There's a saying: "Everyone has a breaking point."
While it's an accurate saying, I feel like it's also incomplete -- there are a lot of ways one can end up at that breaking point. For example, some people can feel their resolve eroding, bit by bit, and it's obvious to anyone looking that it's happening. It's almost like each negative outcome is a withdrawal from an account, and you can see that balance approaching zero.
Then, there are people like me.
When things aren't going well, I tend to stay the course -- especially if I believed strongly in something initially. And I'll tell anyone who will listen that they should remain patient, see it through, there's evidence that it's working, there are reasons to believe we're going to end up where we thought we would ... and then ...
Maybe you can see where this is going.
I've spent a lot of time the last three years telling people that I believed in the direction the WSU program was heading under Mike Leach. That it was going to take time to pull us out of the cesspool left behind by Paul Wulff. That recruiting was improved. That you can see the offense thisclose to becoming the ridiculous thing it was at Texas Tech. That WSU simply got a little bit unlucky in 2014. That giving Leach a modest raise and rolling over his contract was the cost of doing business in this day and age.
PAC-12 Week 1 Recap
It is finally college football season and depending on who your team is you either had a good Labor Day weekend or a really really bad one.
That 2015 is when it was all going to come together.
Then Saturday happened, and all that belief was completely and totally flushed over the course of three hours of complete and total ineptitude. I went from having a preponderance of faith that Leach would eventually turn this around to having none. Like, zero.
This apparently seemed fairly reactionary to some people, given my general "stay the course" message. But sometimes, the evidence just reaches a point where you have to look at it all in total and say, "This just isn't adding up." Sometimes, you have to be willing to acknowledge what's in front of you and simply change your mind. Sometimes, the straw breaks the camel's back.
And I have changed my mind. If WSU was in the place I believed it would be in right now, what happened on Saturday would not have happened. The team would not have been flat, the offense would have scored more than two touchdowns, the defense would not have been gashed for 230 rushing yards.
The Cougars would have won. Handily.
That they didn't speaks volumes about where the program actually is. Mike Leach's coaching philosophy includes mantras such as "be the most excited to play" and "be the best at doing your job." Leach has had four full offseasons to instill excitement in his players, and the roster is now almost entirely filled with players he recruited to be great at their jobs.
The Cougars were not excited. They were not even close to being the best at doing their jobs. Not. Even. CLOSE. And Portland State exposed the program for what it is: Not really all that much better than what it was four years ago. I mean, not even Paul Wulff figured out a way to lose to a bad FCS team. Sure, it took a miracle to avoid it, but still -- not even Paul Wulff lost to an FCS team.
So yeah, I'm a little emotional. It hurts when you put your faith in something and it doesn't even wait like 15 minutes to give you a swift kick in the nuts. And when that happens, I think it's natural to spit some fire.
Of course, spitting fire isn't really what we're known for around here, which I suppose is why so many commenters have taken to lecturing us about our collective, overwhelmingly negative response to the game. "I'm really disappointed -- you guys are usually so level-headed."
Here's the thing, though: Being level-headed doesn't mean soft-pedaling everything. Being level headed means looking at the evidence available and coming to a totally rational conclusion.
There comes a point where the most level headed thing to do is to call a spade a spade. Sometimes, being level headed means stepping back and saying, "You know what? This is bull shit and it's not acceptable anymore." I'll even go so far as to say: If you had any reaction other than "holy crap, something is seriously, seriously wrong with our program" after Saturday, I actually question whether you have the ability to be level headed about this program. Because that is actually the rational conclusion given a 12-26 record over the course of three-plus years that now includes a loss to an FCS opponent by the best team* Mike Leach has put on the field in four seasons.
*His words, not mine.
Since this is sports, there obviously is the chance that the team can turn it around and still have what most people would consider a successful season. Weirder things happen all the time. But there is literally nothing to suggest that it's imminent.
If you're being honest, you'll admit that Saturday wasn't an abberration -- it actually fit right in with what we've seen from Leach-coached teams for three years. And that's pretty damning.
What We Liked
What Needs To Improve
Which Player Underwhelmed
Wait, I actually have an answer for this one.
Rutgers: A team that just booted five players who were arrested, that is being coached by someone under investigation by the school for improper conduct, that still managed beat a bad FCS school by 50. Said team possesses a roster full of bigger, stronger, faster athletes than the one that just beat us at home in our opener. And did I mention the game is on the road, 3,000 miles away?