Are The Cougs Legit? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Are The Cougs Legit?

Posted: Updated:
PULLMAN, Wash. -

A new wind is blowing through the Palouse this fall. It's the same coach, but a different feeling. Last year Mike Leach in Pullman brought hype with disappointment, but this season there's something different.

The Cougars are 3-1 with three straight wins for the first time since 2006. Their last win was a shutout, something WSU hasn't done in ten years. Those numbers make it look like the Cougars are the best they've been in a decade, but the question that comes up is "are the Cougars finally a legitimate bowl team?"

At this point last year, WSU was 2-2 fresh off a depressing loss to Colorado, where they basically handed the win to the Buffaloes. This year though, it's a winning record at 3-1, with two of those wins essentially coming against FCS schools. Southern Utah plays in the Big Sky and Idaho may as well be there, at least for this season.

Still that 3-1 mark stands out. It's the same total they had in 2011, when WSU started the season 3-1, only to lose seven of their next eight. That very well may be the case again this year. The only thing that keeps one from jumping to that conclusion, though, is USC.

WSU beat USC for the first time since 2002. It wasn't just a win though, but a win in the Coliseum, something any program has struggled to do over the last decade. Yes, this isn't a national title contending USC team, but it's still a Pac-12 win. The Trojans also have Marquise Lee and one of the top defenses in the conference.

This USC win doesn't make the Cougars a legitimate contender, but it at least keeps them in the conversation of being a bowl team. They already have one more win than most people thought they'd have at this time, and that one win may prove to be the difference this year.

However, to really answer the question of how legit Washington State is in 2013, look no further than this Saturday. A top five ranking says it all, but on top of that the Stanford Cardinal showed who they were last week against Arizona State. Stanford posted 29 straight points on the Sun Devils on the way to a 42-28.

The Stanford Cardinal will show what Washington State is really made of. Stanford has a top ranked defense coupled with a competent offense, unlike USC. They've shown they can score points and stop teams.

If the Cougars win, it not only cements them as a bowl contender, but it gains national attention. If they get blown out, then the entire west side of the state -- and even the nation for that matter -- will just assume this is the same ol' Cougar team.

There aren't any moral victories for Coach Leach, but the beauty of this game is that Washington State doesn't even need to win to show that they belong. A win would be historic, but to figuratively punch Stanford back after Washington State gets punched will say a lot. And WSU will get punched. Staying with the Cardinal every step of the way Saturday will show who this team really is in 2013.

Cougar fan or not, you got to admit the one thing they have going for them right now is confidence and they won't be looking past this week's opponent.

I asked Mike Leach Monday if he believes in momentum and he does. He was quick to point out though that momentum is often times just a mindset. It's making the decision that we're going to build off of what happens or let it work against us.

That will be the test on Saturday. The Cougars are coming into CenturyLink with plenty of momentum: three straight wins, the first shutout of the Leach era, and 90 points scored in the last two games alone. At some point on Saturday though, that momentum will be stopped. Stanford will score, Stanford will take the lead, and Stanford will appear to be dominant. The question is how will Washington State respond?

The answer to that question may very well answer who this Washington State team really is in 2013.

 

  • John's Sports BlogMore>>

  • Cougars Vs. Beavers - Who Has The Edge?

    Cougars Vs. Beavers - Who Has The Edge?

    Friday, October 11 2013 3:03 PM EDT2013-10-11 19:03:17 GMT
    The countdown is on in Pullman, Washington, as the Cougars will host their first Pac-12 game at Martin Stadium. WSU welcomes in 4-1 Oregon State on Saturday.More >>
    The countdown is on in Pullman, Washington, as the Cougars will host their first Pac-12 game at Martin Stadium. WSU welcomes in 4-1 Oregon State on Saturday for a battle that could have major bowl implications down the road.More >>
  • Are The Cougs Legit?

    Are The Cougs Legit?

    Wednesday, September 25 2013 5:59 PM EDT2013-09-25 21:59:28 GMT
    A new wind is blowing through the Palouse this fall. It's the same coach, but a different feeling. Last year Mike Leach in Pullman brought hype with disappointment, but this season there's something different.More >>
    A new wind is blowing through the Palouse this fall. It's the same coach, but a different feeling. Last year Mike Leach in Pullman brought hype with disappointment, but this season there's something different.
    More >>
  • 3 Reasons Olynyk Will Make it in the NBA

    3 Reasons Olynyk Will Make it in the NBA

    Tuesday, July 2 2013 12:17 AM EDT2013-07-02 04:17:11 GMT
    Kelly Olynyk starts the NBA Summer League on Sunday, will he have a lasting career in the NBA?More >>
    Kelly Olynyk starts the NBA Summer League on Sunday, will he have a lasting career in the NBA?More >>
  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • Gonzaga Women's Basketball Announces WCC Slate

    Gonzaga Women's Basketball Announces WCC Slate

    First-year Gonzaga University head women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier will make her West Coast Conference debut at home as the 2014-15 WCC schedule was announced Tuesday.More >>
    First-year Gonzaga University head women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier will make her West Coast Conference debut at home as the 2014-15 WCC schedule was announced Tuesday.More >>
  • Sweets & Pippins Rank in Top 50 Nationally for Attendance Numbers

    Sweets & Pippins Rank in Top 50 Nationally for Attendance Numbers

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-08-19 22:22:39 GMT
    For the fifth season in a row, the Walla Walla Sweets, despite playing in one of the continent’s smallest markets, finished in the Top 50 (#45), while the Yakima Valley Pippins joined the rankings in their inaugural season, ranking number 35 nationally when it comes to attendance numbers.More >>
    For the fifth season in a row, the Walla Walla Sweets, despite playing in one of the continent’s smallest markets, finished in the Top 50 (#45), while the Yakima Valley Pippins joined the rankings in their inaugural season, ranking number 35 nationally when it comes to attendance numbers.More >>
  • 2014 College Football Schedule on SWX

    College Football on SWX

    SWX is proud to present another exciting year of college football! Below is a listing of all the games slated to be broadcast during the 2014 season. All games will be shown LIVE on SWX in their respective regions, and all games will be seen in HD where available.More >>
    SWX is proud to present another exciting year of college football! Below is a listing of all the games slated to be broadcast during the 2014 season. All games will be shown LIVE on SWX in their respective regions, and all games will be seen in HD where available.More >>
  • Washington St.WSUMore>>

  • Jason Gesser Answers 'Ice Bucket Challenge' From Michelle Dapper

    Jason Gesser Answers 'Ice Bucket Challenge' From Michelle Dapper

    Monday, August 18 2014 12:12 PM EDT2014-08-18 16:12:41 GMT
    Last week SWX's own Michelle Dapper challenge Washington State legend Jason Gesser to take the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' and on Sunday Gesser finally answered the challenge. Checkout the video.More >>
    Last week SWX's own Michelle Dapper challenge Washington State legend Jason Gesser to take the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' and on Sunday Gesser finally answered the challenge. Checkout the video.More >>
  • Catching Up With The Cougar Camp

    Catching Up With The Cougar Camp

    SWX's John Collett spent the day in Pullman on Tuesday to catch up with the Washington State University football team as it continues its fall camp this week with the season quickly approaching.More >>
    SWX's John Collett spent the day in Pullman on Tuesday to catch up with the Washington State University football team as it continues its fall camp this week with the season quickly approaching.
    More >>
  • WSU Defense Strong In First Scrimmage

    WSU Defense Strong In First Scrimmage

    Sunday, August 10 2014 1:05 AM EDT2014-08-10 05:05:06 GMT
    Washington State football held its first scrimmage of fall camp, working through roughly 60 plays at Sacajawea Middle School Saturday afternoon.More >>
    Washington State football held its first scrimmage of fall camp, working through roughly 60 plays at Sacajawea Middle School Saturday afternoon.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.