I usually try and get these out on Monday so a reaction to the game feels somewhat newsworthy. I really didn't expect to have so many riders on the Gravitron this week though, so perhaps today was when I would finally find some inspiration. I've been racking my brain trying to find a new nuance that will shed a new perspective on this mind-numbing loss and what I'm starting to realize is I can't write this column because I wrote everything I'm feeling right now last year after the egg laid in Reno.
There was a South Park episode a few years ago where one of the kids heard a joke so funny, he couldn't laugh at anything ever again. His funny bone was broken (I'm old and really can't cite the plot any further than that. Hopefully it's enough). Similarly, I think my outrage-meter really busted its fuse against the Wolfpack last year and I don't really know if I feel like getting it repaired. So was I mad after an historically embarrassing performance against Portland State last week? Not really. I'm sure I made some catty remarks about the defensive coordinator wearing a visor in the pouring rain and may or may not have suggested a Geronimo book-burning party that I probably wouldn't have made in better times, but other than that: same Old Cougs. My funny bone is broken.
So if you were one of the thousands of Cougs who finally reached their breaking point on Saturday, let me run you through what was painted on the Gravitron last September and we'll see if we can make sense of it together:
1.) No reaction is incorrect at this point
If you believe the loss to Portland State was the final nail in the coffin and Moos should make the drive north to kidnap Beau Baldwin, that's a perfectly valid opinion. If you think the team will rally around how this loss made them feel and put together a respectable season, I can live with that too. We're just going to have to come to an agreement of what can now be deemed "respectable" with that Portland State score on our resume, but more on that later.
2.) Paul Wulff is not the bar
We're seeing less of this in 2015 but there are some people still relieved this isn't 2008 anymore. Stop that. Leach doesn't get the benefit of being better than the 2008 team. By the time Wulff was fired, we had moved up from being a national embarrassment to being simply a bad football team. And we're still a bad football team. This is not a feather in anyone's cap and the faster we move on from this comparison, the better.
3.) The season is probably over. But don't give up on the season.
I am not entirely sure what could happen in the coming months that would negate a loss to Portland State. Big wins are almost uniformly dwarfed by big losses. Do you remember beating USC in 2000? Of course not, because we lost to Idaho and got drilled by seven touchdowns in the Apple Cup. In 2013, do you see more people talking about beating USC or the horrific series of events that caused the New Mexico Bowl to find its way to Fort Collins rather than Pullman?
But the point is it's still technically possible to make the PSU game forgivable. Perhaps you can tell me in the comments. An Oregon/Washington/Oregon State sweep would go a long long way. Because you know what's worse than losing to an FCS team? Losing to the team that lost to the FCS team. So while it is technically possible to salvage a season wrecked in its first week, I think the odds of actually getting to see that possibility come to fruition is incredibly low. Which is probably why so many of you walked the plank Saturday afternoon and will start attending your kids' soccer games on Saturdays instead of Martin Stadium.
4.) Don't Give Up on your Season Prediction....yet
This is the tough one, but I feel it's important. I think in our season preview, I pegged this team at 4-8 and thought about drastically revising that opinion on Saturday, but now I am comfortable with it again. If you thought the team would go 6-6 a month ago, I don't see any reason for you to revise that just because of a (catastrophic) week 1 egg. I don't think Portland State has a better football team than Washington State, so while I can groan until 2020 about how dumb it is to lose to them, it shouldn't make you feel like the team isn't going to win a game all year. Read that again. Even the Gravitron doesn't think there's a 1% chance of going 0-12. If I'm wrong, I'll make Nusser eat another shoe.
I'm going to Vegas this weekend and you're damn right I will put money on the Cougs. I'm an idiot that way. But for as much wallowing as we can muster over how pathetic it is to start THIS season 0-1, this team still has an offense that should put up points. We can't possibly continue to allow blocked field goals and blocked punts in every game. I'm sure there's a challenge in there for the team that I want to ignore, but whatever. The odds are in our favor of not completely collapsing in every game going forward. It'll be interesting to see how this team responds this week and hopefully it wasn't as pathetic as my response was, where this was almost expected.
But seriously, team. Go beat Rutgers. You deserve it. And why are you reading this?