September 26, 2006
The Big Cat Speaks - Is The Impossible Possible?
Honesty and duplicity are impossible companions and there is no better confirmation of that than this week's game between USC and Washington State. There can be no duplicity - only sheer honesty - about WSU's chances of beating the Trojans. The Cougars have not only never beaten USC while Bill Doba has been the head coach - they have not even come within shouting distance of the Trojans during that time [with "shouting distance" currently being measured at 27 points]. To be fair, the last two Cougar teams to lose to USC were 5-6 and 4-7 teams losing to a pair of 12-0 Trojan teams in 2004 and 2005. But the 2003 game - when the Cougars lost by 27 - Wazzu had a 9-3 team that beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl. Even when they have a good team, the Trojans have still handled WSU under Doba and this year appears to be more of the ominous same as USC comes into the game at 3-0 after repeated crushings of Arkansas, Nebraska and Arizona.
There are, however, two differences this year that could give the Cougars a tiny shred of hope. This is the earliest WSU has played USC since the October game of 2002 - which they won in overtime - and which also happened to be the same year they played a highly ranked opponent [sixth-rated and eventual national champion Ohio State] with similar athletes to USC earlier in the year. This year, the Cougars played Auburn closely for three quarters before falling Auburn pulled away in the fourth and while Doba says that playing the Tigers was helpful to the Cougars, it can only help to a certain extent.
"It won't hurt, I'll tell you that. Auburn's linebackers are pretty good size, but they're not 6-3 and 6-4 like these guys and they're defensive front is pretty good," says Doba. "With the defensive front they have, I'd like to have some guys from the Seahawks' [offensive line] there."
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