Mad Son's Ramblings

Franchise infidels, with a bye week letting our emotions fade to sub-doog levels we are now able to look forward to the Illinois game without clouded vision.  Sure BSU beat some scrub handily lending credibility to our first win, but we also got some perspective on Illinois not being a complete patsy under Head Coach Tim Beckman.  Many Illini lamented Beckman after their first week and reminisced on the tenure of previous coach Ron Zook (RIP) who famously said, "In any league, at any level, you have to be able to run the football."

A visionary, a man before his time, the illustrious Ron Zook once famously noted that YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RUN THE FOOTBALL!!!!  That is why UW will win this game.  We may have a better team on paper but that won't matter if we play like idiots.  This will be the first time UW has faced Illinois in 41 years.  The Huskies and Illini have faced off 9 times in the past with the Huskies leading the series 5-4 (although this will be 6-4 unless Sark fucks things up).  Anyone who watched the Illinois-Cincinnati game probably noticed that was a pass-happy game where running was unnecessary to win.  That is because Cincinnati is crap.  Sure, the final stats are misleading because Illinois did eventually try to end the game but here is what the first quarter has to say:
1st Quarter Play by Play

Nathan Scheelhaase pass incomplete
Nathan Scheelhaase rush up the middle   
Nathan Scheelhaase pass complete 
Josh Ferguson rush over left tackle   
Nathan Scheelhaase pass complete 
Nathan Scheelhaase crossing pass complete 
Justin DuVernois punt   
Nathan Scheelhaase screen pass complete
Nathan Scheelhaase rush up the middle 
Nathan Scheelhaase crossing pass complete 
Nathan Scheelhaase pass complete 
Nathan Scheelhaase pass complete 
Nathan Scheelhaase sideline pass complete
Nathan Scheelhaase pass complete 
Nathan Scheelhaase crossing pass complete 
Nathan Scheelhaase pass incomplete 
Justin DuVernois punt 
Nathan Scheelhaase sideline pass incomplete
Donovonn Young rush up the middle 

19 Illinois  plays in the first half.  2 punts, 4 rush, 13 pass.  Of those 4 rush, 2 were by the quarterback.  Those look like Steve Sarkisian stats right there.  Ultimately Cincinnati without Brian Kelly is not a good team and while Illinois put up a lot of points and have some decent WRs with a decent QB this is not some world beating Illinois team.  Sure, we can easily lose this game and Steve "Jim Walden" Sarkisian will need to stop losing games he shouldn't before he loses that moniker.  Right now we have one good win and we see the potential this team has.  We are not for real yet - we just know we should be.  Our defense looks legitimate, they can tackle for one, play the receivers close and if our DL was more robust we might actually really be good.  The offense though all rests on the whims of Sark.  If we don't run the ball and utilize our All-Pac-12 Running Back Priest "Snakey" Holmes we can very well lose.  What makes the offense potent is that the defense has to play the run.  We can pick up big yards through the air once there are opportunities.  Tiring the other team out through high tempo does not happen when the ball is on the ground, which does inevitably happen, even with accurate quarterbacks, which KP17 may be again. A few balls on the ground and the game is slow, the defense does not get tired, and all of a sudden this is just another pass-first mediocre-at-best offense.  Some people felt Illinois had a hard time responding when Cincinnati switched to up-tempo (just what I am hearing, not really sure I felt the same way) which would further highlight the importance of pounding the ball.  Pounding the ball was the old school equivalent of up-tempo.  Later on some bright guys realized you could do both.  It is effective.  It is the most effective gimmick I have ever seen perhaps.  We win if we run.  Toss a coin if we don't.  The Illinois are not complete slouches.

In other news, Texas is semi-serious about football.  Two games into the season Mack Brown (RIP) fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz for fielding a team of goons who couldn't tackle Tom Rinaldi to save their lives.  Mack Brown may or may not be competent to coach at Texas anymore - he may be half way to Phil Fulmer status, but he at least seems to still be trying.  I watched the UT-BYU game with about a dozen Longhorns and they seem to think that Mack Brown will retire from Texas.  They never directly answered whether or not they wanted to fire him.  I think they have gotten soft and sentimental.  They fucking hated Manny Diaz though so I am sure they all had a secret party on Sunday which I was not invited to.

We're going to find out real soon how serious about football USC is.  We knew from the beginning that Lane Kiffin was the fall guy all along to take the sanctions and set the stage for the next coach but we'll  see when USC pulls the trigger.  I expect feelers have already been put out to Jack Del Rio but if he says he isn't interested then USC has to do the right thing.  A smart USC would fire Kiffin the moment USC does not become bowl eligible so they can get the best coach on the market.  USC can get the best coach on the market, or in the case of Sark they can get someone who has a CONTRACT.  I think USC may actually make a move because their legion of bandwagon fans still has interest, even going so far as to deface public property with Race-Bannon-clever graffiti "FIRE LANE kiffin".  Soon though USC fans will all drift off and look towards the Lakers if Kiffin isn't dealt with.  Haden has not proven himself a master strategist, competent AD, etc so making the right move isn't a guarantee.  We'll see in 6 games when USC is 1-7... tock.. tock... tock...

Evens & Ends
Michigan's taunting of Notre Dame with the Chicken Dance Song was brilliant.  WSU is swinging their swords (which btw helps the "overrated" SEC strength of schedule).  Alabama versus ATM is a game or something.  Stanford and Cal seemed to struggle.  Stanford will probably do better next week.  Cal may actually have been better off with Tedford.  UCLA will have a chance to implode in Lincoln, NE.  Make sure to catch the Idaho State game this week to scout next week's opponent.