Might Cougs help settle conference debate?

WITH THE SEC media days now underway, steel yourself for four straight days of SEC coaches and administrators proclaiming their football conference the best in the nation. That argument has gotten tougher to make the past two seasons, and some predict the 2015 campaign will torpedo it all together. Here’s why Washington State could well play a role in deciding the issue.

If the Cougars go bowling, it would illustrate the Pac-12 has even more depth than they’re bring credited with this preseason.

This, coming off a year where the Pac-12 sent eight teams into the postseason and produced the best bowl record (6-2) among Power Five conferences, including a 5-1 record by the Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25 by the college football playoff selection committee. The SEC sent 11 teams bowling the seven ranked teams went just 2-5 in bowl play.

The Pac-12 played for the national title last season and produced the Heisman Trophy winner. Meanwhile, the SEC hasn’t won a national title since 2012.

The past two seasons, the SEC has gone 0-5 its last five BCS or New Year's Six bowl games. Many a newspaper column has been written as to why, with the general consensus pointing to a former strength. Whereas the SEC was dominating in the trenches from 2006-12 during it’s run of national titles, this last season was eye-popping for how badly they got beat up front.

Meanwhile, if Washington State does go bowling, it’s going to be in large part because they return all five of their starting offensive linemen.

Not only that, they return all 18 scholarship o-linemen from last year. When’s the last time that could be said?

If there is any one thing that should give Cougar fans optimism for the 2015 season, it’s those numbers up front.

By the way, the Heisman Trophy race this year is wide, wide open.

Only two of the top 10 vote getters return in 2015: Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott and Arizona LB Scooby Wright.

The Heisman is sometimes derided for not being about the best player, but rather the best offensive player on the best team. If that turns out to be the case in ‘15, Prescott and (obviously) Wright may face an uphill battle. Prognosticators this offseason have pegged both MSU and UA to slip this season from a year ago.

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