As we approach 2016, I thought it would be fun to discuss what the Cougar Nation is most looking forward to in the next year. Here are the five things that I am the most excited about in the year to come.
1) National Signing Day: So far Mike Leach and his staff have assembled a solid, if not spectacular recruiting class. The good thing is that most of these guys seem really locked in, so I'm not expecting much in the way of defections. The interesting thing will be to see if some top recruits become interested in the Cougars late with such a successful season. If we get those kids to pledge Crimson, how do we fit them into an already full class. Will the staff be able to play the "blueshirt" game and keep everyone in the fold. We shall see.
2) Football Season: This is as loaded as a returning football team as WSU has had since the Mike Price era. With superstar returnees such as Luke Falk and Gabe Marks as well as tons of up and comers, these team is poised for a run at the Rose Bowl. I can't wait to see how to see how these players do with another year under their belt. This team could legit average 40 points a game on offense and rank as one of the Pac-12's better defenses with Alex Grinch continuing to make his mark on the program.
3) Baseball Season: The hiring of new coach Marty Lees really gets me excited to where our program will be going in the future. Lees was one of the architects and top recruiters for two of the best college baseball programs in nation while at Oregon State and Oklahoma State. He also brought in a great staff to WSU with assistants who have been head coaches of major college programs and managers in the minor leagues. Add the return of pre-season All-American closer Ian Hamilton who will moving into a starting role and top recruit Parker McFadden who turned down big money from the pros and WSU should have a stellar pitching staff to look forward to. I can't wait to see how this team performs with Lees at the helm.
4) Men's Basketball Conference Play: With Ernie Kent settling on a regular rotation around star Josh Hawkinson, will the Cougars be able to compete in the Pac-12? Can Vionte Daniels come back from injury to make a significant impact? Will we be able to at least beat UW? These are questions I am eager to see answered as conference play begins.
5) Women's soccer: With the Cougars continuing to make NCAA tournament appearances despite turning over their head coach every year, I'm hoping they can make a even bigger run with the return of head coach Todd Shulenberger.
What are you guys most excited about for 2016? I think this is going to be a great year on the Palouse.
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