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The Case for Washington State


WSU distress

It's a true 'us' against the college football world situation. And by 'us' I mean OSU (Oregon State University) and WSU (Washington State University). This never-ending game of musical chairs continues (orchestrated by ESPN & Fox), with the Cougs and the Beavs still standing, instead of sitting at a conference table. I live in Eugene, OR, and 'hear' plenty in Niketown, USA about the Ducks' brilliant move to the B1G, where we are 45 minutes south of Corvallis. My heart, which spent time in the Palouse, home of the Lentil festival, is with WSU, and here is my appeal....


For a recap on how 'we got here', here is an excellent article by fellow Dawg Dylan Farrelly https://www.collegefootballdawgs.com/post/could-oregon-state-washington-state-remain-in-the-pac-12 to catch you up.

 

Washington State is not the smallest college:

by student population in the Pac-12, although even I was shocked by this one:

  • #12 Stanford with 17,680

  • #11 Oregon with 22,257

  • #10 WSU with 29,843

  • #9 OSU with 33,193

  • #1 ASU with 77,781

 

WSU is not the smallest in TV ratings (nationally):

  • #12 ASU (71st)

  • #11 Colorado (67th)

  • #10 Arizona (62nd)

  • #9 OSU (57th)

  • #8 Stanford (47th)

  • #7 California (45th)

  • #6 WSU (41st)

  • #5 UW (34th)

How could this be for the tiny town in the Palouse? A couple of things here, Pullman pulls 60% of its student population from the Puget Sound area (West of the Cascades), which consists of Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. WSU has multiple campus locations, with the main location in Pullman, WA (proximity to Spokane, WA @ 75th nationally), in Spokane, WA (again, 75th nationally), Tri-Cities, WA (117th nationally), Vancouver, WA (see Portland, OR 22nd nationally) and Everett, WA (see Seattle-Tacoma at 14th nationally)


From a small university where they consistently 'punch up', or play above our size, WSU manages to be above average.

 

Coaches of Note:

Let's review a couple of coaches of note at WSU, which was founded in 1890 and is currently employing its 34th head coach:


  • Dennis Erickson 1987-1988 then off to Miami to win national championships in 1989 and 1991.

  • Mike Price 1989-20002 then the dream of Alabama was derailed by an off-the-field incident.

  • Mike Leach 2012-2019 where he successfully rehabbed his career, on to Mississippi State


These men all did more with less, and not only survived but thrived on the eastern plains of Washington. Who could blame Coach Erickson and his "dream job" speech as he was packing for Miami, a job that I understand included membership at the Miami Country Club and a Nike deal? Coach Price was a victim of his success and simply 'fell on his sword', but what a change in the history books! Coach Leach of Swing the Sword fame, the Pirate (RIP) was a 'character' but had 'character' to match.

 

This may seem trivial, but you play all your cards when you're 'on death row'.

  1. USC 34 (25-9)

  2. Stanford 15 (7-7-1)

  3. UW 15 (7-7-1)

  4. UCLA 12 (5-7)

  5. Oregon 8 (4-4)

  6. California 8 (2-5-1)

  7. WSU 4 (1-3)

  8. OSU 3 (1-2)

  9. ASU 2 (1-1)

  10. Utah 1 (0-1)


Neither AZ nor Colorado have appeared in a Rose Bowl and to be fair, AZ/ASU joined in 1978 to make it the Pac-10, with Colorado/Utah in 2011 to make the Pac-12, but maybe just one appearance?

 

but, but, they're a farm college, below are the Top 20, couple of them play football...


1. Cornell University

2. University of Florida

3. Texas A&M University

4. University of California (Davis)

5. Oklahoma State University

6. Kansas State University

7. University of Georgia

8. North Carolina State University

9. University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

10. Purdue University

11. Virginia Tech University

12. Iowa State University

13. Clemson University

14. Michigan State University

15. Washington State University

16. Auburn University

17. University of Minnesota (Twin Cities)

18. Colorado State University

19. Texas Tech University

20. University of Wisconsin


Wazzu is in good company with these Agricultural schools, having beaten fellow 'Moo-U' Wisconsin (ranked #20) 31-22 in Week 2 action and CSU 50-24 at Colorado to open the season.

 

Their title, not mine...Top 25 Universities...I'm only listing 15


1. Purdue University 2. University of California*

3. USC* 4. Notre Dame

5. Alabama 6. Miami

7. University of Florida 8. University of Michigan

9. Stanford University* 10. Florida State University

11. BYU 12. University of Washington*

13. UCLA* 14. Wazzu (WSU)*

15. Maryland 15. Boston College


* 6 of the Top 15 are Pac-12 teams, and the University of Oregon makes 7 out of the Top 25.

 

In Conclusion:

Washington State University may not be a big city school. Heck, we're not really close to any big cities (Moscow, ID, anyone?), but we are not the smallest in student population. Television ratings? Top half of the Pac-12 at #6 (another study was at #4). Coaches come, 'prove they can do more with less,' and then climb another rung on the coaches' ladder to locations with airports and country clubs. The most recent Rose Bowl was in 1998, which resulted in a loss, but we've been there unlike others.


There are many great things about farm schools, as we work to provide the food on the table (shout out to Cougar Gold cheese) and football on Saturdays. WSU may not be a 'quarterback factory', but we've been blessed by guys who have joined the NFL ranks: Thompson, Rypien, Rosenbach, Bledsoe, Leaf, Gesser, and most recently, Minshew, just to name a few. Our women's basketball team won the Pac-12 this year, and from the looks of the above tweet, the women's soccer team is doing well. The current College Football Dawgs Poll is out, and the Cougars are ranked #25. We may not have the Glamour and Glitz of our big city brethren, but on the Palouse, we take pride in getting the job done, often without the 'best' but exceeding expectations!

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