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Commentary: Remarkable WSU women’s soccer run should overshadow Cougars’ Apple Cup embarrassment

Data pix.

One of our top stories this weekend comes from Pullman – but unfortunately, it was overshadowed by the football coach from Pullman.

"You run your mouth and little column and stuff like some sanctimonious troll,” Leach said to Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette, following the Cougars’ 31-13 loss to the Huskies.

“You’ve never been fair or even-handed with us, so I really don’t care what you think. Because you’re going to write some nasty stuff anyway like you always do… You can live your little meager life in your little hole and write nasty things and if that makes you even, you go right ahead.”

Mike Leach didn’t like Blanchette’s line of questioning. In what’s seemingly become an annual tradition, Leach cited a recruiting disadvantage as one reason the Cougs lost to the Huskies – and Blanchette called him on it.

Yes, in general, Leach has led Washington State to a number of overachieving seasons despite recruiting disadvantages. But it’s a tired story when Leach falls back on that excuse after Apple Cup year after year. It’s exhausting to see a coach who gets paid $4 million a year fail to take any responsibility after losing seven straight rivalry games by an average of more than 21 points – especially when all of those games have been pretty much a carbon copy of each other, with seemingly little-to-no adjustments on a yearly basis.

And it’s unfair that this is what got so much attention, rather than a different team from Pullman that has overachieved significantly more than its football team this year.

We’re talking about the Cougars women’s soccer team, which has overcome all the odds to reach the NCAA College Cup – basically the Final Four – for the first time in school history.

To be clear, the Cougs run to the national semifinals has been nothing short of remarkable. We’ve watched an unranked team that finished sixth in the Pac-12 win four straight tournament games, including three straight on the road – starting with top-seeded Virginia on their home field, and most recently beating 2nd-seeded South Carolina on Friday on their home field to punch their ticket to the College Cup.

I understand it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but I’ll do it anyway: Imagine in some hypothetical 64-team football tournament – something Mike Leach has actively called for – Washington State’s football team winning four straight games, including beating second-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge and fifth-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. That’s the equivalent here!

So, a huge congratulations to the Cougs women’s soccer team for continuing to make history. They’re the big story – the story we prefer to highlight, if only the high-profile head football coach would stop making headlines by ripping reporters and making excuses and blaming everyone but himself.

I like Mike Leach. I certainly enjoy many of his diatribes and I recognize his ability to get his team to overachieve aside from Apple Cup.

But this weekend in Pullman should belong to the Cougs shocking the world and reaching the College Cup. And if that opinion makes me a sanctimonious troll like John Blanchette, I don’t mind it one bit.

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