I know there are a lot of Coug fans who will not enjoy this article but on the other hand, I know there are plenty who will agree with me.
It's time for WSU to fire Paul Wulff. How many more seasons like the last two can Cougars endure? Let's explore some of the facts, which cannot be disputed.
Washington State is ranked last in the Pac 10 in BOTH total offense and total defense. That was probably a given. Nationally the Cougs are ranked dead last in defense (Yards per game) and second to dead last in points allowed per game. Offensively the picture does not change. The Cougars are ranked second to last in the nation in yards per game and 2nd to last in points scored per game. This is a dismal picture at best.
I grew up in a household where if you didn't have anything good to say about the Cougars, you didn't say anything. We had Bob Robertson on full blast for every single play of every game start to finish. Later in life I witnessed some of the worst blow outs in college football while sitting in Joe Albi Stadium watching USC run buses through the Coug defense while scoring 72 points and watched Plunkett throw to wide open (by 30 yards) receivers all day long. I've been through the really bad days. But these days I must say that things are not much better and perhaps just as bad. Why?
Wulff is a wonderful guy, let's not discount that fact. He's IS A COUG, which counts so long as you are leading your Alma mater to victories at least once in a while. Wulff was 53-40 at Eastern Washington and is now 3-22 as the Cougar's head coach. His total won-loss record as a head coach is 56-60. Great guy, less than average coach.
He walked into a program that just a few years prior had enjoyed bowl games on a regular basis. Granted, there were changes that were in order and he made those changes. He's had two years of recruiting his players to play in HIS system. Are they all HIS guys? No, I'll admit that one. But even in some worse cases, new head coaches have been able to impact their programs within one, if not two years. Not the case with Wulff.
Can he recruit the caliber of player that Pac 10 demands? I question his ability (and his staffs' ability) to do just that. Boise State is a program that faces some great obstacles in their recruiting mission yet they produce winning season after winning season. They recruit the profile of player that fits their system and they do it well. How can a Boise State out recruit WSU when the Cougs have so much more going for them? How many in state players have the Cougs failed to recruit to WSU and have ended up going out of state to a less than Pac 10 conference? This is troubling at best.
How much longer will the Cougars give Wulff? Does the Athletic Director and University President really think there are no better coaches out there? I've got news for them both. There are many. Did they hire Wulff thinking he would be at least average and with his ties to WSU would stay while many others in the past left? Can the football program afford 'average?' I don't think so. Football brings in the bucks to support the other programs and right now the fiscal picture is not so good.
As an individual, I like Wulff. Again, he's a great guy. But the facts are what they are and right now those facts point to a coach who is not performing up to expectations. In business, which is what college football is, if the CEO doesn't get the job done he gets fired regardless of how many years he's been a part of the company. It's about dollars and cents and in college football that boils down to wins and losses. A record of 3-22 indicates that a change is in order. The Cougars cannot afford the luxury of giving the present leadership more time. I would love to see the list of 'expectations' that the Athletic Director gave Wulff when he hired him. I am confident that going 3-22 in his first two years would have been an exceptable expectation. I know there are some of you that think Wulff needs more time. How much more time? One year? Two? What should be our expectations for him? If we keep him one more year, what measurable improvements should we see come seasons end in year 3? 3 wins? 4 wins? Frankly, I don't find either of those acceptable. If it's 5 wins in his third year, well I could probably say that was a marked improvement. But in my humble opinion I don't think going 5-6 or 5-7 in the third year is meeting the expectations I had and have for the program. 6-5 or 6-6 would at least be acceptable. The problem I have is that I just can't see Wulff getting to those numbers of wins in 2010.
Who would replace Wulff? Who would be the best fit for WSU? Those are questions the AD and University President are hopefully asking themselves right now.