Washington State's last appearance in the Associated Press top 25 poll was on October 29, 2006 -- 148 polls ago. Only 16 FBS teams have suffered through a longer drought, with Colorado, Syracuse and SMU among them.
But headed into Saturday night's tilt at UCLA, Wazzu is on the verge of ending all that (7:30 p.m., ESPN).
The Cougs (surely) would have broken into the AP top 25 a week ago had they topped Stanford in the final seconds. Since they lost, they had to beat ASU to gain good position headed into the road game at UCLA. And they did, besting the Sun Devils 38-24.
But wait, you say, the AP poll still barely acknowedges WSU -- they're 32nd, with but two votes in the "Others receiving votes" category. but all you have to really do is look at Navy. They went from 37th to 22nd this past week as a result of knocking off No. 15 Memphis. UCLA is ranked 18th.
And the Bruins, you may have heard, play in the Pac-12. Memphis resides in the American Athletic Conference. These kinds of things factor into the writers' poll.
Plus, we've looked at the teams above WSU in the AP poll, their matchups this coming Saturday and the odds in each game. The CF.C consenus: we're confident in saying the Cougs will be ranked in the AP top 25 if they beat UCLA in Los Angeles on Saturday.
It's even more of a certainty in the Coaches' poll. There, the Cougs are 30th with 20 votes in this week's poll, That's a jump of seven spots and 16 votes from last week.
WSU didn't make the top 25 in the Coaches' poll back in October 2006. They were last ranked in the Coaches' poll in 2003 (No. 9 in final poll).
Beating the Bruins in L.A. would be another milestone for the Cougs in a season that is now on the verge of many. It would also come with a sense of familiarity.
Back in '06, when WSU laid claim to No. 25 in the AP poll at 6-3, the team they beat to get there? None other than UCLA.
MEANWHILE, LAS VEGAS on Sunday pegged the Cougars as 8 1-2-point underdogs to UCLA.
ESPN's WEEKLY PAC-12 POWER RANKINGS were unchanged -- not a single team made a move up or down from last week, with the Cougs staying at No. 5.
After losing to Stanford, ESPN blogger Kevin Gemmel dropped WSU from second to fifth in his Week Nine Pac-12 rankings, writing; 'You have to think of their final four games, there’s at least one more win out there to get them back to the postseason."
The Cougs got that win in their first try, so you also had to figure WSU would jump up at least one spot this week, right? Wrong. The four teams above WSU in ESPN's metric last week -- UCLA, USC, Utah and Stanford -- all won and WSU's win over ASU wasn't enough to move the needle at ESPN.
"Their win over Arizona State was big for a couple reasons," wrote Gemmel of the Cougs on Sunday. "First, it made the Cougars bowl-eligible for the second time in three seasons. Second, it showed they can overcome a double-digit deficit and still win. It was a very mature performance on both sides of the ball."
So the hardest thing this week for Cougar Nation? Waiting until Saturday night.< /br>
As long as it has been for WSU when it comes to the AP top 25, they can't hold a candle to Lousianna-Lafayette -- they hold the top spot with 1,038 weeks since last appearing in the top 25 of the AP poll.