Good day Coug fans, and welcome to the first day of bowl season. Unfortunately, unlike last year, it doesn't include WSU. Had a few things broken their way early on (an actual safety starting at safety, a kicker being able to make 19-yarder, the offense getting off the bus in Reno), it very well could. But those are the breaks. The fact of the matter is that the Cougs weren't anywhere near good enough to make the postseason. However, should they be allowed to pretend they were good enough?
The ESPN Pac-12 Blog posed an interesting question this week, and the Spokesman Review's Vince Grippi expanded on it Friday. The original question centered around which team could use the extra practices that come with bowl preparation. Ted Miller pegged WSU, and didn't exactly use the kid gloves when he gave his reasons. Mr. Grippi lays out some compelling reasons why every team should be allowed to continue practicing. Here is part of his rationale:
How hard would it be to say teams can practice until the season, the entire season, is over? Follow the weekly time rules, sure, maybe even cut them down some. But allow the schools that don't make bowls to continue to work together as a team, for an offensive line to work with their position coach on getting better, for defensive backs to continue to refine their coverage skills, for quarterbacks and receivers to get their timing down under the watchful eye of a guy trained to help them improve. As long as any teams are practicing, all teams should be allowed to practice.
Mr. Grippi has a great point here. If anyone watched more than a minute of WSU's defense in 2014, the part about defensive backs getting extra work hits close to home. If it were up to me, non-bowl teams would be able to use a model akin to WSU's Thursday Night Football, in which the guys who rarely play get a chance to showcase themselves. In my scenario, non-bowl teams would be allowed to practice a given amount of hours in the first few weeks following the regular season. However, the practices would be limited to redshirts, freshmen and sophomores.
The common theme we always hear from coaches regarding bowl practices is that they're invaluable for getting young players more repetitions. Why not make that possible for everybody? That's my take. I'm interested to think what changes you all would like to see, if any.
Washington State lost six of its final seven games, an odd victory over Oregon State acting as an anomaly cruelly hinting at what might have been amid a dreary season of massive disappointment.
On Wednesday we held a live chat to discuss WSU athletics. A transcription of the chat is available after the jump.