The 2018 season felt like something of a dream for Washington State Cougars fans.
With a new, unknown quarterback at the helm and host of upheaval behind the scenes, many fans entered the campaign with tempered expectations. The Cougs, of course, went on to win 11 games — including the Alamo Bowl — behind their mustachioed hero, Gardner Minshew.
We seem to have reached the stage that Mike Leach always reaches: Reloading, rather than rebuilding. If 2018 — with all the challenges faced heading into the season — didn’t go off the rails, it’s hard to imagine any season under Leach going that direction.
And 2019 provides plenty of reason for optimism. The offense is once again full of playmakers, no matter who ends up as the starting quarterback. The defense should once again be led by a deep unit up front that will get after the quarterback, and while there are questions in the secondary, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys made himself look like something of a wizard last season, his first taking over for Alex Grinch.
The Cougs are now running on four consecutive bowl appearances, a program record. Is a fifth in the offing? All signs point to “yes.”