As soon as I saw the headline, I knew Washington State was going to get crushed.
The headline? “College Football’s Worst Jobs.”
The subject? The worst head football coaching jobs in the Power 5 conferences.
The good news? Wazzu was not ranked last.
The bad news? Wazzu was ranked fourth from last. Wake Forest was declared worst of the worst, followed by Iowa State and Kansas.
ESPN.com came up with the list. You need to pay to read the entire article. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the computer screen it’s (sort of) written on.
This just in: Winning football games at Washington State is difficult. On some days against some opponents, it’s damn near impossible. Always has been. Always will be.
But the fourth-worst job in the Power 5? The single worst job in the Pac-12? Please.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but does anyone in the Pac-12 have a more attractive stadium with a larger percentage of wonderful seats for viewing a game than Washington State? A better student section? A better training center? A better nutrition plan? A better academic support staff?
True, there are no fancy amusement parks in Pullman. No 5-star restaurants. No giant shopping malls. No professional sports.
In other words, there are fewer ways for players to spend their limited (in most cases) dollars and time. Fewer ways to be distracted from football and academics. Fewer ways to drift apart from your teammates and other students.
As for coach Mike Leach and his staff, Pullman is hard to beat as a safe, sound place to raise a family. The pay is good, and your money goes a lot farther in The Farm Town than The Big City.
Between Pullman, Moscow and Lewiston, you’ll find enough to do, unless you’re itchin’ for a good opera. Dining and drinking establishments are plentiful, and the golfing, hunting and fishing is great. Spokane is a short drive to the north, and a direct flight from Pullman to Seattle – described as “laborious” in the ESPN.com article – takes about an hour. Comes with a complimentary glass of Northwest beer or wine, too.
Yeah, it gets cold in Pullman in the winter. DAMN cold. But does anyone think they’re slappin’ on the Coppertone at Colorado and Utah during the winter months? Snow can be a gorgeous alternative to ceaseless rain at the Oregon schools and Muttville (aka Dawgtown). How would you like to live and train, month after searing month, in triple-digit heat in Arizona? The Bay Area schools are fine unless one dares to leave campus and risk spending the rest of his or her life parked on a freeway. As for the L.A. schools, I prefer air I can breathe, not count.
Give me a football stadium smack dab in the middle of a lovely campus (re: Washington State), not one in an endless traffic jam away from campus in a different city (re: UCLA). The Cougars fly in and out of an airport that might be 10 minutes from campus during rush hour. It’s more like rush minute in Pullman. Wars have been fought in less time than it takes to drive from Sea-Tac to Montlake.
The worst job in the Pac-12 . . . the best job in the Pac-12 . . . it is entirely subjective. If you need big-city flash and dash, you will be miserable in Pullman. If you value the ability to walk to the store late at night to get a bag of chips and not get shot, stabbed or punched, Pullman is a little slice of heaven.
One man’s opinion? I think the worst job in the Pac-12 is USC.
The pressure to win at Sark U is enormous. Coaches see their wives and children bi-annually, since it takes slightly longer than forever to commute between work and your grossly overpriced home each day. Metropolitan Los Angeles is teeming with a gazillion more prime-time recruits than Metropolitan Pullman-Moscow-Colfax-Steptoe, but the odds of your car still being a) present or b) having wheels after you watch, visit and/or grovel over a recruit, is infinitely better in Lentil Land than in La La Land.
Also to be considered is the fact that the Trojans play in an aged stadium in a part of town so riddled with crime that security guards politely ask reporters if they wish to be escorted to their car after games. I always turn them down, because I live for the day when a young thug demands that I turn over all my valuables, then hands everything back once he realizes that I might be worse off than him. I mean, my financial portfolio usually consists of two wagers on the ninth race at Emerald Downs.
To summarize: Pullman ain’t perfect, but it’ll do. There’s a lot more to love than dis about life on the Palouse, and there will be a lot more to love once the Cougars start winning again. They’ve done it before; they’ll do it again. It won’t be easy; it wasn’t before. As Tom Hanks once said on the big screen, “The hard is what makes it great.”