It appears that Paul Wulff, Dennis Erickson and Rick Neuheisel will all be fired in the coming days. None of which really comes as a surprise.
Reports following last night's Apple Cup have Wulff being fired possibly as early today, depending on when he meets with WSU athletics director Bill Moos. With last night's loss Wulff is now 9-40 during his tenure at Washington State. Despite the injuries to quarterbacks to Jeff Tuel at the start of the season and Connor Halliday at the end of the season, Wulff couldn't save his job with a 4-8 record.
TNT columnist John McGrath wrote that it is time for Wulff to go. From his column ...
But when it was over, the result – Washington 38, Washington State 21 – was all too familiar for those fans to conclude anything other than Wulff is the wrong man to take the Cougars’ rebuilding project into Year Five.
His record at WSU dropped to 9-40 overall and 4-32 in the conference. Four league victories in four seasons isn’t going to cut it at many places, but at a school whose athletic director is embarking on a stadium renovation – a school relying on the privately funded donations of its alums to cover the $80 million face lift – the Cougars’ meandering trek toward respectability is ill-timed for a coach on the hot seat.
“We’re right on the cusp of being a really good football team,” insisted Wulff. “Not many teams can go through three quarterbacks and still be bowl eligible 11 games into the season.”
Perhaps. Then again, not many head coaches survive a .182 winning percentage in their conference games.
And while they picked themselves off the mat Saturday and gave the Huskies a fight, the Cougars’ early miscues were the sort a well-coached football team just doesn’t make.Spokesman columnist John Blanchette also has an outstanding column on Wulff.
In the Wulffian world, we’re supposed to regard Cougar football in the big picture – the progress from the woeful nadir of a few years ago, the better athletes (and competitors) who have been recruited, the staff that’s been shored up, the youthful roster, the increased siccum, bad-luck injuries and all that jazz. As a football coach, it seems, Wulff is an Impressionist.
“What I can tell you is that this is a really talented young football team,” he said for the umpteenth time Saturday night. “I think we’ve done a hell of a job recruiting great young kids and the football team has a bright future. That was my job and I’ve been doing that. I’m excited about Cougar football.
“Our program is right on the cusp of being really good.”
But then the games get played, and they are not big-picture views. It’s Realism, not Impressionism.
In the games, all the warts are exposed and the failures are enhanced in replay and slow-motion and the judgments are instant, harsh and unforgiving.Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has been mentioned as Moos' preferred replacement. The Cougs will also try to talk to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, who was an assistant at WSU under Mike Price.
However, Leach and Sumlin's name have also come up in the future opening at Arizona State. Erickson, Wulff's former coach at WSU, will also be fired in the coming days after a meeting with AD Lisa Love. ASU is bowl eligible, but the Sun Devils have tanked in recent weeks, exhibiting the sloppy, undisciplined play that have plagued them in Erickson's tenure.
Obviously, ASU would be a more attractive job than WSU, and not just because of Mill Avenue.
Of course, Leach's name will also be mentioned in Los Angeles, where Rick Neuheisel's tenure will likely come to an end. Leach campaigned for the job when Neuheisel was hired. Yes, UCLA won the Pac-12 South largely be default - an accomplishment as prestigious as leaving the highest tip at a table full of cheapskates.
Last night's 50-0 beatdown by UCLA and the ensuing beatdown by Oregon in the Pac-12 championship will likely keep UCLA out of a bowl game.
Dan Guerrero, the Bruins' athletic director, will sit down with UCLA's football coach after the season is over to discuss the future. That could be as soon as next weekend, after the Bruins play Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.
Neuheisel's chances of retaining his job are bleak, according to influential people close to the program who did not want to be identified publicly because the decision was not final.LA Times columnist TJ Simers says it's time for UCLA to wave the white flag on Neuheisel.
How can UCLA stick with Neuheisel, who has offered only rhetoric to date and four consecutive losses to USC, the latest one after announcing the Bruins had closed the gap on the Trojans?
Who scores more against UCLA? USC, or Oregon next week? Will Neuheisel still be the team's coach?
Neuheisel told UCLA fans last week the naysayers predicted the Bruins would never get to the conference's championship game.
It would be a better game had they been right. But as it is, the naysayers had UCLA pretty well pegged, a 6-6 season just about right for a mediocre team playing in the conference's substandard division.