Here's a little bit of the most recent Cougar Sports Weekly newsletter, which included this main piece as well as a 2011 Apple Cup preview. Subscription info here.
I think there's folly in disregarding progress -- basing analysis and decisions off of the black-and-white proposition of wins and losses. A game can swing on any one of dozens of decisions by coaches, players, and even referees. For example, there are those who will vigorously argue that WSU did win the game, that Marquess Wilson was in the end zone, but that the officials on the spot blew the call. What if it's called a TD? Are you feeling different today? Of course you are, because winning is what it's all about.
Is that logical, though? I realize sports are sort of fundamentally illogical -- consider the very definition of the word "fanatic" -- but stay with me for a second. If you remove the referee's decision from the equation, you've got the same throw, the same catch and the same piles of mistakes that preceded them. It's perfectly logical to me that people are disappointed in the outcome, but it seems equally illogical to me that something as unpredictable and random as the whims of Pac-12 referees (especially because they are Pac-12 referees) are the catalyst for some people making sweeping conclusions about the state of the program. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
What if Jared Karstetter makes one more catch against UCLA -- specifically, the one he dropped in the end zone? What if, instead of hauling in that long, game-winning TD against Colorado, Marquess Wilson drops it? With a few good breaks, this team could be 6-5 and we're partying in the streets. With a bad one, it could be 3-8, and we're all but telling Wulff not to let the door hit him on the backside on the way out. This is the thin line between winning and losing that is the plight of a middling program.
It's this viewpoint, coming on the heels of a fun win the week before against Arizona State, that allowed me to walk out of Martin Stadium disappointed, but satisfied.
The newsletter also included a recap of the end of soccer's season, a look at where the basketball team stands after three games, a sweep around the Pac-12 and a summary of the week that was in WSU's non-revenue sports.