This is the 10th game in a 12-game season. We have some thoughts on the first nine and what might happen today, so read on.
• As the Cougars prepare for the game with California today in Martin Stadium, a place that will probably less than half full, we contemplate the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind. How important are these last three games to the future of the program? More specifically, Paul Wulff’s future tenure in Pullman? You know, that’s hard to gauge. I hear people say all the time that it doesn’t matter if Bill Moos is in Wulff’s corner. President Elson S. Floyd isn’t and he wants a change made. Really? So you hire a guy in spring (Moos), give him more money than any AD in the school’s history, more money than most deans in the school, and, nine months later, tell him how to handle the most important decision in the athletic department? Seems like a pretty poor management move to me. Of course, I’ve lived through some pretty poor management decisions myself – and made some in a different life – so any decision made by the pointy-haired folk shouldn’t be a surprise (and yes, that was a Dilbert reference that was fresh in 1998). But to get back to the original point, how important are these last three games? As I see it, the only way to judge is to look back at previous nine games this season, which allows me to forget the 2008 and 2009 season. Of the games this season, the effort and play could be termed disappointing in three – Oklahoma State, Montana State and Arizona State. The effort and play was satisfactory in three – Oregon, Stanford and Arizona. And the other three, USC, UCLA and SMU? The effort was satisfactory but the play disappointing. The one thing WSU needs to avoid over the final fourth of the season is a repeat of the ASU fiasco. If the Cougars put together three of the Oregon model, they have shot to win two games. If they put together three of the UCLA model, only the Apple Cup seems in play. Which, in a long, roundabout way, gets me to my point. Watch the effort from here on out. There are so many injuries right now, winning is going to be problematic - now that I’ve written that, watch the Cougars pull an upset today. But an Arizona-type effort, even if plays aren’t made because the right players aren’t on the field to make them, shows the team is still excited about building for the future. And, as far as I can read the tea leaves, is what Moos wants to see. If the pressure of empty seats – and I understand plenty of good seats are still available to the Apple Cup – doesn’t force something different, then that will probably be enough for Moos to stay the course. I know you folks have your thoughts - you’ve been sharing them for weeks - but that’s how I see it. … Speaking of injuries, it looks as if starting cornerback Daniel Simmons may not be able to go today. He hurt his left shoulder late in practice Thursday and, though I was at the basketball game last night, I heard he didn’t practice Friday. We’ll keep an eye out for him. I changed my list of the starting lineup in the paper today to Aire Justin. … Other than that, I don’t have much. Though we forgot to link our 2-minute drill this morning, so now you have it.
• That’s it for now. We’ll be back later. Until then follow us on Twitter at vinceg55. You have a chance to win some basketball tickets (last item). …