What does WSU need to do to stay 'ahead of schedule'?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The rebuild is in progress. What do the Cougars need to accomplish next season to keep progress steady?

Coming off a six-win season, the Cougar football team certainly got better in 2013. That isn't necessarily saying much, however, considering where the program is coming from. There is still plenty of work to do too. On Thursday, Kyle Bonagura of the ESPN Pac-12 blog wrote the Cougars are ahead of schedule. Mike Leach agreed:

"Nobody thought we'd go to a bowl this year," Leach said. "They thought we'd win two games or something.

"And even though we all felt like we left meat on the table, the program hadn't been to a bowl game in 10 years. So from that standpoint we're ahead of schedule."

My immediate reaction was to agree, WSU is ahead of schedule in the rebuild under Leach. Thinking about it a little more, I started to wonder, what exactly amounts to on schedule for 2014. Seven wins? A bowl victory? Eight wins? What are realistic steps for the program to take? If the Cougars finish next season with six wins are they on schedule, still ahead of schedule or now behind schedule?

To go another step further, as of now, what would you consider the rebuild schedule for the next three seasons? Considering it's only January and August optimism hasn't set in, my rebuild schedule would look something like this:

2014: 6-7 wins

2015: 7-8 wins

2016: 8+ wins

That is a very simplistic answer. Beyond wins and losses, the Cougars need to take some significant steps in improving depth. That likely means signing higher-rated recruiting classes, at least moving up some. So the question of the day is, in your opinion, what does WSU need to do to stay on schedule next season?

Football:

Under Mike Leach, Washington State Cougars ahead of schedule - ESPN
When Mike Leach decided he was ready to return to coaching in 2011, he knew he'd have some options. That's the nature of the business for a coach who has guided a program to 10 bowls in 10 seasons like he did at Texas Tech.

WSU Recruiting Q&A part 2 - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Jan. 23, 2014

Yesterday, I invited a couple WSU recruiting experts to come fill us in on how the Washington State football class of 2014 is shaping up. Braulio Perez, a Senior Correspondent at Cougfan.com and Britton Ransford, the publisher of WazzuWatch.com, were kind enough to answer some questions. Part 1 of that interview can be read here, and part 2 is after the jump.

Deone Bucannon To Play In The Senior Bowl Saturday - Washington State University Official Athletic Site

Washington State safety Deone Bucannon will play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl Saturday in Mobile, Ala. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (PT) on the NFL Network.

Men's basketball:

Preview: Oregon State at Washington State | Reuters
Washington State is not expected to get the services of leading scorer DaVonte Lacy back when it hosts Oregon State in a Pac-12 Conference matchup on Wednesday. Lacy has played only once in the last seven games while battling appendicitis and a rib injury and the Cougars have struggled mightily in his absence. Washington State is 2-5 in that stretch while averaging 49 points over the last six.

2,632 in Pullman Wednesday night, and did the last fan to leave turn out the lights? | Pac-12 Confidential | Seattle Times
At Washington State, the Cougars drew 2,632 fans, or a little over 20 percent of capacity, for their 66-55 loss to Oregon State. I went to a graduation at Beasley Coliseum a few years ago, and that probably had a better atmosphere.

Women's basketball:

BU women add transfer from Washington State - Sports - Journal Star - Peoria, IL
Bradley women’s basketball coach Michael Brooks added a sixth recruit to the roster for the 2014-15 season with the transfer of Minnesota native Whitney Tinjum to Bradley from Washington State for the 2014 spring semester.

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