WSU is knocking on the door of national relevance. Will one more win vault the Cougars into the top 25?
TEMPE, Ariz. — Washington State has received some votes in the Associated Press top 25 poll since Week 7, and the Cougars have continued to inch upward.
After Saturday night’s 37-32 win over Arizona State, the Cougars inched up three spots into No. 26, with 84 votes. But it’s the top 25 poll, and No. 26 means you’re still technically unranked, sorry.
Apparently the AP poll voters weren’t quite sold on WSU after the Cougars had to withstand a fierce rally to escape Tempe with the win.
One more win would likely vault them into the top 25 though. WSU (5-2 overall, 4-0 Pac-12) was last ranked in the top 25 last November, after the win against UCLA vaulted them into 24th. The Cougars then beat Colorado to elevate to No. 20 going into Apple Cup week. Losing to the Huskies dropped WSU out of the rankings though.
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Before that, WSU not been ranked in the top 25 since November 2006, when the Cougars went into a home game against Arizona ranked 25th nationally. WSU lost to the Wildcats that week and dropped out of the rankings.
WSU also hasn’t been remotely relevant in the national college football picture in at least a decade. Until now.
In a story depicting how former No. 2 Ohio State’s defeat to Penn State affects the national college football playoff picture, ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich pointed to the Cougars as a team that “still has major Pac-12 spoiler potential.”
“Wazzu is not a playoff team — not with losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State — but it’s still undefeated in league play, which means if it wins out, it wins the North. Period. Even with one loss — a distinct possibility considering a road trip to Colorado on Nov. 19 — the division title would come down to the Apple Cup. If the Cougars can pull off the upset, the entire Pac-12 could be left out of the playoff — again.”
So while that might not be a favorable result for the Pac-12, we know it’s an outcome Coug fans are salivating over. After all, what’s better than beating the Huskies? Spoiling the Huskies’ College Football Playoff hopes, of course!
Now, some links:
— Here’s our game story from the Cougars’ win over Arizona State last night
— Our talented photographer Bettina Hansen was in Tempe to capture some of the best photographic moments from WSU’s first victory at Arizona State since 2001
— Mike Leach goes Beast Mode when asked about Todd Graham’s strategy after the game
— Robert Taylor was the hero of the night with this 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that ended a 13-year drought for WSU
— Here’s Jacob Thorpe’s version of how the Cougars’ win in Arizona unfolded.
— Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says ASU took the high road in the Todd Graham/Mike Leach altercation this week.
— Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic details why the Sun Devils lost to WSU
— More on ASU QB Manny Wilkins’ injury — apparently a right arm issue.
— From SB Nation: Why Todd Graham called Mike Leach chickens***
— The Cougars stay at No. 4 in ESPN.com’s Pac-12 Power Rankings
— WSU QB Luke Falk got a helmet sticker from ESPN.com’s Kyle Bonagura for his gutsy play in the Cougs’ win. Bonagura also points out that the state of Washington is 8-0 in Pac-12 play right now. How ’bout them apples? (Get it?)
— SB Nation and ESPN.com’s Kevin Gemmell says the Cougars will end up in the Alamo Bowl, CBS Sports, Jerry Palm says nah, they’ll go to the Foster Farms Bowl. But let’s face it, it’s really wayyy too early to say for sure.