Losing Faith In Wulff And The Cougs

I don’t know what to say about the Cougs anymore. I know this – we were as bad as the weather on Saturday. Weird to see rain like that in San Francisco. I’d like to say it was weird to see the Cougs play like that, but it wasn’t; heck, we’ve seen those kinds of games a lot in the last four years.

The highlight for me was when we went for a field goal trailing 30-0. I really, really enjoyed that coaching decision. Yeah, baby, let’s put three on the board to make the score more respectable. And then when we whiffed on the field goal, that was just perfect.

So here we are, needing to win our last three games to make it to the lowest-rent bowl game out there. As if that’s going to happen. Yep, we’re going to beat Arizona State this Saturday, Utah next Saturday and Washington on Nov. 26. We’re already double-digit underdogs to ASU; we’ll probably be 7 or 8-point underdogs to Utah, and surely the Dawgs will be 14-point favorites to beat us too.

No sense covering up my frustration or sugar-coating this crap anymore – we pretty much suck, and if that effort against Cal didn’t confirm it, I don’t know what will. In fact, if you’re still at the point where you don’t think we suck, you must be Jim Walden.

We’re 3-6, which is pretty good for us when you think about it, in comparison to the last three seasons. Even if we lose the rest of our games, we’ll still have a better record than last year’s team that finished 2-10.

But come on, we could just as easily be 0-9 if we had played anyone but Idaho State and UNLV in non-conference games to open the season and if we hadn’t gotten extremely lucky in Colorado when the Buffs’ DBs let Marquess Wilson get behind them.

Plus make no mistake – Idaho State, UNL and Colorado are three of the worst teams in the country. And to continue this cynical take on the Cougs – those three teams must be bad if we can beat them.

The hell of it is, I’m still pulling for Paul Wulff. I think everyone is. You pull for fellow Cougs. You pull for a guy who will stay at WSU and not look for greener pastures. You pull for a guy who has suffered through two personal tragedies.

But Christ almighty, I can’t take being a laughingstock anymore. I know it’s just football and doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things, but I’d still like to see us win more often than we do if that’s all right with everyone.

I think we can all agree that in terms of Wulff keeping his job, it’s the bottom of the ninth and he’s in the batter’s box with two outs and an 0-2 count, trailing 13-2 with no one on base. The St. Louis Cardinals proved that anything’s possible, but at this point, it’s easy to assume that Wulff will be fired after the Apple Cup.

That said, I’ll still be in the stands at Martin Stadium Saturday night, no doubt freezing my ass off, hoping that Wulff and the Cougs will stage the most memorable rally in school history. He’s got one strike left – here’s to hoping that Wulff swings as hard as he can just in case he connects.

Dammit, Go Cougs!


  1. As a fellow Coug alum, I’ve seen better days. If the coaches are really coaching their butts off and the players go out and stink up the place, whose fault is it? One would say the players, but
    as we all know, the buck stops with the coach. I’m losing faith too. We need to make a change.
    I like Wulff too, but he’s paid to win, and he’s not getting it done.

  2. Dan Schuler /

    I’m a Husky fan, and have been all my life. That being said, your article made even me feel a little sad for Couger Nation. Loved the article and sorry for laughing out loud while reading it. Lets face it– it’s time for you to write a book chronicalling the last four years being a Coug fan. I’d buy it!! Great stuff, Jim. Thx for the article. –Dan

  3. I’m a born and raised Oregonian; from a Duck family, but I’m not a Duck. Living in Eugene for a year cured me of that. In any case, imagine what it was like to come of age in Oregon during the ’80s. Not a good decade for D1 football fans at home. The Cougs do suck. They’re horrible. And they need to dump Wulff and get started at rebuilding. I hate the Huskies more than Satan. I always have. So it’s troublesome to make this observation. But look what happens when a school takes out the trash (Neuheisel, Hedges, Willingham, Emmert) and gets serious about rebuilding its program. Sarkisian was the right hire. Thank God the Huskies aren’t really that good yet. I’ll get a few more years to enjoy their misfortune. But 6-3 is a damn sight better than they’ve been in a long time. Washington State can do it too. They just need someone with the drive and ability to make it happen.

    • JR: Well, here’s what I’m hoping for…a Husky loss to USC so they fall to 6-4. then the Dawgs lose in Corvallis. it’s possible with it being a road game and Mike Riley being the Beavers’ coach. then they’re 6-5. and if God’s willing – and I don’t know why He wouldn’t be – the Dawgs lose to the Cougs in the Apple Cup, dropping them to 6-6. Then they’d have to put on fake smiles to accept the invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to play Toledo or some other low-rent 6-6 team. thanks for stopping by the website.

  4. Big Coug /

    You got a way with words my friend. Like you, I always pull for any Coug, anytime, anywhere. I have had my heart broken by my beloved Cougs for decades in dozens, no hundreds of games. I come back like a loyal old dog. Did I say dog? scratch that. Did I say scratch that? Anyhow my passion for all things Coug, runs deep and my wish for a better game, season or Apple Cup is eternal.
    That said, CPW is at the end of his leash and it is time to set Coach Coug free. I am going to miss Paul Wluff the person and Coug, but not the coach. No more 100 yard run backs by the other team. No more wide open receivers for the other team. No more .08 yards per carry by us. No more field goals by us when down by thirty. A new coach (even the old duck coach) will give us something that I have not really had in a long time….Hope. Peace

  5. Big Coug: Thanks for the compliment, greatly appreciate that, but your last sentence put it better than I ever could have. It’s been some time since we had hope. You summed it up perfectly. Thanks. Go Cougs. Jim.

  6. Andy '70 /

    I was at the game and said out loud that if I wanted rain like that I’d live in Seattle. I have been a strong backer of Wolf’s approach to the rebuilding project. My measure is whether these young men are a credit to the university. And for the most part they are. (As an aside Jimbo, wouldn’t you just quake in your boots if the g2girl brought Karstetter home for a visit?)

    I admit to being severely disapointed in the outcome, but then, didn’t the Dawgfather say that’s the whole point of going to Wazzu?

    After watching the game on the DVR, it’s not the effort, so much as the coaching that now has my attention. The play-calling was painfully predictable and the defense was just plain vanilla.

    I’ve reached the point where I’m not sure the coordintators are D-1 caliber. Course when you factor in that these are PW’s guys, that does raise the spector that just maybe he isn’t D-1 caliber either.

    However, let’s put this in perspective — we just celebrated the 500th win in cougar football this year, after more than a century of play. Doesn’t this average out to about 5 wins +/- per year?

    Truth be told, we have a history of mediocracy. Doesn’t mean we can’t strive for better, but it does mean that we have to go about it with a bit more patience. Otherwise, we just have to accept that the Dawgfather was right.

    All that having been said, I still want to give PW the benefit of the doubt, give him the last year on his contract, maybe suggest an upgrade at the coordiantor level, and hope for the best.

    Go Cougs!

    • Andy, I know for a fact that my daughter thinks Karstetter’s hot. I don’t care if he’s hot or not, I just want him to catch the ball every time it comes his way. Another tough year. Hard to keep the faith. And yet we do. Go Cougs. Jim.

  7. I too really want Paul Wulff to succeed, but what he’s trying to do with this team … well, Im not seeing it. There is a line from the movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales that comes to mind when I listen to Wulf talk about the losses and his job.

    “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining!”

    I know, the cupboard was bare, the cupboard was bare … if I had a nickel every time I heard that phrase. How long does it take to buy groceries? We are nearly four years away from Old Mother Hubbord and we still don’t have a bone (3-30 in conference – and the 2008 Apple Cup was won with the last of the Doba fries). I suppose I am cranky because I am so damn hungry for a win–no starving.

    • el cougarino /

      I’m getting a little pissed too…. Tired of listening to the Coaches Show on Tuesday nights and hearing about how Wulff has been deprived his quarterback all year, how the cupboard was bare, no scholorships, etc….

      Your team is not executing!!! There’s no energy… Nothing.. Thank’s Paul, but bye…..

    • Hal: Funny stuff, thanks for the chuckle. I’m with you on the cupboard thing. Go Cougs. It’s four years into it now. Pathetic effort at Cal. I really don’t know what to say anymore. Other than Go Cougs. Have a good day. Jim.

  8. How is the new go-to-dog taking another lost season?
    One positive this season – I did not go move onto WSU baskeball until the 9th game of the season

    • honoring steve gleason, that will be great. my heart goes out to him and his family. a friend of mine had ALS and it was tough for him, his family, his friends, everyone. i’ll be there on saturday with my dog at the tailgate party. his tail will be wagging win or lose. go cougs.

  9. WSU is honoring Steve Gleason at Staurday’s ASU Game. WSU has set up Team Gleason for donations…

  10. Mooreshots /

    Andy 70

    Well said. I think realistically the Cougs should have a ‘really good team’ every 3-4 years or so. The 10 win seasons we experienced is not something that will happen year after year. I think some of the Cougs just don’t see the challenges our school faces regarding recruiting. Mike Price took chances on kids, some of them worked out, some didn’t. Paul Wulff is recruiting quality kids. We just don’t have the athletes yet. All it takes is a few kids to have a bad game and it spells disaster. We just don’t have the depth. Give him another year, or bring in some hotshot and then we can talk about how they were ‘Wulff’s recruits’. You know it will happen.

    Go Cougs!

  11. Jim,
    You hit it on the head with this column. Cougs have not been ready to play the last 2 games that they really had a chance to win, Oregon St. and Cal. How can you not have your team ready to play when there is so much on the line?

  12. I have supported Coach Paul Wulff from the beginning, as he inherited Mission Impossible after the Doba Debacle. Both these men are Cougars whose blood pumps Crimson, but the data is in and neither were Head Coaching material.

    Saturdays game shows that this team is regressing back into boneheaded penalities, lack of effort, little or no mental preparation, and really bad excuses as to why this is happening. Yet Coach Paul Wulff is to be commended for changing the prevailing culture, jettisonong the bad seeds, raising the academic standards, and recruiting some PAC-12 talent, especially at the skill positions.

    WAZZU is and always will be the smallest market in the PAC-12. They will always have the smallest Athletic Department budget and will have to make do with antiquated Facilities.
    Did anyone else notice what USC, U Dub, and Cal are doing to their Stadiums with > $250M renovations, while WAZZU struggles to gain approval/financing to accomplish a < $80M merely to bring things into the 21st Century with a new press box/premium seating and a team training facility?

    While paying Wulff $600K/year (by far one of the lowest salaries in the BCS) and receiving 8 wins in 4 years, that averages out to $300k/win, not a very good return on investment. You get what you pay for, eh? Enough is enough. With the PAC-12 TV money rolling in next year, the time for change has come. We must come up with the dollars to pay the prevailing wage and get on with regaining some semblance of Cougar football being played a mere ten years ago.

    These disparities are the stark reality of where we find ourselves in the overall BCS scheme of things, yet I believe there is a Coach out there who is hungry enough to take on this challenge (Mike Bellotti anyone?).

    In Bill We Trust.

    Go Cougs!

  13. Paul was The Choice when we picked him up. He had it all…built winners at Eastern, local guy makes good, great Coug career, all of it. I’m a big supporter. Now, I think over a beer he might think hey, I didn’t know what I was getting in to, this is a different level of ball. First year, no conditioning, big time injuries. Next year, low talent, some really poor mistakes on the field. Last year bad luck and trouble, but a stronf finish. Each year a learning experience. This year, a Division 2 squib kick at Colorado that nearly cost us that one, some mistakes at UCLA that cost us that one, and now there’s not much evidence the guys are showing up ready to play for 60 minutes.

    I’m with you, I’d like to honor that 5 year contract for all the reasons we hired Paul for in the first place, besides, he’s a Coug, and we’re nothing if not loyal. I’ll even settle if we’re not winning. But Paul, I’m really not happy we’re not showing up. We gotta show up. When we step off the field and sing the fight song, somebody on the other side of the ball has to know they were in a game with some tough, tough guys.

    Great column, Jim.

  14. YIKinSD /

    I’m a Coug from Seattle (now living in San Diego) and have always loved your fusky sentiments (the only reasons I looked at the old PI). I’m not sure what happened at Cal except it was another gut wrencher, not because it was a close loss, but because I’m a diehard and had to watch the whole thing. I actually believe that if we had Tuel this whole year we’d be 5-4 now and just a win away from a bowl. While the lobster has made some big plays, he’s not a playmaker and his limited mobility and accuracy has killed too many drives. I’m hoping (dying) for 3 wins and a bowl game, but without the quarterback I believe has a future on Sundays it looks pretty bleak. Does PW deserve another shot? Only if we can show some heart instead of the red carpet for the last three (especially a fusky beatdown).


  15. Kelven /

    Why has nobody mentioned Wilson’s body language? Jesus, one overthrown ball and the guy mopes around the field until the fourth quarter when he makes an ESPN top 10 catch. Hey buddy, make the routine catches and run sharp routes every play.

    Anyway Jim, I’m going to go freeze my ass off this weekend in God’s Country also. My buddy got sideline passes, so I’m excited for that experience. Hopefully we pull off the upset and storm the field for beating a top 100 team, but probably not. At least we’ll have fun tailgating in the RV lot!
    Go Cougs.

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