(5) Jeshua Anderson vs. (12) Paul Wulff: 2011 Coug of the Year First Round

Sometimes, timing is everything.

Full bracket here... but I think it's safe to say this was advantageous timing for Jeshua Anderson's name to be called in the 5/12 COTY matchup.

(5) Jeshua Anderson

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Three-time NCAA Champion. Four-time Pac-10 Champion.

Anderson's only real hurdle to representing Cougar Nation in London is the fact he's American. It's true. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics the U.S. swept the medal podium in the men's 400-meter hurdles. 18 of the 24 gold medalists in the event's Olympic history are American. As our own Mark Sandritter pointed out, ten men in the world ran sub-49 second races in 2011. Six of them were American. I won't be able to even look at the TV when Jeshua is up at the Olympic trials... I'll be far too nervous. One stumble, one little mistake, one clip of the gate could mean he falls short of his dream. Only three hurdlers can make the U.S. olympic team. Odds are any of the three could take gold.

I suggest Jeshua take the easy way out, and immediately start filing paperwork for dual citizenship in Estonia.

(12) Paul Wulff

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I'm still upset about EA Sports giving Washington State a "1" Prestige rating. Notre Dame and Michigan got a 5 despite the fact they haven't been legitimate national title contenders in years. Northwestern got a 3. Duke even got a 2. Don't tell me this is about what a school's done recently. SMU has a rating of 3. EA apparently remembers the Pony Express, but not a school that played in two Rose Bowls in the last fifteen years? Oh, and at our very, very worst - we still beat SMU. A SMU team that would go on to play in a Bowl. (note to my extended family that went to SMU: sorry)

Two things irk me about how WSU is viewed on a national - or even regional - level. The first is that we've become the "insert crappy school here" in jokes about college football. The second is that we aren't viewed as a big market (read: Seattle) team even though we technically should be considered a part of it. That second one is not really relevant to this discussion, though.

What is relevant is that WSU had become a laughingstock. A punchline. The national media that didn't respect us much to begin with turned on us even more, and the average college football fan probably doesn't remember this program used to be one of the strongest in the country.

Paul Wulff was about to become the fall guy for all of this. Right or wrong, he was on the hot seat because WSU football was incredibly non-competitive for the better part of two years. And then one game changed everything. EA Sports probably thinks this never happened, but on a cool fall day the Washington State Cougars blew out the Oregon State Beavers on the road. It wasn't a fluke, or an overtime game... the Cougs just punched OSU in the mouth and won convincingly. By seventeen.

You can say Wulff deserves the blame for our loss of prestige, and you would be somewhat right about that. But Paul Wulff makes the COTY ballot because what he's still been able to do despite our "prestige" being in the tank. While the team has struggled, he's reeled in recruiting classes with the likes of Jeff Tuel and Marquess Wilson. He's convinced good players to be excited about building something rather than just winning in their freshman year. When it looked like the Cougs had nothing to play for except the Apple Cup, they came out in Reser Stadium with their arms linked and shocked the entire conference.

Paul Wulff could be considered part of our PR problem... but don't be too shocked if he also ends up being the solution.

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