COUGARS • UPDATED: 3:50 P.M.; 4:30 P.M.
We're in the Alamodome and you know, it doesn't feel that big. But my guess is it will seem a lot bigger, and a lot louder, when the 55,000 that are expected file in. We've got some pregame notes and thoughts. Read on.
• The place to be last night was the Riverwalk. I'm not speaking from first-hand knowledge, of course, because I was either on the freeway or in my room doing research for today's game – OK, sleeping, but it's the same thing. Anyhow, I've been told by a number of eyewitnesses the WSU fans kept their reputation intact last night, most notably Mr. Jim Walden. Which gets to my point. Anybody have pictures of the ex-coach leading fans in the fight song? Those would be worth seeing. ... Now back to the pregame post. Talked with defensive end Jesse Feagin, who has his right hand in a cast, courtesy of the break he suffered last week. He said he'll be playing tonight. We'll see. UPDATE 2: Just heard he's not suiting up. Another pregame blow. ... Andy Mattingly, who correctly predicted before the football season his alma mater, Mead High, would be the best 4A team in the Greater Spokane League, said his knee is much better. ... Driving to the dome today, I listened to the radio broadcast of the Texas A.M./Iowa State game – it was the only sports I could find on the dial if you’re wondering why. It was funny hearing the name Nwachukwu and have it not be about Chima. His younger brother Uzoma is a freshman receiver with the Aggies. He leads the team in receptions, yardage and touchdown catches. ... Backup quarterback Kevin Lopina is not on the trip and will not make the next to Arizona. According to WSU, the senior wants to graduate at semester and, to do that, must fulfill some assignments on Fridays. So he talked with Paul Wulff this week and stayed in Pullman. • UPDATE: One thing I noticed in pregame warmups is Tony Thompson running pass patterns with the wide receivers. I saw the Cougars running a lot of plays this week out of the bunch set, with Thompson a part of it, and thought nothing of it. But it looks like he'll be used with the wideouts a little more today.
• Want to know a simple way to illustrate the difference between Notre Dame football and the rest of the world? The Irish press release for this game runs 67 pages. And they also have a 25-page stat package. WSU's is more typical 23 pages. ... Even though they're not in South Bend, Notre Dame had its usual pregame Mass today. ... It looks like usual starting running back Armando Allen will sit today with an ankle. He could play, but a writer who covers Notre Dame said Weis will want to rest him. ... Our final thoughts are on the Cougars' chances to pull an upset. It's pretty obvious you'll know what those are after the first few minutes. If Notre Dame gets the type of start most WSU opponents have this season, there is little to no chance. If the Cougars can stay close for a quarter, then the chances probably increase threefold. But even then, they will have to play error-free football offensively and force a couple of turnovers. Only then will they be in the game late.
• That's it for now. We'll be back at halftime. Until then …