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WSU vs. ASU: The day after destruction

A different game, but an all too familiar result.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Get excited, they told us.

Ten straight bowls, they told us.

One of the best offenses in the country, they told us.

WSU fans were sold on a lot of things when Mike Leach was hired. By the athletic department, by Texas Tech fans, by ourselves. So far, not many of those initial promises have come true. Coming off Thursday's 55-21 loss to Arizona State, WSU now has more 24+ point losses (8) in the Leach era than it has wins (7).

Now, to be clear, I'm not putting all of the blame on Leach for last night's result, or even a number of the issues. He inherited a kitchen from a guy who walked in and saw an oil fire and threw water on it. We knew Leach had a mess to clean up. Most didn't expect 10-win seasons overnight, but we did expect him to put that fire out. Now 21 games into the Leach era and coming off another embarrassing loss, it's still a question of whether he's done that. WSU was outcoached on Thursday and turned in subpar performances in all three phases of the game. You'd be hard pressed to find an area where the Cougars outplayed the Sun Devils.

The common response is Leach needs time. I agree entirely and do not think his seat should be or is warm at all. Still, it would be nice to see some progress along the way. If WSU is supposed to make a big jump in Year 3, are the Cougars suddenly going to go from getting blown out to beating teams like ASU and Oregon State? It's not like this was a loss to Stanford or Oregon, teams who have been rolling for years. Like Leach, Todd Graham is in his second year. He undoubtedly inherited a better situation than Leach did, but the Sun Devils shouldn't be 34-points more talented than the Cougars.

Last season, the Sun Devils signed the No. 30 recruiting class according to Scout. WSU's class was No. 38. In 2012, Graham brought in the No. 43 class, Leach the No. 50 class. In 2010, ASU signed the No. 64 class with WSU actually having the higher ranked class at No. 57. The Cougars have been forced to play more youth than the Sun Devils, but if it's unrealistic for them to put up a fight against ASU, or Oregon State, or Oregon, or Stanford, or Washington, or Arizona, etc. Who the hell are we going to beat? You pay a coach $600,000 and you should expect $600,000 worth of results. If you pay a coach $2.25 million, it's alright to be upset when you still get $600,000 worth of results, even in Year 2.

Here is part of what I wrote the morning after the BYU loss last season:

Mike Leach wasn't brought in to win one game, he was hired to build a perennial contender and go to bowl games. He can still do that regardless of last night's outcome. This team is going to get better. Leach is still going to lead WSU to where Bill Moos and everyone else thought he could, it's just not going to happen overnight. That part is painfully obvious thanks to that 30-6 whipping.

Even through the issues over the last season and a half, I still believe that. I think Leach and his coach staff can bring in the players they need, can coach them up, can put them in positions to excel and can win games like last night's against ASU. That opinion, however, is based almost entirely on blind faith and after 21 games and more than $4 million in salary I'd like to have a little more to go on than that.


Washington State routed by No. 25 Arizona State 55-21 as Taylor Kelly accounts for 7 TDs | Fox News
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday was pretty sure why his team lost 55-21 to No. 25 Arizona State on Thursday night. "We didn't block very well," Halliday said. "We didn't throw the ball very well. We didn't catch very well, and we didn't run very well.

It’s Fright Night at Martin Stadium - - Nov. 1, 2013
The cold weather and costumed crowd did little to stifle the Arizona State football team, which looked right at home on Halloween night in a 55-21 dismantling of Washington State in Martin Stadium.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham favors facing pass-happy opponents
Leading up to Thursday’s game against Washington State, Todd Graham made it clear: The Arizona State coach rather would game plan against a pass-happy offense than one that tries to run the ball down a defense’s throat.

Former WSU standout Hamza Abdullah blasts NFL - - Oct. 31, 2013
Former Washington State University and Arizona Cardinals defensive back Hamza Abdullah took to Twitter on Thursday to blast the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for not doing enough to ensure players’ well-being.

ASU's Taylor Kelly has seven touchdowns in rout of Washington State -
Taylor Kelly threw five touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as No. 25 Arizona State beat Washington State, 55-21, on Thursday night.

Arizona State drubs WSU 55-21 - - Oct. 31, 2013
The cold weather and costumed crowd did little to stifle the Arizona State football team, which looked right at home on Halloween night in a 55-21 dismantling of Washington State in Martin Stadium.

ASU Football Rapid Reaction: ASU Avoids 2011 Fate, Stomps Washington State - TC Arizona Sports
The Arizona State Sun Devils took care of business Thursday night in Pullman, as they should have. In a dominating effort, ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly had a total of seven touchdowns to lead the Sun Devils to a 55-21 rout of the Washington State Cougars.

Cougars lose 55-21 to Arizona State on national TV | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times
Mike Leach is a guy who has occasionally expressed his fondness for pirate culture. So it would figure that he would also have a fascination for things like goblins, cobwebs and faces with three eyes and droopy jowls.

NCAA College Football Recap - Arizona State Sun Devils at Washington State Cougars - Oct 31, 2013 -
Arizona State has qualified for a bowl. Todd Graham has much bigger plans.


Motum gone, Washington State looks to defense | Seattle
Two-time Pac-12 leading scorer Brock Motum may be gone to graduation but that has Washington State coach Ken Bone looking to shore up his defense.