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Introducing: The 2019 CougCenter WSU Football Preview

The season is right around the corner, and we’ve got you covered.

This is the first in our series of stories previewing the 2019 Washington State Cougars football season. For later installments, click here.

Sometimes, we don’t know how awesome something is or was until it has passed. Other times, though, we’re acutely aware of what we’re living through — complete with the proper appreciation for just how fortunate we are.

That’s where we find ourselves in this moment with the Washington State Cougars as we launch our 2019 edition of the CougCenter WSU Football Preview — a story a day from now until the season kicks off in Pullman on August 31.

Nearly everything we hoped for when Bill Moos dumped tens of millions of dollars into the program and lured Mike Leach from Key West to Pullman has come to fruition.

Never before has WSU been to bowl games in four consecutive seasons, over which time Leach has won 37 games. The only coach to win as many as 30 in a four-year span was the legendary Babe Hollingbery, who won 32 games at the onset of the great depression. Mike Price, who has a pair of Rose Bowls to his name, could only ever muster 27. His .551 winning percentage ranks second among coaches with seven or more seasons at the helm, trailing only Hollingbery.

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Washington State
The secret sauce.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

We are truly in the golden era of WSU football.

A fifth consecutive bowl game is much more likely than not, as the Cougars begin the season ranked for the second time in three seasons. That, in and of itself, is remarkable — outside of Leach’s tenure, it’s only happened two other times in WSU history (2002 and 1952).

Even more remarkable, though, is that the Cougs are ranked despite having some pretty significant questions — most notably at quarterback. Historically, the graduation of a successful QB like Gardner Minshew II has indicated a rebuild at WSU. But under Leach, the assumption is simply that whoever ends up back there will be, at worst, pretty good. (And maybe even awesome.) Even if it’s a guy who transferred in from a junior college with minimal fanfare in 2016 who has accumulated just five career passes — in mop-up duty.

The defense also has some significant holes, what with the departures of Peyton Pelluer, Jalen Thompson, and others.

But Leach’s track record at both Texas Tech and now WSU has earned him — and us! — the benefit of the doubt. Instead of seeing holes, we see a loaded wide receiver group that will send waves of talent at helpless defensive backs. We see a sophomore running back in Max Borghi who could be on a trajectory to be one of the program’s best ever. We see an offensive line with at least a couple of future NFL draft picks. We see a defensive front that will terrorize quarterbacks.

We’ll explore all of that over the next two weeks. Read along with us.

Tomorrow: A look at the Cougar defense.

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