Hey everybody it's me again, writing about my favorite thing in the world, Our Cougs and Our Leader Bill Moos. I read what our great and fearless leader Nuss had to say earlier today about Tormey coming into the program and about our one-shot appearance at Auburn in a couple of seasons. The reason I have sat down and started typing is because I respectfully disagree with Nuss and his assessment of what that game can mean for this program moving forward. In my mind this is more than a "body-bag" type of game and I'll explain my reasoning in as much detail as I can muster after the jump...
More than just being a "state of the department" article this was an opportunity for Bill Moos to serve notice of our expectations in the future. I have made no secret of my man-crush on Moos and I'm still actively trying to get into the department to work for him because he and I see eye to eye on where we can be and how things can work at WSU for our numerous programs. What struck me this time was that he didn't back down from his expectations being public knowing full well that anything he said was going to be in print, especially something like this
Just after Oregon met Auburn in the BCS football title game, Bill Moos had a general staff meeting, and noted that in 2013, Washington State plays both those programs. (The Cougars are doing a one-time visit to the national champs.)
"And," said Moos, the WSU athletic director, "I expect to beat both of them."
"I was serious," Moos said the other day in his office.
So it's out there, our Cougs are going to be playing the National Title winner and runner up. Of course we all knew we'd play Oregon as they are not only still in our conference but in our Division and they will the be prohibitive favorite to stay at the top of the heap in the Pac 12 until someone knocks them off. The bigger deal here is playing Auburn on their turf one time. This is a game we can win by then and that in Bill Moos' mind we should win. This guy is not just full of hot air and bluster. Every word has been calculated and every action planned since he came back to Pullman to get this department and its programs up off the mat and fighting again. This is a no-lose, win-win, whatever you want to call it for the Cougs as an up and coming program.
Lets all think about this for just a second, Auburn in a down year is anywhere from an 8-10 win ranked team and in a good year they get a shot at an SEC Title and maybe a National Title like this year. Unless the NCAA decides that the Cam Newton thing is worthy of sanctions or maybe Chizik sees the wheels fall of in his fifth year they will be anywhere from a good to great team. This isn't just a "body-bag" game for the Cougs, it's an OPPORTUNITY, and a damned big one at that. Now, if you're an optimist like I am you saw a team this year that was painfully close to breaking through and you can or do believe that the Cougs are bowl bound next year. Further, if you are taking the same leap of faith that I am you also see the possibility for Pac 12 Title contention in 2012 with a Senior QB and an unbelievably talented receiving corps getting help from what should, by then, be an experienced and talented defense. Admittedly this is all speculation and very broad speculation at that, but I am a believer in our young core of talent and in this coaching staff to bolster and build on it.
So far I've only gotten as far as 2012 and our boys don't play Auburn until 2013. 2013 is going to be a HUGE year for the program. There will be plenty of returning seniors based on our current depth charts, sadly Tuel will have graduated by then, but a lot of talent comes back and by then Connor Halladay will have likely seen action in some games to get him ready to move into being the starter. 2013 will this group's 2003, it'll be the beginning of us seeing whether or not we got a couple of good seasons or if we've got a solid program. A one-shot against Auburn is perfect. There are numerous reasons this is a no-lose proposition for the Cougs. If the Cougs go down there and win then HOLY @#$%, not only will they get paid, but they'll have knocked off what will likely be a quality ranked SEC opponent early on in a season that will likely be predicted to be a "rebuilding year." If the Cougs go down there and take Auburn to the wire then they at least serve notice that they warrant consideration as a quality team on a National level. Really the only way this ends badly is if they go down there and get run off the field 45-10 or something like that. Even then we still get the pay off, although the perception of the Cougs as a patsy will be a big negative.
Overall I just don't see how the Cougs don't take the steps necessary to make it a game at the very least by that point, be it under Wulff or someone else. Furthermore this game is likely to be on ESPN or maybe even CBS, but it will not be a game relegated to some backwoods channel that no one watches or cares about (Root Sports NW I'm looking at you). This is a big opportunity to get the Cougs out there on a National stage, in the bright lights of big time football and serve notice that this program is back to not only being decent, but good or even great. I like that he has taken aim at Oregon as well. I loved it when Paul Wulff got hired and said he "hates Purple," but what I didn't hear from him was that we're going to beat USC or anything like that. Overall I think Wulff is a bit too much of a low key coach to do something so Moos taking unapologetic aim at beating the class of the conference, a beast he created no less, is something we need to hear.
The notion of the Cougars as underdogs — so endemic to the place — is not an ethic Moos embraces.
Remember how Tony Bennett went without neckties on the bench in basketball, saying it exemplified the school's underdog mentality? Now he wears them at Virginia.
"The self-image (here) is an underdog," Moos said. "And I'm not OK with that.
"I tell our people, we're not going to get kicked out of the conference, we're going to be in it. It starts with how we feel about ourselves. We need to decide where we're going to be in the conference. We want to get back to a position where we're the odds-on favorite to win games."
That right there is why we need to hear it. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm sick and tired of hearing about being "little brother" to the Huskies. Maybe it bothers me more than it should because I was always the oldest in my family, but this "little brother" second fiddle BS needs to stop and Moos is the man to stop it. I've known more than one Coug that puts their colors away when the team is losing, or when they are asked if they're a Coug they just sort of mumble "yes" embarrassed to be in any way recognized as being one of us. If I'm getting off track here it's because when someone asks me if I'm a Coug or scoffs whilst saying "COUGARS really?!" I gladly tell them damn straight and don't forget it. Bill Moos is right there with me, he's just in a position to actually do something where right now I'm sitting on the sidelines and trying to get in the game. More of us need to embrace it. We shouldn't be okay with being the underdog, we should be like TCU was after winning the Rose Bowl this year, proud, defiant, and ready to play with anyone dumb enough to try and take the field, or out in the real world call into question our allegiance to this place that is so special we can't adequately describe it. Bill Moos is not just trying to lead our programs he's trying to lead us as a fan base. We don't have to turn into the Ducks or Dawgs, but we can sure as hell show our pride beyond waving a flag on Game Day.
We need to get on board with Bill and his leadership because it is his unapologetic pride and love for this place that drives it. It's why he's not scared to schedule tough in what under Sterk would have been a guaranteed laugher and a paycheck from the word go. If we want to be on Game Day and not just chasing it while it goes everywhere else this is the kind of game we need to schedule and fight in. This is how a brand is built and how a nation is served notice that a school has decided to take its athletics seriously. Playing good tough teams is what we SHOULD do, and we SHOULD expect to win. We SHOULD NOT be happy just to be on the field, and we SHOULD NOT be happy as fans that our team is the directional state of the Pac 12 conference slate. Bill Moos is bringing us success, growth, and expectation so lets fall in line and get with it. There's no such thing as a "body-bag" game, being the underdog, or god help me "couging it" if we take control of our program through donations and support and by being proud of what we have and can build in Pullman. We've had opportunity to build a juggernaut here before and we watched it fall through our fingers and just sort of shrugged about it and wondered when we'd next find ourselves in a bowl. Bill Moos has served notice to the Pac 12 and to us, the fans and supporters of WSU, that that's just not good enough anymore, so lets act like it. We need to get on board the good ship Cougar as captained by Bill Moos because it's going to steam forward with or without us. I've been on board since day one, and I hope you can all hear what I'm saying and join me because this is what we need, not what we're used to.
If you can hear me and understand what I'm getting at here please feel free to comment, I always welcome criticism and encourage debate with what I have to say. I just think it's time to quit looking at this as though it's a futile endeavor. Grow some enthusiasm and get behind the man that's leading the charge because this thing is going to be special especially if we've got the facilities we're gunning for by 2013. Things are on the way up and we should all be acting like it because any day as a Cougar is better than a day as anything else especially when you know that success and glory and recognition is right there for the taking. Lets go take it.