Saturday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, what I witnessed was probably the biggest tragedy of football I've seen in quite some time. And I was there for a 69-0 beat down at the hands of USC. But this game was worse.
I don't even want to beat around the bush like I normally do. I could make some large, sweeping analogy about how this team is still on their way up and, in the end, tell you all just to keep believing.
I just can't do it anymore. I defended Wazzu head football coach Paul Wulff and his coaching staff for what feels like eons. Part of it had to do with the fact that I knew them and talked to them a few times a week during the fall. I'm not questioning their want and desire to see this program improve. What I'm also not doing is questioning their ability to bring in better talent to Washington State. I don't think there's any doubt the Cougars are in better shape roster-wise than they were at the beginning of 2008.
Instead, as I sat in the postgame press conference Saturday after walking up the tunnel while surrounded by a bunch of Oregon State fans in the stands, I found myself ready to rage. Wulff gave every ounce of credit to the Oregon State coaching staff and their players, saying it was the best game they played all year. He said he thought the players were prepared and that they played well.
Well, no Paul, they didn't. In fact, they made a quarterback who'd thrown nearly twice as many interceptions as touchdowns all year coming into the game look like Andrew Luck bred with Peyton Manning. They allowed one of the worst rushing attacks not only in the conference but the country run over them like an Abrahams tank would move over an original Mini.
In fact Mr. Wulff, you got straight up out coached. Mike Riley was out for blood and his game plan just plain spanked you. Take for instance the first offensive possession for the Cougs. You ran. A lot. And when you went for it on fourth down well within Andrew Furney's field goal range, you ran again. Forgetting of course that when you need to pick up a first down, you need to rely on your team's best weapons of Jeff Tuel and the wide receivers, not the running backs and offensive line. Every offensive play the Beavs called seemed the perfect counter to whatever defense was on the field. There were holes in zone defenses I could've fit the Hindenburg in.
You got out coached by a team that lost to Sacramento State; a team that was 1-5 on the year coming into the game. The Beavers were in the middle of their most abysmal season in recent memory and they made the Cougars look absolutely stupid. For heaven's sake, the Beavers picked up 8.1 yards per play on Saturday. Not per completed pass. Per play. If you don't want to do the frightening math, I will for you. That means on the average first down, the Beavers gained enough yards to make it second and a short 2.
Every single week before this, I could find some bright spot. Every single week. This week, I can't. I just can't do it anymore. This game had to be won if there was a hope of making it to a bowl. The coaching staff had to know that and they fell flat on their face.
Before I say what I'm going to say, I need to make sure I make something clear. The last thing I want is for people to rub it in others, including my own, faces saying they were right all along. It's truly the least productive thing you can do. At the end of the day, we are all one big Cougar family and we want what is best for this program. Sometimes our views vary on that as people's views vary on many things. But rubbing someone's face with the "I told you so" game isn't mature and it's counterproductive.
So now I'll say it: I can't do it any more coach. I honestly can't defend you. After every Cougar loss before this, I was able to get over it by now. I'm still not over this one. That game made me beyond sick to my stomach. I've been the most committed and loudest supporter of this coaching staff for a long time but my frustration has finally boiled over. I don't know if there is even a way at this point to convince me that Wulff should stay beyond this season.
This one hurt and it hurt a lot. There is just no way to forgive a performance like that against a team you absolutely should've beaten. Feel free to prove me wrong Coach Wulff. The only problem is I don't think you can.
Last Week: 2-4 Overall: 47-12
Now Colorado has to play Arizona State. Seriously, who made this schedule?
Arizona State 41, Colorado 10
A really good game. In theory anyway. That is until Stanford steps on the field.
Stanford 35, USC 20
I'll give the nod to California in this one until UCLA stops losing and starting actually putting in an effort for their coach.
California 24, UCLA 7
Utah still hasn't won a conference game. Just a fantastic year for the newcomers.
Oregon State 30, Utah 20
Is it appropriate to point and laugh at a team if they don't win by enough?
Washington 45, Arizona 21
I'm not even going to bother with trying to analyze this one whatsoever.
Oregon 61, Washington State 3
Obscure Pick of the Week: Lets take a break from American football for a little European footie, also known as soccer. The University of Redlands women's team is trying to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament and a win over the La Verne Leopards would go a long way to doing that. Lucky for the Bulldogs, the Leopards are just 2-11-3 on the year. So I smell a big victory and a trip to the promised land.
Redlands 4, La Verne 0
Dunderhead of the Week: Myself. I filled in during the morning drive on Monday and Tuesday and I decided sleep was actually, despite every study to the contrary, counterproductive to my day. So in the span of 48 hours, I slept six hours when a normal human being would sleep 16 hours over that span.
And, of course, John Buccigross.
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The 2011-12 athletic season is here and you know what that means It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Football, soccer and volleyball, just to name a few, are playing their 2011 seasons. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.