The Streak was more than just that

RONALD REAGAN was our President in 1984. Jim Walden was our coach. Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It?" was the No. 1 song. Dynasty was the highest rated TV show. And on September 15 of that year, Washington State failed to score against Ohio State.

It would be the final time a Cougar football team was held scoreless for nearly a quarter of a century.

Two-hundred-eighty games ago.

It is — or rather was — the second-longest streak in the nation, just behind Michigan's 295 that also started in 1984. To WSU fans it was known simply as "the Streak."

CRIMSON COMMENTARY

The Cougar Nation lost much more than a game on Saturday. Southern Cal's 69-0 defeat of Wazzu was brutally humiliating on a variety of levels, but saying goodbye to the Streak hurts the most.

The Streak was more than a statistical oddity.

It was a bridge of Cougar Pride that carried us over troubled waters — say the 1998-2000 seasons — back to dry land. We have always suffered our periods of indignities, but the Streak was as stable and sure as the Bryan Clock Tower.

What was even more remarkable about the Streak is that over the course of 25 seasons, it was only seriously threatened seven times — the number of games when a lone field goal kept a goose-egg off of the good guys' side of the scoreboard.

We might not always know how to win at WSU, but we always know how to score.

I held no illusions of a victory against USC. Indeed, for the first season in my 40 years of following Cougar football, I sadly no longer expect miracles. But I'd always envisioned that should the Streak ever end (and I never truly believed it would), it would go out with a dramatic roar. A field goal attempt slightly wide-right; a dropped pass in the corner of the end zone.

The fact that it ended with an impotent whimper is a truck load of salt on the wound. The Streak deserved to go out with raised bayonets, not white flags.

The Streak had become as much a part of Cougar lore as Lone Star, Babe, and the Throwin' Samoan. Its intangible importance to a now-starving Cougar Nation is hard to explain. But I thought those of us who "get" what being a Cougar means certainly understood.

Apparently, not all of us did.


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