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Don't know if anyone has pointed this out yet, but Stanford should be exceptionally well positioned to give the Cougs trouble next week. It's going to be difficult for them to play a road game after the emotional high of the Oregon game at home, College GameDay, etc.

If Stanford is fired up for the game, they'll have a real good shot at winning it just by nature of the fact the Cougs will be emotionally spent.
Homecoming . . . not excuse for us not to be fired up!
Aren't they usually at the Rosewood Hotel?
I dont buy that. Especially if they beat Oregon. They are not going to be “flat” for Stanford it will be a key game.

One advantage Stanford does have is an extra two days of rest. On the heels of a longer rest the week before. Going back to my feeling that the scheduling is unfair.



(10-20-2018, 11:27 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote: [ -> ]Don't know if anyone has pointed this out yet, but Stanford should be exceptionally well positioned to give the Cougs trouble next week. It's going to be difficult for them to play a road game after the emotional high of the Oregon game at home, College GameDay, etc.

If Stanford is fired up for the game, they'll have a real good shot at winning it just by nature of the fact the Cougs will be emotionally spent.
Stanford surely has something to prove in this game. But it will be a big challenge. They have been whipped in the trenches on both sides of the ball by WSU the last three years and WSU looks to be just as tough this year.

2015 total yards - Stanford 312, WSU 442
2016 total yards - Stanford 296, WSU 458
2017 total yards - Stanford 198, WSU 430
You don't know college football if you don't see this game as being a real challenge for the Cougs.  Road game after big emotional win at home is always a very tough spot for any college football team. It is incumbent on Stanford to start FAST in this game.  They need to plant a seed of doubt in the Cougs ASAP.  

Shaw and staff needs to coach the game of their lives, and it can't look anything at all like the Arizona State milquetoast of a game.
(10-20-2018, 03:15 PM)French Rage Wrote: [ -> ]Aren't they usually at the Rosewood Hotel?

generally there in large numbers on Thursday nights......
Wazzu will be a tough game. I don't think we'll be capable of stopping their offense too often. Will we be able to outscore them? I think we'll have to unleash the passing game to keep up. 

Wish we had gotten the Borghi kid. He seems to have a lot of McCaffrey in him.

We need this game to keep the Rose Bowl chances alive.
(10-21-2018, 06:25 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote: [ -> ]You don't know college football if you don't see this game as being a real challenge for the Cougs.  Road game after big emotional win at home is always a very tough spot for any college football team. It is incumbent on Stanford to start FAST in this game.  They need to plant a seed of doubt in the Cougs ASAP.  

Shaw and staff needs to coach the game of their lives, and it can't look anything at all like the Arizona State milquetoast of a game.

I hope I'm wrong, but I just think Wazzu is a horrible match-up for Stanford and Shaw.  Their air-raid offense does not play to our defensive strengths, especially with all the short passes and check-downs.  We have had difficulties getting penetration vs. pocket-passers, and Minshew gets rid of the ball so fast that blitzing will be pretty useless.  I don't think the Ducks got a single sack yesterday.  And even though the Cougs lost Alex Grinch after last season, they have still maintained their undersized speed-D, which has always given our running game fits; and Shaw will run.  We know that.  

All that said, there are a few ways we could win this game:
1) Get the 2013 team to time-travel to Palo Alto and reproduce that year's Oregon game plan against Leach and his air-raid with the clear goal of keeping Minshew off the field.
2) A bit more realistically, we can hope the O-line finally comes together and makes it possible to play a TOP masterpiece that gets close to the objective in point 1.
3) A lot more realistically, we can come out passing from the start and use the height advantage of our receivers to go straight at the speed-D, which will be expecting the run.  Then, when we burn them in the passing game, we start running, then passing, then running to keep them off-balance.  The goal needs to be to find a way to keep Minshew off the field and keep our defense fresh.  We will not win a shoot-out.  Shaw and his system are not built for shoot-outs.  Maybe there are also a few things Shaw and his staff can learn from the USC game, which is the Cougs' only loss so far this season.  

Leach has pretty much owned Shaw in recent years and would have a three-game winning streak if their kicker hadn't shanked the last-second field goal in 2015.  And that contest in 2015 would have been lost if not for Hogan and his running abilities: Hogan outrushed McCaffrey in that game and got over 100 yards on the ground.  I don't think we can expect Costello to do that.  Yes, this is 2018, and the teams are quite different, but Leach and Shaw are the same.  They are absolute polar opposites; and I think Leach enjoys trolling Shaw and his style.  I wish Shaw would hit back with some surprises and show Leach that he can be unpredictable, too.  But will that happen?  Not so sure.
I agree with AustroTurf 

WAST GunShow blows into PA on Saturday. 
Cougs are flying high after ESPN Gameday in Pullman (a Regional State of Emergency was declared), and they sliced up the #12 Ducks, 34-20, on National TV.  
Mike Leach knows how to finish a foe, THROWING THE BALL.  
#15 Cougs (6-1) likely come in favored by about 5 over #23 Cardinal (5-2).  Lone loss for WAST was @USC by a late FG. 
They edged UTAH (28-24) in Pullman by throwing for 445yds; Utes D held us to just 42 yds rushing, but we committed 4 turnovers, losing 21-40 in PA, sad. 
No surprise, WAST throws for more than 400yds a game:  2805 total yards passing in 7 games with 24 TDs by air mail, just 508 total yards rushing with 7 TDs (3.4 yds per rush).  
We call ourselves a "RUN FIRST" team, but LOOK AT OUR STATS:  1842 total yards passing (13 TDs) and just 641yds rushing on 209 attempts (7 TDs; 3.1 yds per rush) -- less than 100 yds rushing per game. STANFORD IS DEAD LAST IN RUSHING IN THE PAC12! (per rush)
Behold: we do not run well, and we have twice as many TDs throwing as running.  WAST gains more per rush than we do!  

http://www.espn.com/college-football/team/stats/_/id/24  
I am not very optimistic about our chances, but of course I hope to be wrong.

Paulson Adebo has become, in my view, our best defensive player.  But he is excellent in coverage and only average at tackling.  The kind of WR screens and crossing patterns that WSU throws underneath will involve lots of catches and runs-after-catch, which neutralizes one of his best assets. 

The way to win is to play ball control, but we have been terrible at that--with bad first down runs and low 3rd down conversions.  Once again, our Offensive Line needs to hurry up and "gel" and start pushing people around, or this could be as bad as the last time WSU visited, when unranked WSU came to Palo Alto and beat 12 ranked Stanford 42-16. 

I hope it isn't so.
Any chances of meeting and greeting prior to or after the game?  I'll be there and meeting some old friends.

All the best

Stymie
I love it when people say things like that. In other words, either I agree or I don’t know what I’m talking about.

WSU may have some trouble because they’re playing on the road – they’ve only had one tough road game so far this year (losing to SC); and they are playing on shorter rest than Stanford. But they have a good shot to win the North. Win this game and it probably means it comes down to the Apple Cup. Lose and they most likely are out of it.

So I truly don’t think they’re going to come into the game emotionally spent.

If Stanford can’t control the line of scrimmage and move the football it’s going to be a very long day. If they do, it should be a good game.




(10-21-2018, 06:25 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote: [ -> ]You don't know college football if you don't see this game as being a real challenge for the Cougs.  Road game after big emotional win at home is always a very tough spot for any college football team. It is incumbent on Stanford to start FAST in this game.  They need to plant a seed of doubt in the Cougs ASAP.  

Shaw and staff needs to coach the game of their lives, and it can't look anything at all like the Arizona State milquetoast of a game.
(10-21-2018, 06:09 PM)lex24 Wrote: [ -> ]I love it when people say things like that. In other words, either I agree or I don’t know what I’m talking about.

WSU may have some trouble because they’re playing on the road – they’ve only had one tough road game so far this year (losing to SC); and they are playing on shorter rest than Stanford. But they have a good shot to win the North. Win this game and it probably means it comes down to the Apple Cup. Lose and they most likely are out of it.

So I truly don’t think they’re going to come into the game emotionally spent.

If Stanford can’t control the line of scrimmage and move the football it’s going to be a very long day. If they do, it should be a good game.




(10-21-2018, 06:25 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote: [ -> ]You don't know college football if you don't see this game as being a real challenge for the Cougs.  Road game after big emotional win at home is always a very tough spot for any college football team. It is incumbent on Stanford to start FAST in this game.  They need to plant a seed of doubt in the Cougs ASAP.  

Shaw and staff needs to coach the game of their lives, and it can't look anything at all like the Arizona State milquetoast of a game.

It's not determinative, but it is a real factor that must be considered. There are simply too many examples over time, to dismiss the notion games like this are difficult for teams in the WSU spot to play. One other thing to factor in is that it IS Washington State, a team for whom "Couging" was invented, because the DNA of the program is to choke in big moments. Cougars players are going to hear about the Apple Cup being for the North all week long, they are going to hear how great they are, and then will show up to a maybe 2/3 full Stanford stadium to face a Stanford team with a chip on its shoulder after three straight losses to WSU.

There is a reason Stanford is favored in this game. When you look at the stats, they have no business being favored. So what else is there?
(10-22-2018, 05:04 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-21-2018, 06:09 PM)lex24 Wrote: [ -> ]I love it when people say things like that. In other words, either I agree or I don’t know what I’m talking about.

WSU may have some trouble because they’re playing on the road – they’ve only had one tough road game so far this year (losing to SC); and they are playing on shorter rest than Stanford. But they have a good shot to win the North. Win this game and it probably means it comes down to the Apple Cup. Lose and they most likely are out of it.

So I truly don’t think they’re going to come into the game emotionally spent.

If Stanford can’t control the line of scrimmage and move the football it’s going to be a very long day. If they do, it should be a good game.




(10-21-2018, 06:25 AM)OutsiderFan Wrote: [ -> ]You don't know college football if you don't see this game as being a real challenge for the Cougs.  Road game after big emotional win at home is always a very tough spot for any college football team. It is incumbent on Stanford to start FAST in this game.  They need to plant a seed of doubt in the Cougs ASAP.  

Shaw and staff needs to coach the game of their lives, and it can't look anything at all like the Arizona State milquetoast of a game.

It's not determinative, but it is a real factor that must be considered. There are simply too many examples over time, to dismiss the notion games like this are difficult for teams in the WSU spot to play. One other thing to factor in is that it IS Washington State, a team for whom "Couging" was invented, because the DNA of the program is to choke in big moments. Cougars players are going to hear about the Apple Cup being for the North all week long, they are going to hear how great they are, and then will show up to a maybe 2/3 full Stanford stadium to face a Stanford team with a chip on its shoulder after three straight losses to WSU.

There is a reason Stanford is favored in this game. When you look at the stats, they have no business being favored. So what else is there?

Just for the record, we have only lost two straight to the Cougars (2016 and 2017).  2015 felt like a loss, but we did emerge from Martin stadium with a W (barely).  Also, the Cougs have been cougin' a lot less since Leach has been head coach.  Can't count on that tradition this coming Saturday.
(10-21-2018, 06:09 PM)lex24 Wrote: [ -> ]... But they have a good shot to win the North. Win this game and it probably means it comes down to the Apple Cup. Lose and they most likely are out of it.

So I truly don’t think they’re going to come into the game emotionally spent.

I am not sure that WSU is most likely out if they lose to us.
They'd still take out UW with a win in the Apple Cup. They'd need UW to take us out, at which point we'd probably be looking at some set of teams tied with two losses.

But I certainly don't think a careful perusal of the tiebreaker scenarios will have anything to do with WSU's energy level for this game.

There certainly is an issue with it being difficult to be physically and emotionally on each and every game of the season, and absolutely teams play at far different levels in different games. The problem is that it is often difficult to figure out just when the up and down games are going to occur - particularly from outside the program. A much easier call to make in hindsight.

So, I thought it likely that Stanford was looking both physically beat up and mentally tired heading to South Bend, and sure enough the team generally got pushed around. However, Oregon came out of that crazy overtime game with no obvious immediate negative repercussions.
Later it was different. After winning the overtime game against UW, Oregon came out vs WSU clearly not ready to go.

Mike Leach might know (or know soon) whether WSU is on a productive physical and emotional plane for this game, but we won't know until after the game gets going. Personally, I am much more worried about the fact that Stanford has had so much trouble playing WSU lately for reasons that never quite made sense to me.
Here are a few stats on the last five years vs. WSU.  I collected these to illustrate a point that concerns me in our upcoming contest with the Cougs; and it started back in 2015:

W          2013      55-17    Away    R:238    P:322    R:207.4 P:197.9
W          2014      34-17    Home   R:193    P:284    R:158.8 P:229.8
W          2015      30-28    Away    R:226    P:86      R:223.6 P:211.8
L           2016      16-42    Home    R:61     P:235    R:208.9 P:158.2
L            2017       21-24    Away     R:93      P:105     R:202.6 P:186.3

The first number is rushing yards vs. WSU, the second is passing yards.  The third number is average rushing yards for the season; the fourth number is average passing yards for the season.  One other note: the 2013 game was played in Seattle during a rainstorm and is famous for the popcorn-guy scene that has since become a legendary image.

When Stanford ventured north to take on the Cougs in 2015, I heard lots of noise from the Cougar faithful that this was their big chance to end Stanford's 7-year winning streak.  I was amused.  We were #8 in the nation, had reeled off six straight wins since the opening season belly-flop vs. Northwestern and had beaten two ranked teams (USC and UCLA).  Moreover, Wazzu was known for porous run defense; and we would know how to exploit that with our awesome O-line and Christian McCaffrey in the backfield.  But Leach had signed a new defensive coordinator, Alex Grinch, who brought his concept called Speed-D to the team.  What happened? McCaffrey was shut down in the first half and we had 3 total points at the break.  The offense adjusted and started using McCaffrey as a decoy, while Hogan used his running abilities to get us back in the game.  Hogan amassed 112 yards rushing, almost all of it in the second half, and helped salvage a game that was otherwise lost.  He even managed to outrush the Highz-man runner-up from that year.  

For those unfamiliar with the Speed-D, it is a scheme to compensate for smaller (but faster) players on the D-line that allows them to adjust quickly and shoot the gaps in the offensive line of the opposing team, thus closing the rushing lanes.  It effectively neutered McCaffrey in the first half of the 2015 game.  

It was no different in 2016: the Cougs brought their Speed-D to Palo Alto and shut McCaffrey down again.  Burns threw for 222 yards, but we only got 61 on the ground.  Falk exploited the absence of our two starting corners (Meeks and Holder) and just bliltzed us for 357 yards.  The Cougs also outgained us in rushing and easily broke their 8-game losing streak 42-16.  McCaffrey was injured during the game and had to sit out the next contest against Notre Dame.  

Fast-forward to 2017, back up in Martin stadium.  Grinch is still around.  The Speed-D, too.  What do we do?  We try to run an already-injured Bryce Love into this same buzz-saw.  Our Highz-man runner-up from that year got 69 yards on the ground, but we only passed for 105.  A rushing TD by Costello and a pick-six by Okereke kept us in that game, which we almost salvaged.  But Falk got us in the 4th quarter; and our obdurate play-calling on the next drive (three-and-out after three straight runs for a total of three yards) and an interception by Costello in desperation mode in the final minute sealed the deal.  

So this is our recent history against Wazzu.  Grinch is gone (Ohio State), but his defensive scheme lives on.  Our O-line is not even as good as last-year's version, which could barely open rushing lanes against the Cougar D last year.  I get paid 0 dollars to make decisions about football games; but if I were Shaw, I would hopefully have learned by now that plain vanilla running versus this defense is simply not the way to move the football.  And we don't really have a running QB the likes of Kevin Hogan to mix things up in the running game.  I have already given my view on what needs to be done in a post above.  But if Shaw really comes out and tries to establish the running game against this defense, I will be utterly bemused and bewildered.  We have three straight years of proof that, even with all-world running backs, it doesn't work.  Our rushing average per game is already below 100 this year (91.6).  Do we rush for negative yards against Wazzu this year?  

Sorry for the long post; but I am really tired of seeing this pattern repeat itself every year vs. the Cougs.  Last year, Shaw admitted that he had kept Costello on too tight a leash.  Does he unleash him this year?  If not, it will be a long game.  Or we will need lots of help in the turnover category to give us short fields and defensive scores.