense. Jason Gesser ranks 19th in the country in passing efficiency, Kyle Basler 21st in punting and Jason David 22nd in interceptions (4). Gesser, by the way, is now second on WSU's career total offense list and fourth on the career passing list. He needs 421 yards in total offense and 800 yards in passing to move by legendary Jack Thompson to the top of both lists.

Other Gesser milestones: He already has won more games as a starter than any other Cougar quarterback, 19, and holds WSU records for touchdown passes in consecutive games (18) and multiple TD-pass games (17).

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