Oct 5, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars nose tackle Ioane Gauta (95) and teammate Kalafitoni Pole (98) celebrate after a sack against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1: Team Reassurance
Let’s not undersell the significance of a second straight road win in another Pac-12 venue. It didn’t matter that it was USC in disarray, or an injury riddled Cal team. Quite frankly, it didn’t matter who it was or the circumstances surrounding the other team. The fact that Washington State went into another team’s place and came out victorious is all that matters, because it hasn’t happened twice in a long time.
None of these kids have been here longer than five seasons and most less than that, but I can promise you every time they have taken the field until now they’ve felt the pressure of a decade of losing. That does something to a program and it’s kids. Yes, the win in L.A. was great and felt nice for a couple weeks while the team beat down SUU and Idaho. It was after a beat-down at the hands of the Cardinal that a fork in the road was created.
A loss would have created inescapable doubt and speculation for the rest of the season, but the win creates unparalleled reassurance and confidence in the new system. If you think this new Cougar team had some swagger before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
2: Leach Is The Guy
We knew it already, I think… well, we all kinda knew that. Now it’s much more official, although there is still much work to be done on the season. I think we were all waiting to see how the Cougs would look in comparison against a conference opponent they were supposed to beat. California frankly looked like the Cougars did a year ago, while our team looked a year advanced, a year grown up. It was gratifying in a way, especially as a fan.
3: Goals In Sight, Martin The Place To Be
For the Coug faithful, this season just became a whole lot more personal. The goal of a bowl game is not just in sight, it’s staring us in the face after just half of the season. I think if you’d have asked WSU Joe fan if they’d take this record with this schedule, they’d have said “I’ll take that win total in ten games, but it won’t happen in six”.
After Cal, the bandwagon is picking up the fair-weather fans and the fans in remission. Like it or not, those fans are a necessary part of any program trying to rise from the ashes.
Martin Stadium is going to be packed and rocking for Oregon State, Utah and Arizona State. Before the season fans all over Coug Nation were grumbling about the home schedule with no “marquee” matchups and the long layoffs. Amazingly, all of those games suddenly look like good games to go to don’t they? One is on ESPN2 or ESPNU (this weekend), the other on ESPN (Halloween vs ASU).
Let the craziness begin, the Cougs are back!