There is something inside of me that doesn’t allow me to root for the Washington State Cougars.
This weekend won’t be a problem for a lot of Husky fans when the Cougs travel to Eugene to face the Ducks. A pretty large percentage of Husky fans dislike Oregon more than WSU. For me, it’s not that I don’t like Wazzu; I actually appreciate Cougar loyalty. With an isolated campus tucked obscurely in the Palouse and a continual underdog mentality, I think Coug culture is pretty cool. But I know WAY too many Cougs. They are part of my every day life, and damn do they ever hate the Huskies.
Last weekend was a prime example of how I cannot root for Washington State, even when I want them to win. I refused to buy into the narrative that USC losing was death to every other team in the Pac-12 in terms of national perception of the conference. I just didn’t understand how it would benefit the conference for a Trojan team that squeaked one out against Texas and had been largely unimpressive in non-conference play to roll through the Pac-12. That would only prove that this middling top-20 team was far and above better than nearly anyone else the conference had to offer. I wanted WSU to beat them in a close game, changing the perception of USC from “the best in the Pac” to “one of several good teams the conference has to offer.”
Still, as I watched, while my words said “Go Cougs,” my heart said “Coug it.” Pac-12 after dark got to me as I had been up very early that day and fell asleep watching. When I woke up I checked my phone and saw that WSU had pulled it out. I was pleased on two counts: (1) WSU had beaten the golden boys of LA and (2) I didn’t have to watch it.
I’m still not 100% sure that WSU isn’t a bit of a paper tiger, mostly because they are still extremely susceptible to surrendering the big play. But while a lot of people point to the Boise St. game as a sign that the Cougs aren’t really that good, I feel like that was the type of game they have lost in past years, and that maybe they have gotten a little more resilient.
While this debate likely turns —at least in part— into a discussion of who people hate more (UO or WSU) that really isn’t the point. It’s this: Do you want the Cougs to run the table and come to Husky Stadium undefeated on November 25th? Furthermore, can you actually root for them?
Here’s their remaining schedule:
Oct. 7 at Oregon Ducks
Oct. 13 at California Golden Bears
Oct. 21 Colorado Buffaloes
Oct. 28 at Arizona Wildcats
Nov. 4 Stanford Cardinal
Nov. 11 at Utah Utes
Nov. 18 BYE
Nov. 25 at Washington Huskies
Do you want to face an 11-0 WSU team in the Apple Cup?
This poll is closed
I’ll be rooting for them. It would be the best looking win the Huskies can have on their regular season resume.
I won’t actually root for them, but it would be cool for them to be undefeated entering the Apple Cup.
Nope. They are the biggest challenge to UW winning the North, so I want them to lose.
I never root for WSU, no matter what.