This is the latest in our series of stories previewing the 2017 Washington State Cougars football season. For previous installments, click here.
Every year I sit down and write one of these season previews with some sense of direction. These things are easier to put together when you think the team is going to win nine or ten games and WAY WAY WAY easier if you think they’ll get only three or four. Good football is easy to talk about; terrible football is incredibly easy to talk about. There’s just so little romance in "this team will probably win seven or eight games and play a team like Northwestern in the Foster Farms Bowl."
Writer’s block led me to read things I used to talk about when the Cougs were terrible, and in the very first edition of The Gravitron Diaries, we joked about UW fans grumbling over seven-win seasons when the Cougs were lucky to get three. I wondered if there would ever be a time where Coug fans would grumble about a minor bowl game. Turns out that hypothetical timeframe was three years! Here, I am presented with the idea that a team with this many Seniors might go out with another seven- or eight-win season and it annoys me. And I’m even more annoyed that a seven- or eight-win season would annoy me. We’ve become what we said we never would. And it happened so quickly.
The fun thing is that while most pundits (and Vegas) have the Cougs pegged at seven or eight wins this season, our fan contingent has predictions that cover the entire board. I have looked over these twelve games over and over and seem to come up with a different record every time I’ve mapped it out. Depending on the day, I will tell you WSU is going to beat Oregon by 50 and also lose to them by 30; I’m pretty confident about Montana State and Nevada, but losing to bad teams early is kind of WSU’s thing. I know several people who have talked themselves into beating USC on a Friday night and they make valid points! I have legitimately no idea what’s going to happen this year and I can’t wait for it to start.
So what do you think is going to happen this year? Does Luke Falk channel the Cougs of twenty years ago, and rattle off wins against Boise, Oregon, USC and UW on his way to a conference title? Or does this team more resemble the one we watched trip over chalk throughout its final three games last season? The bad news is WSU played six good teams and went 1-5 in those games. The good news is WSU still plays a bunch of awful teams again this year, too, so the floor should be pretty high. Should.
Either way, after wrapping up what may be the history of time’s longest eight months, aren’t you excited to grumble about third down conversion rates instead of watching people get dragged off airplanes, Gonzaga nearly winning a national championship, that pharma dude keeping a Wu Tang album away from the world and Twitter changing their avatar pictures to circles? If I want people to be mad at me this fall, I’d prefer it to be for playing three too many Bob Seger songs at a tailgate where I ate three too many hot dogs and toppled over a cornhole table after losing three consecutive games. We need arguments about Cougar football back in our lives so we can begin to forget how many Olive Garden restaurants simply vanished during the solar eclipse. *
(*yet to be fact checked.)
So bring on the 2017 football season. If the Cougs are merely OK, then it’s a giant step up from those times where we were thrilled when the team beat UNLV and if the Cougs are great, then the decade-plus run of garbage we endured will have been worth it. And if the Cougs lose to Montana State? Well, we already have the FIRE EVERYBODY columns written from 2015 that we can just re-post and take the week off.
I’m very excited to talk to you about Cougar football this season, even when I’m not sure what there is to talk about. Go Cougs!
Next up on Tuesday: A closer look at each offensive position group