That's Joseph Fauria scoring a touchdown at Stanford Stadium. This is what happens when you get the ball to one of your best players near the end zone. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The last time I wrote a Pregame Guesses: Washington State Edition was November 2009.
We were 4-5 at the time with games left against the Cougars, Arizona State and USC. I wrote how "Neusheisel was in a good mood" during a radio interview, confident that we were going to win two of our last three and go to a bowl game.
We did, we beat WSU and ASU, lost to SC and then won the Eagle Bank Bowl. For the record, we may soon look back on this stretch of games as the high water mark of the Rick Neuheisel era.
There is something else interesting about the last WSPG. I wrote:
(Speaking of the future, I want to go on record right now with a semi-prediction: We are going to have a very good record in the PAC 10 next season. You know, I've already seen some prognostications that next year is another rebuilding year and that "our year" doesn't come until 2011. Most of that is based on a murderous non-conference schedule that includes trips to Kansas State and Texas and a home game with Houston. And, yes, I've heard the rumor that UCLA might drop one of those games to play TCU in Cowboys Stadium, but TCU is in the Top Ten right now so that's no easy game. My point is, even though UCLA plays a difficult non-conference schedule next season and could even lose all three, we are going to go 6-3 or better in conference. It's going to be a very Terry Donahue like final record, where we have a fair to worse non-conference schedule, but get on a roll and become a very dangerous team by year's end. I'm serious and if it happens, I'll be linking to this post all next season. If it doesn't I'll "accidentally" delete it or just edit out this paragraph. But, I digress ... )
Looking at it now, that paragraph is pathetic. We didn't get on a roll and become a dangerous team by year's end. We didn't finish 6-3 or better in conference. No, we finished 2-7. (Ironically, I guess, we did beat Texas on the road. The season became so ugly I killed the Pregame Guesses because they were becoming maudlin -- that's why there is no 2010 Washington State Cougars Edition to look back on.
Weil twenty-three months later things are a little different. Rick Neuheisel is no longer in a good mood. He no longer needs to beat Washington State to get bowl eligible, he likely needs to beat Washington State to keep his job. And I'm not predicting big things for next season. Take a look, I actually wrote in the 2009 post that 6-6 would be a sign of progress and a stepping stone towards the future. (That whole post is crazy in retrospect. Look at that paragraph above. 2011 was supposed to be "our year." LOL. Check that. ROFLMAO.)
Well, I won't be killing the Pregame Guesses column this year. In less than two years I've gone from optimistic to maudlin to resigned. But we'll keep this going, if nothing else as an emotional record of the Rick Neuheisel era.
As for the game tomorrow, we're 3.5 point favorites at home against the Cougars. Which must depress the hell out of Washington State. On the other hand, we were 17.5 point favorites against the Cougars last time we played them. And that two touchdown Vegas swing depresses the hell out of me.
With that, here are your Pregame Guesses, Washington State Edition:
- Derrick Coleman is close to supplanting Jonathan Franklin as our go-to back. Who will lead the Bruins in rushing this week?
- How many touchdown passes will Richard Brehaut throw this week?
- In what seems like a metaphor for our entire season, former soccer manager Tyler Gonzalez is now our field goal kicker. How many points will Tyler score tomorrow?