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Where does WSU’s roster stack up in the Pac-12?

The Cougs are an outlier in a good way.

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Northern Colorado v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Good morning. A couple weeks ago, we mentioned that we were breaking glass on some content that we’d been saving. Well, the end of the vault is in sight, and we’re hauling out the dusty remnants from the back shelves. Back before this pesky pandemic took hold, the folks over at Athlon published an interesting article regarding where the Washington State Cougars stand among their peers, roster-wise. Let’s have a look, shall we?

As you’d expect, WSU has been consistently punching above its weight.

Here was the - admittedly rudimentary - methodology Athlon used:

Below are the national recruiting ranking averages for Pac-12 schools over the last five (2015-20) classes according to 247Sports’ Composite Team Rankings and each team’s record over the last five (2015-19) seasons. Obviously, this doesn’t take into account attrition but, over time, this should be considered relatively even across the conference.

Now let’s break down the rankings a bit, which you can find here. WSU’s performance relative to talent is pretty remarkable. The Oregon Ducks are assessed as having the best roster in the conference, and WSU has a better record than Oregon - by three games - over the last five seasons.

The only team below the Cougs is the Oregon State Beavers, and WSU has won 21 more conference games in the five year span (29-8). WSU is tied with the Arizona Wildcats for 10th-place, yet nearly lapped them in the win column (29-15). Finally, let’s all take a moment to heartily laugh at the UCLA Bruins. Good job, good effort, fellas.

If you needed any more evidence that WSU is a pretty big outlier when it comes to roster talent versus production, the teams who rank 5-10 have a conference winning percentage of 0.426. In that same time, WSU’s winning percentage is 0.644. That is pretty incredible, and while there were definite signs that 2019 signaled a regression to the mean, those numbers suggest that WSU can remain highly competitive if Nick Rolovich and his staff are able to outperform the former staff on the recruiting front. Early returns suggest that the new guys are up to the task.


The Cover 3 Podcast is one of my favorites when it comes to college football, and they looked ahead to 2020 last week. First up? The Pac-12 North. It’s worth a listen.

Cover 3 College Football Podcast - CBS Sports Podcasts -
Topics include whether Oregon has another step ahead in 2020 after its Rose Bowl win (4:00), what Washington might look like in year one under Jimmy Lake (13:30) and whether Cal is poised to be the second-best team in the division (22:30). Plus, why we can't quit Oregon State (33:10), whether Nick Rolovich deserves "Year Zero" treatment in 2020 (43:30) and a hard look at how far Stanford has fallen from regular Pac-12 title contention (50:15).

Washington State mailbag: Revisiting fan predictions from the 2019 football season | The Spokesman-Review
While we wait for the 2020 season to start – that is, wait to hear if it will start – we figured now was as good a time as any to revisit the predictions made in August.

Breaking down the greatest single season from each Pac-12 college football team -
USC has been the most dominant program in the conference, but it's not the only program with dominant teams.

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It got lost in Joe Burrow’s amazing 2019, but Gordon obliterated the field in yards-per-game – a whopping 51 more than Burrow, who finished second.


Kyle Smith secured a hell of a commitment on Saturday. Like, really good!

Four-star center Dishon Jackson commits to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Coming off Washington State’s best season since 2011-12, Kyle Smith has added one of the top-rated prospects in program history to an already robust 2020 recruiting class.

This Week in Parenting

I’m sure many of you are missing out on planned outings and vacations, and Team Kendall is no different. Spring Break begins Monday, and instead of heading to a beach in Croatia as planned, we will spend the next week trying to hike every trail in the local area while avoiding everyone else. The bigger bummer is that the Grandparents Kendall were supposed to arrive last Thursday, spending nearly two weeks with us. As with anyone who has kids, I fully realize that my folks are coming to see their grandkids and couldn’t care less about seeing me (which is totally fine!). So here’s to all of the long-distance grandparents out there who were hoping to visit/spoil their grandchildren this spring. Hopefully the next chance comes sooner than later.

In other news, the 11 year-old has thrice-weekly Zoom sessions in pursuit of Boy Scout merit badges. We were attending one of them when he told me that he had to sit on the toilet. After a series of questions revealed that he could not wait until the session ended, we decided to cut the camera and take care of business. So there I was on Friday evening, sitting on the bathroom floor and watching a Boy Scout Zoom session while my kid sat on the toilet at a safe distance. And since we cut the camera, the leader kept pinging us to make sure the kid was still paying attention, so my job was to control the “Mute” button from the floor. What a time to be alive.

Finally - Dear U.S. Army, every other damn thing in our lives is being delayed or canceled, so maybe it’s a good idea to delay this kind of thing until the kids are back in school.

Sincerely, every parent ever.


Best beer I had this week: Thanks once again to the postal service, I tried one of my recent orders, Põhjala’s Talveöö Rum & Bourbon Barrel Aged porter. Both the bottle’s label and its contents were incredibly good.

10 of the best dessert beers across the United States
Beer for dessert has never sounded like a better idea.


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An Eastern Airlines shuttle to Boston 50 years ago started out routine. It ended up changing how America flies.

How they flattened the curve during the 1918 Spanish Flu
Social distancing isn’t a new idea—it saved thousands of American lives during the last great pandemic. Here's how it worked.