Two hundred and forty-nine days ago, your Washington State Cougars walked off the field at the Holiday Bowl after a dismal 17-12 defeat to a team of frogs.
BUT THAT WAS THEN.
We've waited long enough. College football is back on the Palouse. Excitement is fresh. The air is warm. The beer is cold. The jerseys are new.
If you're watching on TV today, you'll likely hear a lot about how WSU is 0-5 in season openers under Mike Leach. You'll also hear a lot about how WSU has lost to an FCS team two years in a row.
It's no fun hearing that, but that's where we are. Sure, expectations are high. But when you have those scarlet letters from the last two seasons, it becomes a major talking point.
That kind of trolling will vanish with a win today. Montana State comes to town, and like the FCS teams before them, they should lose. But because of the last two openers, Coug fans are biting their nails and won't stop until WSU wins.
Luke Falk should shred the Bobcat defense. The trio of Jamal Morrow, James Williams and Gerard Wicks should rack up plenty of yardage. Tavares Martin Jr. should lead the receivers.
Hercules Mata'afa should live in the Bobcat backfield. Peyton Pelluer should clog the running lanes.
And WSU should win.
But they should have won the last two seasons against FCS teams. Yeah, I know: Eastern was a top-4 FCS team in 2016 and Portland State went to the playoffs in 2015.
The college football world made a big deal this week because it was the tenth anniversary of Appalachian State's victory over Michigan. Back then, FCS teams weren't supposed to beat FBS teams—especially FBS teams ranked fifth in the nation.
And while WSU's losses to FCS teams weren't on the same scale as Michigan's, it still stings. I saw a bunch of headlines highlighting the ten-year anniversary and I thought to myself, What's the big deal? An FCS team beat an FBS team. Let's all shrug, and move on.
That's where I'm at. An FBS team losing to an FCS team isn't shocking to me because it's happened two years in a row at WSU.
That feeling needs to vamoose. It will with a WSU win today. There are bigger games on the Cougar schedule this season (Sept. 29, anyone?). But this one has me nervous only because of the implications if we lose.
The Cougs have a lot to brag about from the past two seasons: two bowl appearances in a row, offensive records, eight- and nine-win seasons. But the losses to FCS teams are always there. It's kind of like the 2001 Seattle Mariners: they set a record for games won in a regular season, but couldn't get to the World Series (I said 'kind of'). That fact is always there.
So crack open your beverage of choice (it should be supplemented by water at certain points of the day, if you're tailgating in this heat), strap in and believe that Mike Leach and his team are about to dismantle the Bobcats.
Because if they don't, hoo-boy. Take cover.
Visit from FCS Montana State strangely unsettling for Washington State fans | The Spokesman-Review
In some ways, preparing for Jeff Choate’s Montana State Bobcats will feel like preparing for Bruce Barnum’s Portland State Vikings, or Beau Baldwin’s Eastern Washington Eagles. Portland State and Eastern Washington both started a dual-threat quarterback when they came to Pullman, and so will Choate.
Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Montana State | The Spokesman-Review
Theo Lawson’s keys to a possible WSU victory over Montana State today
Cougars a litmus test for Montana State's road forward | Montana State University | missoulian.com
The view from Big Sky Country.
Against Montana State, No. 24 WSU is determined to end its opening game losing streak | The Seattle Times
The Cougars have learned from previous mistakes. They're not going to overlook Montana State.
Players You Should be Psyched to Watch: James Williams - Armchair All-Americans
His decisiveness as a runner is RB porn and I for one love it so long as it’s not against my team.
Weaver's 69th Minute Strike Sends The Cougs Past #14 Nebraska, 1-0 - WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
The Cougar soccer team upsets Nebraska.
WSU Volleyball Sweeps Quinnipiac at Cougar Challenge - WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
The Cougs swept 0-7 Quinnipiac.
Old YouTube Clip of the Week
- It's the first game of the season, and to celebrate, let's look back at another season opener: 2005 vs. Idaho.
- Can you believe this was 12 years ago? Yes, you're old.
- I don't know who that is doing play-by-play (if someone does know, please share) but that is Mark Rypien doing color commentary, for those keeping score at home. His nephew went on to....well never mind.
- Jerome Harrison takes the first snap 80 yards for a touchdown. Heck of a way to start the season.
- The camera follows Harrison on the sideline and then focuses on him after the replay. This is a perfect opportunity to play my favorite game: 'Hey, remember that guy?'
- Let's see....there's Mkristo Bruce, DeMaundray Wooldridge, Michael Willis, an injured Thomas Ostrander, an injured Cody Boyd, Jason Hill, Memphis quarterback Arkleon Hall, Marty Martin, Somebody MaGee, and so on.
- OK, let's give Idaho a chance with the ball and see how good our 2005 defense is (it turned out to be not very good that year).
- Welp. Idaho decided to give it right back. Thanks!
- Fox Sports Northwest (RIP) puts up a graphic showing how many takeaways the Cougs had in 2003 and 2004. Holy cow—they had 48 takeaways in 2003?? Does Alex Grinch know this?
- Also, they had 29 in 2004. Isn't that supposed to equal nine wins or something, according to Grinch? They won five games that season. Someone please check Grinch's math.
- Hello, Nick Holt. I bet you didn't know he is now the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Purdue (thanks, Google).
- Harrison scores his second touchdown. We're barely two minutes in and WSU is up 14-0 and Idaho hasn't even had a possession. We're gonna kill them!
- The Cougs actually had to "hold on" and won 38-26.