I wish I was as creative as those tricky guys at ESPN -- you know, the ones who think up those catchy names like "Separation Saturday" to try and get you to watch more of the games on their family of networks. Then I could come up with a snazzy name for my crazy weekend of football that included my wife and I attending three football games in three days: Emerald Ridge vs. Rogers in Puyallup on Friday, Washington State vs. Baylor in Seattle on Saturday, and the Seahawks vs. Cardinals in Seattle on Sunday.
Given the fact that my wife is three months pregnant and experiencing all the fun things that come along with that, maybe I should have called it "Stupid Guy Marching His Sick Wife All Over Western Washington," but that just doesn't have much of a ring to it.
Whatever you want to call it -- Footballfest? Footballapalooza? -- it was, without a doubt, one of the most fun sports experiences of my life.
Some observations I picked up along the way:
- When your wife is pregnant and throwing up and she still goes with you to all those games because she loves you ... well, let's just say she's a keeper! (Then again, this is the same woman who attended the 2003 Holiday Bowl between the Cougs and Texas with me on our honeymoon, so I already know what an amazing wife I've got. However, I now owe her big time -- I sense some trips to the 5th Ave. Theater and many nights getting up to feed the baby in my future ... and it was totally worth it!)
- This would seem to be obvious, but it's worth stating anyway: There's no such thing as too much football. I mean it. It was awesome. And not just awesome in the "that was pretty cool" sense; I mean it in the "I got to watch my three favorite teams -- in person -- in three days" awesome.
- After watching WSU fans lustily boo Alex Brink on Saturday, I think I finally figured out why they have so much dislike for him. No matter how good his stats are, no matter how many times he makes a good play or the right pass, he always seems to not make a play that he should make that costs his team. It's that play -- like failing to recognize a wide-open Jason Hill on a play-action bootleg until it's too late, then woefully underthrowing him -- that always sticks in fans' heads.
When I told another fan I ran into on Sunday that Brink actually ended up completing 65 percent of his passes, he didn't believe me. Additionally, had the Cougars hung onto four good passes that they dropped (one of them a sure touchdown to Hill), he would have been well over 300 yards and that completion percentage would have been over 75 percent. I know it's tough to give the guy credit, but I'd encourage Coug fans to recognize that he didn't get a lot of help early in the game, and that he was 3-of-4 for 57 yards on the game-winning drive, including a pair of third down conversions.
- The Cougars defense is pretty darn good. They're fast, and, outside of the second drive of the game -- which Baylor had to take only 59 yards for the score -- completely shut out the Bears. (Remember that eight of their 15 points were scored on a botched punt snap that turned into a safety and a defensive touchdown.) WSU used a 3-4 defense that hadn't been seen much in the Idaho game, but seemed to work well against Baylor.
The Cougs were able to generate a considerable amount of pressure with just three down linemen which freed up the linebackers to swarm to the ball on Baylor's array of short passes out of their spread offense. I'm skeptical that such a scheme will work once the Pac-10 schedule starts, but it's definitely worth a look -- it gives the Cougs an opportunity to throw something different at opposing offenses, and they seem to be able to move seemlessly from one front to the other.
- I'm not sure Pork Chop Womack will see the field again this year, unless someone gets hurt. I said last week that he clearly was the weakest link in an offensive line that didn't paly well overall against the Lions, and I don't think he showed me anything much different this Sunday before he got hurt. I think Mike Holmgren felt like he owed him a shot to start, but former first round pick Chris Spencer is just too talented to keep off the field. And now that he's on the field, I don't see him letting go. It's unfortunate for Womack, who's been a bit of a hard-luck lineman the past few years, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the Hawks scored their third TD shortly after Spencer replaced Womack. Holmgren even said after the game that Womack probably could have come back in an emergency, yet, perhaps not-so-strangely didn't feel the need to rush him back in. (Update: Womack is out for 4-6 weeks.)
- The Seahawks defense is as good as advertised, and although it might not be on the level of Chicago, San Diego or Baltimore so far this season, it's heading that direction. I think Arizona is a pretty good football team, and that win over San Francisco last week looks a lot better now that the 49ers went on the road to beat a St. Louis team that beat Denver a week earlier.
- I also wouldn't be all that concerned about the offense. It will get there. Trust me.
As if this wild weekend wasn't enough -- and as if my wife wasn't awesome enough -- I'm heading down to Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday to watch the Cougs take on Stanford on Saturday while vising my brother and his wife, who live just outside San Francisco. Then I'm flying back Sunday morning where my wife and father will pick me up and take me up to Qwest Field for the Seahawks game vs. the Giants.
How cool is my life?