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Where does Washington State’s football program stand?

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One prominent college football writer hasn’t seen enough from WSU under Mike Leach

Washington v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Washington State’s football program is clearly in better shape today than it was five years ago, but how far has it risen on the national scale? Stewart Mandel, of Sports Illustrated, released his “pecking order” of the 66 power five and independent football programs and had WSU in the last grouping.

Mandel puts each program into one of four tiers, from most prestigious to least: kings, barons, knights and peasants. The Cougs were among the peasants just like they were when the rankings were previously updated in 2012. Only in 2007, when Mandel first wrote the column, was WSU a knight of college football, and we all know what happened after that.

While the last two seasons have seen significant improvement from the Cougars, I struggle to disagree with the assessment. The program is just three years removed from a dreadful 3-9 season, and that’s without looking at the Wulff era. Are two good years really enough to elevate the program?

Mike Leach’s recruiting has been an improvement over the previous regime, but his classes haven’t stood out in the rankings compared to other power five schools. Mandel stresses that these rankings reflect the long term standing of programs, and with that condition I have to agree with his ranking.

What do you think about where WSU is slotted? Are any other teams misplaced?

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Football:

College football program pecking order 3.0: Dividing all 66 BCS teams into four-tier hierarchy | FOX Sports
It's been 10 years since Stewart Mandel's original "Program Pecking Order," ranking all the major programs.

Baseball:

Cougars Drop Series-Opener to No. 8 Stanford. - WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
Washington State dropped the series-opener with No. 8 Stanford 13-2 at Bailey-Brayton Field Thursday evening.

No. 9 baseball wraps up regular season at Washington State | Stanford Daily
This series will finish out the regular season, which will be the last for head coach Mark Marquess.

Track & Field:

Brock Eager Punches Ticket to NCAA T&F Championships - WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
Washington State's Brock Eager became the first Cougar to qualify and advance to the NCAA Championships during the first day of the NCAA West Region Preliminary Rounds.