The Washington St. Cougars fell to the Oregon St. Beavers last Saturday, and so too did their hopes of notching their first winning season of the Paul Wulff era. Which probably means this is the last season of the Paul Wulff era.
It's been a good run for Paul, but he's pretty much out of options. He's probably wasted a season of Jeff Tuel for Washington State fans by bringing him back midway through the season, only to see him go down again to a dangerous-looking injury that WSU fans are probably sick of dealing with. Tuel will probably not be able to apply for a medical redshirt, meaning WSU will have only one more year of Tuel left. Surely it'll be better than the fate that he had to deal with in WSU, which involved many four touchdown deficits and a world filled with glorious sacks.
It was a calculated risk Wulff had to take. Washington State was not getting to six wins this year with Marshall Lobbestael at quarterback, no matter how competent he looked against the soft underbelly of the schedule. Lobbestael is good at making designed reads and decisive playcalls, but he's not great at improvising nor is he strong at doing anything other than making WSU fans feel really really hopeful before dropping the guillotine. It backfired on Wulff, and it's going to probably end with him getting the boot.
Only don't look for Wulff to validate what you saw with your own two eyes last night. Here was his assessment of how the team played:
"I don’t think our kids played bad," Wulff insisted. "I thought Oregon State played a hell of a game."
Gee, coach, do you think they might have "played a hell of a game" because your team was completely unprepared to compete last night? OSU smacked the WSU right in the face, and the Cougars wilted faster than a bouquet of flowers left in a hot car.
It's not enough for Wulff to insult all of us with the play on the field the last 3 1/2 years; he feels the need to insult our intelligence as well. Not a good look for you, coach.
Here's what's left for WSU: at Oregon (losing by less than four touchdowns would be a win), at Cal (winnable game with Tuel, now probably a far-fetched proposition), ASU (who will be fighting hard to stay on the periphery of a BCS at-large bid even if they have the Pac-12 South wrapped up by this point), Utah (who will probably be fighting for bowl eligibility), and Washington back in Seattle. Do you see many wins there? There's probably one, maybe two. Definitely not three, and definitely not enough to save Wulff.
The odds were stacked against Wulff in Washington State, so unlike Rick Neuheisel or Mike Stoops, there probably won't be too much disgust directed his way for his poor showing here. But it's a poor showing nonetheless, and WSU needs to start putting a better product on the field or risk long-term irrelevance in the Pac-12.
And this Wulff has proven he can't fix the problems of the Cougars anytime soon.