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What’s *really* behind WSU football’s freefall?

It might have something to do with the athletic department’s state of conference affiliation limbo.

Jake Dickert has a proper mess on his hands.
Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Hello, everyone. Been a long time, yeah?

Maybe you liked it better that way! We don’t actually know.

What we do know is that this is our 200th episode, and since this is where it all started, we thought you might want to listen. It’s a true Podcast Vs. Everyone episode that will remind you of the early days, if you were around back then.

Talking to each other about the current state of WSU sports is both terrible and great. Terrible for obvious reasons. Great in that we have each other to vent to.

For real though ... how on earth did things get this bad?

From ranked No. 13 in the AP poll to the wrong end of a four-game skid that threatens bowl eligibility, things are very bad with WSU’s football team. And when we look around Pullman, things aren’t much better — volleyball has dropped three of four in a fashion that we didn’t even imagine was possible, and soccer has just one win in its last six.

In the last two weeks, the Big Three fall sports have combined for one win — ONE! — in 10 combined games.

It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder if maybe the problems run deeper than the things that normally plague college teams. Like … maybe it has something to do with the state (or lack thereof) of the Cougs’ conference affiliation going forward?

Consider this letter from Kirk Schulz for WSU Magazine, published online this week:

We already know a few things. We are not going to spend the same amount of money on athletics that we have for the last decade. We will still be competitive, but it’ll be different than when we had the smallest athletic budget in a Power Five conference.

But I want to remind Coug fans that we’ll still have Division I athletics. We’ll still compete for championships and have football Saturdays. We’ll still show up every day on the court and in the classroom. The opponents will be different, and even if we don’t know the future of the Apple Cup, the resolute Cougar spirit hopefully will only grow stronger.

We will need people to continue to be supportive. And I don’t mean just financially; keep attending events and watch parties. I appreciate everybody who cheers on our excellent volleyball, soccer, football, baseball, and all teams. We shouldn’t stop just because we may be playing new schools.

“We’ll still have Division I athletics” and “we’ll still … have football Saturdays”?? What in the fresh heck is that? That’s like the lowest bar. And when you say — out loud — that you’re not going to spend the same amount of money, the coaches hear that. The players hear that. And we’re guessing this isn’t the first time they’re hearing it.

Could it have something to do with all these teams’ nosedives? We (unfortunately) discuss — and maybe you’d like to listen in?

Other topics of discussion:

  • Football: Recapping ASU and previewing Stanford. How on earth are the Cougs double-digit favorites over anyone in the conference at this point?
  • Beer: Jeff — Hearts & Bines (Varietal); Craig — Juicy Bits (Weldworks).
  • Basketball! The women and men each tip off their seasons on Monday. What’s in store?

Podcast music by Randy England. You can find more of his work on Instagram.

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