The term "emotional roller coaster" only begins to describe the 2010 WSU football season. The depressing season opener at Oklahoma State ... the close win over Montana State ... the encouraging performance at SMU ... the whipping by USC ... the closer-than-expected losses to Oregon, Arizona and Stanford ... the no-show at ASU ... the bed crapper against Cal.
And then ... breakthrough.
Throughout this entire year, I've constantly asked myself one question: What do I need to see the rest of the season to convince me this program is headed in the right direction? It's been a weekly cycle of observation and evaluation. Where has this team been? Where is it now? Where is it going?
I find myself trying to answer all that as I reflect back on Saturday's win.
In a lot of ways, I sort of gave up on this team after Arizona State. We've been over this together, but I didn't give up on them because I thought they were hopeless -- I did it for my own sanity. Hope is a hard thing, and I know many of you have been where I was after ASU at various points in the last three seasons. I did hold out hope for Cal, if only internally, but when they kicked away a game that the Bears practically tried to give them ... well, I just felt like my feelings were confirmed.
Then, as if right on cue -- almost exactly at the moment I'm convinced the emotional investment isn't worth it anymore -- the Cougs bust out with a most improbable win.
All year long, we've been preaching patience when it comes to evaluating this team and its coaching staff. However, we've taken temperature checks at various times. A month an a half ago, nearly 60 percent of you said you still believed in Paul Wulff, but the other 40 percent said they had "given up" on him at some point. A couple of weeks ago, after Stanford, 55 percent of you wanted Bill Moos to immediately guarantee Wulff would return for his fourth season and only five percent said he should be fired no matter what. But then, if you look at the SB Nation "Fan Confidence" graph at the top of the page, you can see what happened after ASU.
Given how opinions have shifted throughout the year -- and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that even I've been wishy-washy at times, although I haven't flip-flopped as much as this guy -- I think it's fair to wonder if opinions have shifted once again after Saturday.
So here we go. There's a poll below to see how your own attitudes might have changed.
But there's a second part to this question. How much should this win influence Bill Moos' decision at the end of the year? An athletics director has to be careful not to be swayed by one performance -- either good or bad. Should this win be enough to convince Moos that Wulff has done enough, independent of what happens in the Apple Cup?
Discuss one or both of those questions below.