Washington State’s losses feeling all-too familiar

Nov 11, 2012, 12:51 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2012, 10:27 am

UCLA beat Washington State 44-36 Saturday night, handing the Cougars their seventh straight loss. (AP)

By Jim Moore

I get a kick out of what an idiot I am sometimes.

I get so excited on Cougar Football Saturdays, waking up and looking forward to the game, wondering if this will be the day that we pull the upset over the next team that is expected to have its way with us.

This week I thought we could beat the Bruins if we played like we did against Stanford two weeks ago. I also liked that it would be cold at Martin Stadium, a factor that would surely favor the Cougs.

And then all of that optimism always seems to be shattered in such a way that it makes me wonder how I could have possibly thought the Cougs could win.

I mean, come on, two blocked field goals and a blocked punt before the end of the first quarter. You know what that’s called? Absolute buffoonery.

Saturday morning at The Daily Grind in Pullman, I wrote a post for my website,, predicting the Cougs would beat the Bruins 31-27. That didn’t happen, of course, as UCLA won 44-36.

Now here it is, Cougar Football Sunday, and it’s just like all of the other Cougar Football Sundays, feeling like an idiot for thinking we might have a shot at storming the field and celebrating a victory over a ranked team on my last Dads’ Weekend in Pullman.

And I know what it will be like next week – Cougar Football Saturday will arrive and I’ll be thinking that if everything goes right, we can beat the Sun Devils. Then Cougar Football Sunday will dawn, and I’ll wake up to reality in the form of a 2-by-4 to the face.

Let me give the floor to Facebook friend Josh, who summed up some of my sentiments with a post of his own late Saturday night:

“I’m tired of having traveled countless miles to watch this team lose countless times, spending countless dollars in the process. I’m tired of wasting countless hours watching this team lose on TV.

“I’m tired of attending fundraisers countless times and donating countless dollars to the athletic program. I’m tired of purchasing countless WSU clothing items and wearing them before, during and after embarrassing losses. I’m tired of the Cougar head logo tattoo I had inked on my arm a decade ago.

“I’m tired of the WSU memorabilia throughout my house. I’m tired of expectations of improvement followed by reality. I’m tired of explaining why I still care.

“I attended WSU. I graduated from WSU. I’m a Coug. I’m also tired of not getting a return on my investment.

Mike Leach’s staff has been accused of “physical, verbal and emotional abuse” by ex-receiver Marquess Wilson. (AP)

“Go Cougs.”

Josh will be watching next week’s game against Arizona State, just like he watched Saturday night’s loss to UCLA.

It was Washington State’s seventh consecutive defeat. The Cougs are now 2-8 and careening toward a 2-10 season. We’ll be double-digit underdogs to ASU and Washington the next week.

We’re 11-49 in our last 60 games with two quality wins in the past five years – over Oregon State in 2010 and ASU last year. We’ve been mostly awful since Alex Brink found Brandon Gibson all alone at Husky Stadium for the game-winning touchdown in the 2007 Apple Cup.

I hate to trash on my own team because I love Cougar football, love my school, love the Palouse, love everything about Washington State. I’ll never reach the “no mas” point, but the constant beatdowns wear on you after awhile.

The Cougs suffered two losses Saturday night, one to the Bruins and the other when Marquess Wilson left the team, citing alleged verbal abuse from Mike Leach and his coaching staff.

I don’t know what to think about that, whether Wilson’s claims are true or not. I like to think they’re completely unfounded, but I’ve heard from two parents of players who voiced similar concerns. Maybe it’s simply a matter of the Cougs needing to toughen up or Leach getting tougher players while weeding out those who don’t meet his standards.

Here’s the thing: I don’t understand anything anymore when it comes to Cougar football. I’m at a total loss. I throw my hands up and fully admit my ignorance when it comes to all things Cougar football.

I can’t figure out if this is all part of a process that will work itself out in time or if we’ve got a coach who really does humiliate and belittle his players. You like to think it’s the former instead of the latter based on his 84-43 record at Texas Tech.

I asked several fans this question yesterday:

“If you had to bet everything you had on Leach being a success or a failure long-term at Washington State, which way would you bet?”

Most answered “success,” but some answered “failure.” Maybe the locker room isn’t fractured, but the fan base is.

The crimson-and-gray train may not be off the tracks, but it’s teetering as it heads to Tempe.

Another Cougar Football Saturday beckons, and I’ll be there with my daughter at Sun Devil Stadium, hoping for a different outcome than all of the rest.

Hey, what’s the definition of insanity again?

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, You can reach Jim at and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

Wyman & Bob


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