Oct 31, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) throws a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State Hot Topics: Rose Bowl Talk, Crimson End Zones and Black Unis?

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We’re in the heat of the dead period for college football, which means Pac-12 recruiting battles are waging heavy and opinions are flying about Washington State football, so I’m here this morning to talk some Coug-hot topics.

Rose Bowl Talk

I find it interesting that while Mike Leach publicly talks about just “steadily improving” everybody else around the program talks about wanting to compete to win the Pac-12. Two thoughts enter my mind every time I see/hear it; first, it doesn’t matter who doesn’t believe it, the Cougs themselves are talking it up enough to believe it themselves, which can be powerful.

Secondly, the recruits are all (and I mean every single one) talking about how they know the Cougars want to compete for Pac-12 North championships. There is a very consistent message going out and the recruits are buying in to the message before even getting a chance to see the campus.

Leach is not messing around and those that are thinking it will be another four or five years for him to get the Cougs back to the top are sorely mistaken. The 2014 team may or may not be good enough to compete in this fashion, but the only thing that’s for sure is that they believe they are. How many times have we heard these seniors talk about making a Rose Bowl since Leach’s arrival? Last time that was the case, there were some pretty good teams overachieving in Pullman.

WSU Branding Everywhere

Sept. 8, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars football helmet sits during a game against the Eastern Washington Eagles during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars would go onto win by a final score of 24-20. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

If you don’t know by now, Bill Moos knows how to make a place popular regardless of where it is on the map. I made the comment the other day to my brother that the WSU logo is almost as prominent as the “O” at Oregon. Honestly, nobody knew where Autzen Stadium was until Moos took over and branded that “O” onto everything Duck-related. WSU is also benefiting from his relentless pursuit at branding his college’s logo onto everything.

It has always been the best logo in college sports, but now people will see it more than once per season. This helps in recruiting, building a fan-base and just general national perception. When people think Washington State athletics, they will start associating it with a major college instead of “Washington’s little brother”, and that’s a huge thing. Winning is a big part too, but the other part is people not being surprised when you do it.

The other thing I find interesting is that Coug-football is getting more national attention than Washington (it’s not just me right?), which is a pretty big deal. I’m not exactly sure why I have that perception right now, but I think the Cougs are known as a program on the rise while the Huskies are an unknown commodity with Petersen taking over. Basketball plays into that too. Ernie Kent will attract more attention for bringing the Cougs up this next season than another underachieving Husky team under Lorenzo Romar, for example.

Crimson End Zones

It’s not speculation, Moos has confirmed twice earlier this Spring that crimson end zones are on their way to Martin. The OPS building budget included pricing for them and the only reason WSU didn’t put them in last season was because they would have had to pay for them twice. Apparently the price is outrageous for the special paint necessary so the combination of the installation of the new building making it necessary to change the field’s end zone dynamics and a whole new turf being laid down on the field this upcoming season just didn’t make it viable to buy the paint twice.

They’re coming. A preview is below if you haven’t seen what Rogers Field (WSU’s practice field) is looking like recently.

Black Jerseys

Saw this debate the other day (again) and I can’t for the life of me figure out what people are thinking when they get excited for black jerseys at Washington State. The Cougs have a distinct look, but beyond that they have their own version of black (anthracite). Call it the ‘new’ black, if you want.

If you’re thinking of more cool, dark jersey ideas for the Cougs that Bill Moos might go for, let’s talk about adding gray or white lettering, numbering and piping to the anthracite, or adding the anthracite helmet that we were shown when Nike introduced the current jerseys. While the crimson outlines make for a sick dark-on-dark combo on the field, the older Coug generation would appreciate a lighter version of numbers/letters on that anthracite jersey. I don’t want the Anthracite/Crimson combo to go though, just an addition.

At any rate the Cougs are setting their own standard by not going black. If WSU ultimately did do a version of black in the future I can’t imagine not loving it, but it’s not necessary.

With a new attitude thanks to this coaching staff, a new field and a bunch of new facilities thanks to Moos, and in my opinion some of the classiest, best looking uniforms in the country, the Cougs are set to compete sooner than you realize and for a long time to come.

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