|Washington, Washington State embarrassingly bad|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 05 November 2008 14:49|
At halftime of home games, the tailgating lots start to fill up again with fans looking for something to soothe the anger and frustration.
Sure football in the state of Washington has reached miserable levels before. But this bad? This embarrassing?
Fans of Washington and Washington State can only hope last weekend was the bottom.
While the Huskies were getting shutout by USC, a 56-0 romp by the merciful Trojans, Washington State was being drowned by Stanford 58-0 in a soggy Bay Area rainstorm.
That's a combined 114-0 by two programs that have each played in a Rose Bowl this decade. They're a combined 1-16, the only win being Washington State's 48-9 victory over Portland State of the Football Championship Subdivision. Washington is the only winless team in the country, caught in a 10-game losing streak, and playing out the final four games with lame-duck coach Tyrone Willingham.
Acknowledging affiliation with either school at this point usually comes with some ridicule.
``It's definitely not a good representation of Washington sports because we know we're better than that,'' said Huskies defensive tackle Johnie Kirton, a Seattle-area native. ``We always use to compete for Rose Bowls and stuff like that. We're going to bounce back.''
The disgruntled and often embarrassed fan base would like to know when that bounce back will happen for either program. The humiliating performances by both schools is even being noticed by alumni in the NFL.
Last weekend after the Cougars were routed by Stanford - Washington State's fifth loss this season by seven touchdowns or more - former Cardinal wide receiver Greg Camarillo made sure to make a point of it to former WSU defensive back Karl Paymah when the Miami Dolphins faced the Denver Broncos.
Paymah's response, ``Man, I don't claim them anymore.''
For current players, there's no hiding.
``I'm really embarrassed by both programs right now. Just for the state of Washington, I wish that either one of the programs is pretty good,'' Washington center Juan Garcia said. ``I always cheer for the Cougars when I'm not playing against them. I always wondered how cool it would have been to play them and their undefeated and we're undefeated in the Apple Cup. ... I never imagined this.''
The reasons for each downfall vary.
There's the staff overhaul at Washington State, where first-year coach Paul Wulff's team has been handcuffed with a roster low on talent and lacking depth to deal with injuries. He's also trying to reshape a program that grew complacent after the Cougars put together a trio of 10-win seasons earlier this decade.
But no one expected Wulff's first year at his alma mater in Pullman to be this bad. Should Arizona do as expected and put on an offensive show against the Cougars on Saturday, Washington State will likely surpass the Pac-10 record for most points allowed in a season - 469 - with three games left.
``A lot of guys are getting used to losing,'' defensive end Andy Mattingly recently complained. ``It doesn't (anger them) that we are losing this bad.
``Too many guys are waiting for someone else to start making plays.''
Players started complaining about one another after yet another blowout last weekend. The Cougars haven't found the end zone since Louis Bland's interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter on Oct. 11 against Oregon State.
That's 10 straight quarters without any points, outscored 172-0!
No, that's not a misprint.
``I never imagined this,'' said QB Gary Rogers, one of three WSU quarterbacks to suffer serious injuries this season. ``It's frustrating to see the team struggle and not be able to go out there and help.''
Meanwhile, across the state, Willingham has already been handed his pink slip, effective the end of the season. Burdened with youth in too many key positions, the Huskies rolled over whenever they faced adversity - whether it was a controversial one-point loss to BYU in September, or the myriad of injuries to key players.
``We're just struggling right now with the execution it takes to get things done,'' Willingham said. ``I think that's very difficult sometimes when you struggle and put yourself in a position where you feel like you have to be perfect, both players and coaches, and when that happens it's a very difficult position to operate in.''
Last weekend's futility was the first time the two schools were shutout on the same weekend since Nov. 27, 1948, when the Huskies lost to Notre Dame 46-0 and the Cougars fell to Penn State 7-0.
Only seven times in the duo's history have they failed to score on the same weekend.
``A rotten apple I guess,'' Garcia said.
AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Miami and Nicholas K. Geranios in Pullman, Wash., contributed to this story.