Cougs doubled poll appearances in 2016 season from previous year, and WSU position unit made history

FOR THOSE COUGAR FANS looking more at the whole season rather than the final three losses, there’s this: Washington State made four appearances in AP weekly polls this season, double the number made in 2015. There was also a Cougar position unit that made history, accomplishing something never before seen at WSU or on a Mike Leach-coached team.

In case you missed it, the Cougar running back corps made history this season.

Jim Mastro's crew racked up over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards for the first time under Leach -- and also for the first time in Washington State program history.

James Williams (pictured above) led the Cougars in rushing with 584 yards. Jamal Morrow was right on his heels with 575 hashes despite having 12 fewer carries. Gerard Wicks had 475 ground yards – and 11 rushing TDs.  In the receiving game, Morrow was the fourth-leading receiver on the Cougs, with 53 catches for 488 yards.  Right behind Morrow was Williams with 342 receiving yards while Wicks added 184 hashes.

ALAS, THE Cougar football season lasts but four short months, while Cougar fans are locked in all year long. And for the coming offseason, it probably won’t afford the Cougars the same level of national media attention had WSU won the Holiday Bowl.
Had Washington State beaten Minnesota, based on how the bowl season is playing out, WSU appears to have had an excellent chance to have finished the 2016-17 season ranked in the polls for the first time since 2003.  The national media (and preseason magazines) love to repeat those kinds of things throughout the college football offseason.

And for a WSU program that needs to create buzz and increase donations, every single bit helps.

The Cougs should still see some national buzz between now and next September – in 2017 Washington State, barring something unexpected, will return 15 starters off an 8-win team plus its kicker and punter.

The Cougs were also close in 2015 to grabbing a spot in the final top 25 polls, they finished 27th and 29th in the Coaches and AP polls, respectively.  Here's how the bowl season has played out so far for the teams ranked ahead of WSU in the polls:

20. Florida: Jan. 2
21. Iowa: Jan 2
22. Pitt: Loss
23. Temple: Loss
24. Nebraska: Loss
25. South Florida: Win
Houston: Loss
Utah: Win
Boise State: Loss
Washington State: Loss

20. LSU: Dec. 31
21. Nebraska: Loss
22. South Florida: Win
23. Utah: Win
24. Temple : Loss
25. Iowa: Jan. 2
Pitt: Loss
Boise State: Loss
Houston: Loss
Navy: Loss
Washington State: Loss

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