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>>

  • Cougars Rout PSU In Pullman, 59-21

    Cougars Rout PSU In Pullman, 59-21

    Washington State earned its first win of the 2014 season in the Cougars first "true" home game of the year vs. Portland State behind a 544-yard, 6 touchdown performance from senior quarterback Connor Halliday at Martin Stadium on Saturday night.More >>
    Washington State earned its first win of the 2014 season in the Cougars first "true" home game of the year vs. Portland State behind a 544-yard, 6 touchdown performance from senior quarterback Connor Halliday at Martin Stadium on Saturday night.
    More >>
  • Idaho Falls To WMU, 45-33

    Idaho Falls To WMU, 45-33

    Despite 362 yards on 27-of-41 passing by Matt Linehan and 153 all-purpose yards by Richard Montgomery, the Idaho Vandals couldn't overcome Western Michigan, losing 45-33 in a non-conference football game at the Kibbie Dome Saturday night.More >>
    Despite 362 yards on 27-of-41 passing by Matt Linehan and 153 all-purpose yards by Richard Montgomery, the Idaho Vandals couldn't overcome Western Michigan, losing 45-33 in a non-conference football game at the Kibbie Dome Saturday night.More >>
  • Husky Defense Halts Illinois, UW Wins 44-19

    Husky Defense Halts Illinois, UW Wins 44-19

    Linebacker Shaq Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, picked up a fumble and rumbled 52 yards for another score, and Washington routed Illinois 44-19 on Saturday, improving to 3-0 under Chris Petersen.More >>
    Linebacker Shaq Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, picked up a fumble and rumbled 52 yards for another score, and Washington routed Illinois 44-19 on Saturday, improving to 3-0 under Chris Petersen.More >>
  • Extra PointsExtra PointsMore>>

  • Traditions Of Bob Marley Carry Onto The Gridiron Thanks To Grandson

    Traditions Of Bob Marley Carry Onto The Gridiron Thanks To Grandson

    Everyone has heard of Bob Marley. Some know his son Rohan played at the University of Miami with then-future NFL greats Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis. Now the legendary musician's soul continues on in the form of Rohan's son Nico on the University of Tulane's football field.More >>
    Everyone has heard of Bob Marley. Some know his son Rohan played at the University of Miami with then-future NFL greats Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis. Now the legendary musician's soul continues on in the form of Rohan's son Nico on the football field at Tulane University. More >>
  • Leach Saves WSU Commercial From Mediocrity

    Leach Saves WSU Commercial From Mediocrity

    SWXRightNow.com -- Washington State head football coach Mike Leach has a word for his own sayings, Leach-isms. He's written a book about the leadership strategies of the great Native American warrior Geronimo. He once told the great fictional coach Eric Taylor on the famed TV show "Friday Night Lights" to,"swing his sword." Which is actually the title of his autobiography and a phrase he tells his players to do often. Now Leach can add the title "horrible commercial savior" to his repertoire....More >>
    SWXRightNow.com -- Washington State head football coach Mike Leach has a word for his own sayings, Leach-isms. He's written a book about the leadership strategies of the great Native American warrior Geronimo. He once told the great fictional coach Eric Taylor on the famed TV show "Friday Night Lights" to,"swing his sword." Which is actually the title of his autobiography and a phrase he tells his players to do often. Now Leach can add the title "horrible commercial savior" to his repertoire....More >>
  • Beast Mode Brings Skittles To The Weight Room

    Beast Mode Brings Skittles To The Weight Room

    Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch has brought his love for skittles to a completely new level by working out with the delectable sugary bites that he uses for an extra boost on the field.More >>
    Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch has brought his love for skittles to a completely new level by working out with the delectable sugary bites that he uses for an extra boost on the field.More >>
  • Washington St.WSUMore>>

  • Cougars Rout PSU In Pullman, 59-21

    Cougars Rout PSU In Pullman, 59-21

    Washington State earned its first win of the 2014 season in the Cougars first "true" home game of the year vs. Portland State behind a 544-yard, 6 touchdown performance from senior quarterback Connor Halliday at Martin Stadium on Saturday night.More >>
    Washington State earned its first win of the 2014 season in the Cougars first "true" home game of the year vs. Portland State behind a 544-yard, 6 touchdown performance from senior quarterback Connor Halliday at Martin Stadium on Saturday night.
    More >>
  • Ex-WSU QB Ryan Leaf Sentenced to 5 Years, Won't Serve Time

    Ex-WSU QB Ryan Leaf Sentenced to 5 Years, Won't Serve Time

    Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Ryan Leaf has been sentenced to five years in prison in Texas for violating terms of his probation, though he won't serve any additional time behind bars under an agreement with prosecutors.The former San Diego Chargers quarterback and Washington State standout violated his probation in Texas when he was arrested in Montana in 2012 after breaking into a home to steal prescription painkillers.More >>
    Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Ryan Leaf has been sentenced to five years in prison in Texas for violating terms of his probation, though he won't serve any additional time behind bars under an agreement with prosecutors.The former San Diego Chargers quarterback and Washington State standout violated his probation in Texas when he was arrested in Montana in 2012 after breaking into a home to steal prescription painkillers.More >>
  • Jacob Thorpe Breaks Down The Cougs' Start

    Jacob Thorpe Breaks Down The Cougs' Start

    SWX's Neil Stover goes one-on-one with WSU beat writer Jacob Thorpe to tackle the questions behind the Cougars' 0-2 start to the season. More >>
    SWX's Neil Stover goes one-on-one with WSU beat writer Jacob Thorpe to tackle the questions behind the Cougars' 0-2 start to the season. 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.