Closing the book on WSU's scheduling controversy ... hopefully

William Mancebo

After a few days of wondering why WSU caved to Gonzaga, we take a big picture look at some of Bill Moos' decisions since he took the reins in Pullman.

Good day Coug fans, and Happy Easter. This morning I'm channeling my inner Kent Brockman, and then we can all, hopefully, move on to bigger and more important things. You know, the most important things in life, such as spring football and In-N-Out Burger.

When Bill Moos was hired to lead WSU's Athletic Department in 2010, I was elated, as was nearly every Cougar fan. Here was a supremely successful AD, and an alum, coming home to rescue a suffering athletic department. His first major decision came in late 2011, when he weighed whether to retain Paul Wulff, or move in another direction. When he opted to fire Wulff and, within hours, hire Mike Leach, it was clear that he planned on elevating WSU Athletics to a level we hadn't seen in some time. Couple Leach's hiring with the Cougar Football Project and the Football Operations Building, and it was clear that we were, as he was fond of saying, running with the big dogs.

Like many of you, I was over the moon. I joined the CAF and bought season tickets within a few days of Leach's press conference. We all waded through the mire of the 2012 football season, and the bad basketball season shortly afterward, believing that better things lay ahead. In 2013, we were rewarded when the football team went bowling for the first time in a decade.

When basketball season began, it became clear that a coaching change was needed, and probably overdue. Early in the season, Mr. Moos said Ken Bone was retained not because of his (absurd) contract, but because Moos believed he could turn it around. However, it was pretty obvious that Bone's Cougars were awful. This is where I have trouble believing Moos. WSU does not have an extra $850,000 (Bone's salary) laying around. If it did, I believe Bone would have been fired a year ago.

After Bone's inevitable firing came the basketball coaching search. We all speculated for what seemed like months about who would even consider coming to WSU. It didn't take long to realize that many of our ideal candidates were non-starters, because the job is largely viewed as one that could prematurely end a coach's career. When the smoke cleared, Mr. Moos went back to his Oregon roots and hired Ernie Kent. While I was neither elated nor upset about the hire, one thing stood out. We paid far above market value to hire a guy who would have given his last serape to get back into coaching.

Now we've arrived at what I believe is the low point in Moos' tenure. He let himself, and Pac-12 member WSU, get big-timed by those JV conference-belonging, self-entitled, overrated, first weekend-losing, coached-by-a-perpetually-whining weasel Gonzaga Bulldogs. Suddenly, we're meek little WSU, and they're the bully. For me, it isn't about the money. It's about the principle (WARNING: adult language). A major conference school like WSU should never have the terms of a contract dictated to it by a mid-major school. Not ever. I don't care if they're a better team, which they are right now. It shouldn't happen. Heck, even this guy thinks it's messed up.

This deal is even more perplexing given that, just a month ago, Moos said, "don't step over dollars to get to nickels...All we're seeing right now is nickels, in regards to gate receipts in basketball."  So, if we were stepping over dollars to get nickels before, what are we doing now? Stepping over dollars to get kicked in the junk? Stepping over dollars so the band can get in free? I am completely mystified. If Bill Moos were a director, the Leach hire was The Sixth Sense, the Kent hire (salary notwithstanding) was Unbreakable, and this latest debacle is After Earth. I still think Bill Moos is the best person to run WSU Athletics, and I trust that he has our best interests in mind. But man, I really hope his career isn't defined by an opening block buster, followed by a series of Last Airbenders.

Football

Reserves give strong showing at WSU scrimmage - Spokesman.com - April 20, 2014
PULLMAN – Saturday’s practice, the first scrimmage of spring, may have been "just kind of another day" for Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, whose easy efficiency was reminiscent of the team’s previous 10 practices. But it was another kind of day entirely for WSU’s backups and reserves who showed why the talent at hand makes Halliday say this is "head and shoulders above any spring that I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here."

Spring Practice Report: Day 11 - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - April 19, 2014
The football team held one of its allotted spring scrimmages Saturday. There were lots of big plays on both sides of the ball. I really hope we get to see what Robert Lewis can do this fall.

NFL Draft

2014 NFL draft position rankings: Calvin Pryor leads deep safety class | Audibles - SI.com
At 6-1, 211, Bucannon is an old-school strong safety in size and on tape — he’s at his best when he’s near the line of scrimmage, looking to take someone’s head off in run support or defending short passes.

Basketball

Cougar fans snarling - Spokesman.com - April 19, 2014
John Blanchette weighed in on the WSU basketball scheduling tire fire with a very John Blanchette column.

Scheduling concessions to Gonzaga leave Washington State fans disgusted | The Dagger - Yahoo Sports
A neutral perspective on the scheduling issue. I disagree with his assertion that Gonzaga is a "national power." National powers make the Sweet 16 more than twice per decade, and national powers have a better record than 26-48 (since the run began in '98-'99) against ranked opponents.

Baseball

Cougars Edged by Ducks - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Welp.

Non-Sports

Drag-racing heiress keeps In-N-Out on course - The Orange County Register
I've already looked on Google Maps to see how far my future house will be from the Austin, TX In-N-Out. 47 miles is nothing. Neapolitan shakes for all of my friends!

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