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Mike Leach says clearly, the Cougars have beaten better teams than Washington

YOU DIDN'T EXPECT Mike Leach was going to take Friday's 45-10 Apple Cup loss easily, right? Of course not. "We've beaten teams that are considerably better than Washington this year," Leach told reporters afterward.

As Lee Corso might say, not so fast my friend.

I contend this would have been Washington State's finest moment of the 2015 season had it beaten the Huskies. This was a road game, against the Cougars' clear-cut rival, with a second-year freshman making his first start at quarterback.

Washington State has won six of seven games, but winning this year's Apple Cup required the Cougars' best performance of the season.

At first blush, Leach is probably referring to Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State.

Certainly, the Ducks represents the Cougars' most high-profile win of the season, but Oregon didn't have quarterback Vernon Adams or two of its best receivers in that game. The Ducks aren't the same team with Adams.

The Cougars handled Arizona State, but that was a home game. And although the Sun Devils beat Washington this season, it took an incredible rally to do so. I won't argue if you think Arizona State is better than Washington, but I see the two teams as similar in quality.

As for UCLA, Leach could have a point, although personally, I can't think of a more overrated Pac-12 team than UCLA. The Bruins have been almost as erratic this season as Washington, and when facing a good defense, quarterback Josh Rosen has often looked like a freshman.  Washington beat USC 17-12; are the Bruins that much better than USC?

Washington has been erratic in 2015, but toward the end of the season, it was playing well. The Huskies made Oregon State looked like a high school JV team a week ago. While OSU might not be much, the Beavers gave Oregon all it wanted in Friday's Civil War.

The Huskies are getting good, and should be even better next year when some of their young talent matures. The same goes for Washington State. This is something that should be celebrated by both fan bases. You want both teams to be good; the rivalry means so much more when there are genuine quality and stakes.

The Apple Cup could have some of its finest editions in years to come.

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