Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fan base divided brings back memories

By Kshell

The Washington State Cougars fan base is currently divided over head coach Paul Wulff. Some fans want him fired as they realize he isn't the guy. While others want to elect him mayor of Pullman because he leads the Pac-12 in "moral" wins the last two years. The boiling point came in a disappointing 28-25 loss to the UCLA Bruins despite winning the totals yards, first downs, time of possession and turnovers. The fan base who wants Wulff and his 8-34 record(3-26 in conference) gone are now being accused of not being "true" Cougar fans. While I must admit watching Cougar fans fight amongst themselves is quite hilarious it brings me back to a dark time period. When Washington Huskies fans were bickering about a certain losing coach. All the same bull shit excuses that are used towards Wulff were used towards Tyrone Willingham. From blaming the previous coach, the constant jealously of your rival(Husky fans towards Oregon and now Cougars towards Sarkisian), to be satisfied with just being competitive, and to not being a "true" fan for openly getting on your head coach. Yes I don't miss those days at all. In this following post I'll talk about the losing mindset that Cougar fans and how Husky fans had that same mindset just a few years ago.

During the 2007 football season the Huskies fan base was divided. You had two groups of people which had one side(the doogs) who were fine with Willingham and made every excuse in the world for him. Then you had another portion of the fan base that was sick of excuses and embarassing losses(like losing four of five to the Cougars!!!). The Dawgman boards were a war zone where if you blasted Willingham you were considered not a fan. The dawgman guys all supported Willingham despite an 11-25 record. On KJR Dave "Softy" Mahler publicly supported Willingham stating he needed more time. The only public figure was Hugh Millen who did a study showing coaches who have a winning percentage under .350 after three seasons have never succeeded at their university. Now everyone claims all along that they "knew" Willingham wasn't the guy. Mahler even went as far as saying he knew Willingham wasn't the guy during his second season after "suddenly senior" night. Just like I'm sure many of my Cougar friends who are being persecuted right now by many soft Coog(spelled wrong on purpose) fans will be the same fans that "knew" Wulff wasn't the guy. The problem is every fan base just accepts losing and in the northwest fans who want to win are the minority not the majority.

When you do fire a crappy coach the key is to hire the right guy. Which the Huskies failed to do when they fired Keith Gilbertson they hired Willingham. The Cougars did the same thing when they fired Bill Doba then hired Paul Wulff. Just like in 2007 so many Husky fans wanted Pat Hill who was an average coach at Fresno State. Today Cougar fans if they do fire Wulff will most likely want Robb Akey to lead them. Akey of course coached the Cougars from 1999-2006 so he'll never leave Pullman. As a Huskies fan I hope my rival school hired Akey as he is only 18-38 as head coach at Idaho. In his fifth season he is currently 1-5 yet the love affair for Akey is very confusing. The Cougars have always hired from the Cougar family so why change that? Well because you've only made it to 10 bowl games in 100 years, beat your rival only 31 times out of 103 games is why. Steve Sarkisian is in the process of controlling this state landing nine of the top 11 players in the state the last two years including all six last season. If the Cougars expect to compete with their rivals they are going have to find a real coach or be prepared to be stuck losing for a while.

In conclusion, watching history repeat itself with my rival school has been fun to witness. I do feel for my Cougar friends who actually have expectations for their program but they are fighting a losing battle. I experienced this battle as a Huskies fan for a year straight on Mahler's facebook page and the doogs/coogs will always have the numbers. Fans want to make excuses and believe in "hope" instead of hard factual evidence. If you ranked the Pac-12 coaches Wulff would rank either 11th or 12th including Mike Stoops who was just fired would rank ahead of Wulff. Those who support Wulff can't complain when their rivals(Huskies) are playing in a Rose Bowl soon because they helped that happen. The Cougars are no longer a threat and are fighting for their lives just to win five games in year four. The fact that the Cougars were so bad in 2008 and 2009 has made their fan base soft where they accept going 2-10 last year. Last year was a "success" as the Cougars were finally competitive and now in year four the Cougars are still getting blown away by mountain west teams. Still losing to UCLA whose own head coach Rick Neuheisel is on the hot seat. The Cougars fan base is divided and as a Huskies fan I hope the excuse makers get their wish as Wulff is given more time. For my friends who have expectations well I feel sorry for you guys. Don't worry though you guys are the true Coug fans because you actually expect wins unlike the soft fans who want a participation ribbon for just showing up.

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