Washington State’s first season under head coach Nick Rolovich has been anything but normal.
Since the time Rolovich was hired in January, the Cougs have had spring football canceled, the regular season canceled and then un-canceled, a game canceled while they were traveling to it, and another game canceled while they were warming up.
It’s been a long a strange road for the Cougars this season and it (hopefully) continues this Saturday against Utah. And, according to Rolovich, that road likely ends this Saturday in Salt Lake City too.
A win would take the team to 2-2, meeting the Pac-12’s requirement of being at or above .500 to qualify for a bowl game. But even if they’re offered a spot in a bowl, Rolovich says the Cougs are unlikely to accept.
“I think this will be it,” Rolovich told the media on Tuesday, referring to Saturday’s Utah game. “I think it’s been incredibly hard on these guys. The uncertainty of what’s going to hit next, who’s going to hit what team...”
“Getting pulled off the field against Cal, getting pulled off the bus at Stanford, it doesn’t help the confidence of sticking around for Christmas and seeing what’s out there. It’s just a different world.”
Rolovich went on to add that he is proud of his team for rolling with the punches since the pandemic made its presence felt in March.
“This is completely abnormal for them and they continue to battle through and represent the Cougs as best they can. And, you know, bowl games aren’t bowl games, they’re just another away game, it looks like. All I can say is I appreciate the guys that made it through and I think they’ll be better leaders because of this year, it was incredibly hard. I think they’ll be better future leaders of this world and their families because of the adversity they faced this year.”
WSU defensive back George Hicks told the media that he agrees with the decision. He said that while the team has scarified to play any season at all, there are more important things than getting the chance to play in a bowl game.
“It’s been a long season,” Hicks said in Tuesday’s press conference, “we’ve been here since June just working. We’ve been away from our families and we’ve only played four games. We’ve had a lot of games canceled and a lot of things have hit us. I think the biggest thing with coach Rolo and a lot of other guys in the building is, what if we continue on practicing and continue going on and it gets canceled because of COVID from one of the two teams? It’s not something, like, we’re all disappointed in. We’ll be back next year, we’ll be in a bowl game. Different situations, different scenarios.”
The senior defensive back also added that he is planning to return next season, taking advantage of the NCAA ruling that the 2020 season does not use a year of eligibility for fall athletes. According to Theo Lawson of the Spokesman Review, Hicks is the third senior to publicly announce that he intends to return for another season in 2021.
'It's been incredibly hard.' Nick Rolovich says Washington State would decline hypothetical bowl invite | The Spokesman-Review
There’s a good chance a handful of Washington State football players will escape the cold of Pullman for warm-weather locales like California, Arizona or Texas next week.
Today marks early signing day in college football. The Cougs are expecting around 17 players to send in their national letters of intent. In fact, thanks to time zones, the Cougs already received their first NLI yesterday.
#NationalSigningDay is here, down under!— Washington State Football (@WSUCougarFB) December 15, 2020
Welcome to the Cougar Family, @haberer_nick
BIO | https://t.co/5Jf8W5nsGE#GoCougs | #LetsRoll pic.twitter.com/CSNShQdyxQ
The WSU radio team is hosting a live stream later this morning to break down the recruits as they become official. That event will start at 9 a.m. on Facebook live.
Tomorrow is #NationalSigningDay ‼️— Washington State Football (@WSUCougarFB) December 16, 2020
Head over to Facebook tomorrow morning as @M_Chaz, @AlexBrink10 and @JessamynMcIntyr break down the Class of 2021!
: https://t.co/hq2VNE9dZz #GoCougs | #LetsRoll pic.twitter.com/WuLGxtBcI3
Live updates: Washington State opens signing period with early NLI from Aussie punter | The Spokesman-Review
The 2021 recruiting cycle has come with unprecedented obstacles for college football programs all over the country. For most, the weight of those obstacles will be lifted on Wednesday – at least to some extent – when high school and junior college prospects are allowed to sign letters of intent as part of the early signing period.
On eve of early signing period, Washington State receives commitment from ex-Baylor pledge Sam Carrell | The Spokesman-Review
It often goes one of two ways for college football programs the day before the early signing period.