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December 18, 2009

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - The Holidaze Call

Ah yes, the end of yet another semester at esteemed Washington State University. Finals are over as of today and with commencement already taken care of last weekend, Pullman will sit quiet for the next few weeks until everyone returns for the spring semester. I've bolted for the Tri-Cities for the Cougar basketball games and will soon return to Seattle before spending the holidays in San Francisco with family. A whirlwind tour of the western part of this country and, like all those migrating back to the Palouse, I'll return the Sunday prior to the semester as I always do. Only this time, it's different.


It will be for the last time. After coming to this school a wide eyed little freshman in 2006, it's time for me to graduate in May (or at least that's the hope, both for me and my dad's check book) and frankly, it's a little hard to believe it's all come down to one final go around with this city. You find yourself waxing poetic at a time like this; when many of your friends have received their diplomas. When that gentle blanket of snow covers Pullman so beautifully at this time of year.

I mean, think of it. When, can any of you, say that you've had a better time in your life than college? For most of us, the only responsibility was to our classes and making sure we didn't lose our wallet at the bar. We were free to go wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted and without the prying eyes of our parents. Of course, I say "we" like I still don't have a little time here. I'm lucky at least from that sense. But I still find myself, every day on campus, looking around and asking myself where all my time went.

I've changed a lot since my time in Scott-Coman dorm. I grew about an inch in height and 30 pounds in the waste line. I'm a more mature and composed individual than I once was and I have my experience at this university to thank for that. I've learned how to actually study for a test early enough to still go out for a drink or four with my friends. Luckily for me, I have understanding parents who knew part of coming to college was being a little more out of touch and who have encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone every step of the way.

So the spring semester will come and here's where this actually becomes about sports. I'm excited to be able to watch Klay Thompson, DeAngelo Casto, Xavier Thames and Reggie Moore develop into young men and led their incredibly young squad down the path to greatness. Trust me when I say this: they will be better than even your wildest imagination. This team, right now, has the best raw talent in the entire conference. They're going places and I hope you are there to go with them.

I get to watch a women's basketball team figure out their identity. I know some people are discouraged by double-digit losses to the likes of Portland. But this team was in the sewer prior to Daugherty's arrival, it will take some time to bring them back. For as young as they were last year, they're barely older this year, starting no upperclassmen and they're only one upperclassmen on the roster than even plays at all.
Give them time, good things will come. Mark my words: they'll beat Washington this year.

I'm at least encouraged to go to spring football practice. Hard to say that after another difficult year on the gridiron but there is at least more reason to hope this coming season. The team signed two beefy offensive linemen from junior colleges and with more incoming transfers and another stellar recruiting class, there is at least some reason to hope. The 2010 season is make or break for this team which unfortunately plays in the incredibly difficult Pac-10 Conference which will only get better. But the Cougars play their "easier" conference schedule next year: games against tough opponents at home and somewhat less difficult away games.

One last spring over at Bailey-Brayton to watch the baseball team try and repeat their postseason berth of last season. They lost sturdy starter Matt Way to graduation and the draft but the Cougars bring back much of the offensive punch that they had last season. They stand a good chance to make their way back to the dance for Omaha.

One more semester at Washington State University. Should be a good one.

I'll be back a while from now. Spending time in the Bay Area with family and all. In the mean time, have a great holiday with your friends and family. By the way, I like Wranglers. I'm just saying, if you feel inclined. Seriously, I could use some. I tore my last pair trying to recover a sled near a rather rude pine tree.


BOWL PICKS:


Overall: Nada

The second best bowl the conference is involved in is first!

Dag and Norberts 34, Joseph Smith's Provo Pulverizers 27


Without Jahvid Best, the Mountain West can even things up with the Pac-10 in this one. Especially after Cal got shamed by Washington. Really Cal? REALLY?

Joseph Smith's SLC Scallywags 28, Tedford's Seat Is Warm 10



Pete Carroll is confused. This isn't the Rose Bowl. Hell, this is a baseball stadium. Oh well.

TROJAN MEN! 35, BC (Not British Columbia) 17


This is the worst day before my birthday bowl game ever. I'm going to go out into the living room, turn this game on and fall asleep in defiance.

Slick Rick's Kids 24, Owl's Aren't Too Tough 16


Well, this Holiday Bowl turned out to be a hell of a snoozer. Worst birthday treat ever. Yeah, I know, a lot of mention of my birthday. But seriously, those Wranglers.

The Fiery Ginger 27, People Who Unclothe Corn 24


This one also turned out to be between a couple teams that I don't care about. Note to the Bowl Selection Committee: stop it.

Our Mascot Is A Color 41, Should've Gone to Notre Dame 10


If I don't pick Oregon, I'm out of my grandpa's will. So this decision was made for me.

Quack Quack 37, Poisonous Nuts 17


Obscure Pick of the Week: Division III Championship. I know you've all been waiting for this in huddled anticipation.

Mount Union 36, Wisconsin-Whitewater 18


Dunderhead of the Week: Idaho drivers. I don't know if this is a whole state problem or just a Moscow problem but the speed limit means that how fast you go not lets go about 10 under with our blinker on and when people try to pass us cut them off. Lets up the difficulty on that driver's test.





+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++

Attention COUGAR fans and well-wishers! Autumn is here! How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for nine consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot chocolate.


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