Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Washington State Cougars season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Washington State Cougars
Was that it? Was that the shot at doing something really big?
It’s the knock against Mike Leach and his tenures at Texas Tech and Washington State, and it’s not exactly fair.
Yeah, his teams are able to be dangerous, and fun, and good, and able to beat anyone on the right day, but there simply isn’t enough there to get over the hump and actually win something big.
The schemes are great, the coaching – despite all his bluster – is top-shelf, and there’s no question that he’s been brilliant over his 16 years so far as a head man. But it was tough trying to compete with powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 South. And it’s hard to push through the Pac-12 when the recruiting classes aren’t quite as strong as the others.
That’s why it would’ve been so intriguing if Leach got the Tennessee gig. What could he do when he was bound by absolutely nothing in terms of facilities, recruiting base and resources?
And that’s what makes last year so disappointing. 2017 was when Wazzu had the team in place to do so much more.
Stanford was just okay despite winning the North, Oregon was down, and Washington – while terrific – was gettable
Now, all three of those teams are going to be better, Cal is on the verge of being a thing under Justin Wilcox, and it’s impossible for Oregon State to be any worse. So when looking around the Pac-12 North and trying to figure out who the sucker is …
But the system will get the Cougars through this. Yeah, it’s a bit of a rebuilding year with several new parts to the passing game and enough turnover on the defensive side to be an issue, but that doesn’t mean this can’t be another winning season and a bowl game.
Being counted out, being the underdog, and being disrespected – that fits into the fight that comes from Leach teams. As a front-runner with expectations? They’re okay. But everyone will pick other teams to do bigger things in the North – and that might be a huge mistake.
No, last year was not it. Eventually the Cougars under Leach will win that one big game it needs to at the end to get to the Pac-12 Championship.