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.

 

  • College

    • Courtesy: EWU Athletics

      Bogdan Bliznyuk signs Summer League deal with LA Clippers

      EWU Athletics The path to the National Basketball Association begins in Las Vegas for former Eastern Washington University basketball player Bogdan Bliznyuk, Eastern head coach Shantay Legans said Saturday (June 23).   The Big Sky Conference all-time leading scorer has agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Clippers, and will represent the team in the NBA's Summer League in Las Vegas from July 6-13. All five of their games will be broadcast on either ESPN or NBATV.   Since en...
    • Johnathan Williams signs Summer League contract with Lakers

      Former Gonzaga Bulldog basketball player Johnathan Williams signed with the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team Friday, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. In his senior season with Gonzaga, Williams averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. However the 6-foot-9 forward went undrafted Thursday night after. During his two years in Spokane, Wash., Williams was a two-time All-WCC first-teamer and an AP All-American honorable mention selection. Williams will now follow in the...
    • Photo: Gonzaga Athletics

      Jake Vieth named to 2018 ABCA/Rawlings Division I Gold Glove Team

      Vieth started 56 games for the Bulldogs registering 414 putouts, 36 assists and no errors for a perfect fielding percentage. His 414 putouts led the West Coast Conference.

    • Washington State implements clear bag policy for Martin Stadium

      Prohibited items no longer allowed in venues include, but are not limited to, purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, computer/camera bags, binocular cases or any bag larger than the permissible size.

    • Hercules Mata'afa waived by Minnesota Vikings

      The Vikings waived Mata'afa with the intention that he will clear waivers and be placed on the injured reserve list and also signed rookie linebacker Mike Needham from Southern Utah as a replacement.

    • Hutton Family Puts the "Heart" in the Heart and Sole Run

      Like many families, for Alan Hutton and his daughter Courtney, Father's Day weekend just wouldn't be the same without the Heart and Sole run.

    • Melson signs with Lavrio

      Silas Melson signs with professional team in Greece

      Melson averaged 9.3 points and scored in double figures 15 times, leading Gonzaga (32-5) to a Sweet 16 appearance.

    • Photo: EWU Athletics

      Nate Barry hired as Eagles new assistant AD for athletic performance

      A veteran of 11 years in the NCAA Division I ranks, Nate Barry has been hired as Eastern Washington University's new assistant athletic director for athletic performance.

    • Photo: Washington Athletics

      Huskies historic season ends in loss In Omaha

      Washington's historic baseball season, which culminated in the Huskies'  thrilling postseason run and first-ever trip to the College World Series, came to end Monday as the Huskies were eliminated in a 14-5 loss to Pac-12 rival Oregon State.

    • Photo: Idaho Vandals

      Eagles & Vandals ranked in HERO Sports FCS Top-25 Preseason Poll

      Idaho returns 11 starters for the 2018 season, including four all-league selections in 2017.

    More
  • John's Sports Blog

    • Cougars Vs. Beavers - Who Has The Edge?

      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.
    • Are The Cougs Legit?

      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.
    • 3 Reasons Olynyk Will Make it in the NBA

      Kelly Olynyk starts the NBA Summer League on Sunday, will he have a lasting career in the NBA?
    • And Then There Were Four

      With that said four teams remain in the NFL playoffs, but there can only be two in the Super Bowl.
    • "Expectations Couldn’t be Higher… Can you be Perfect?"

      It's state tournament time for high school football in Washington and this always takes me back to the movie Friday Night Lights.
    • Rule Number One, We are Number One

      For the third straight year, Eastern Washington's football has earned the number one ranking in the nation.
    • From NFC Worst to NFC West

      How good is the NFC West right now? Right now the entire division is at .500 or better. Most people think the San Francisco 49ers are the best team in the NFC, but they're not even the top team in the division as of Friday.
    • college basketball

      NCAA Investigates Saint Mary's Basketball Program

      With college basketball looming on the horizon, multiple sources report the Saint Mary's program is under investigation for alleged recruiting violations.
    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/