Mike Hlas is an award-winning columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette and force behind The Hlog. Each week he will break down the biggest mismatches in college football. Considering the increasing number of Bowl Championship Series teams scheduling games against cupcake opponents, Mike's task is more complex than understanding Lou Holtz.
Pullman, Washington might as well be Wasilla, Alaska.
The Pac-10 is as metropolitan as a college conference gets with Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Seattle. The charms of Eugene and Tucson add to the league’s character.
Washington State isn’t bad, folks. That would be a slur to all the bad teams out there. No, the Cougars are in a whole different dimension. They are the Pullman of the 119 Division I-A football programs, out in the distance and in a state of mind no one willingly visits. They are godawful.
Thus, through no fault of a I-AA team that Jerry Glanville is bringing to Pullman, Portland State-Washington State is the Game of the Weak.
Wazzu has lost to Oklahoma State, California and Baylor by a combined 150-33. That last one, we repeat, was Baylor. The score down in Waco was 45-17. That’s right, a I-A team lost to Baylor by four touchdowns. If you live long enough, you’ll see everything.
The week before, Cal beat the Cougars, 66-3, in Pullman. But the Golden Bears paid a severe price. For wallowing at WSU’s level, they couldn’t get back up the next week and got beaten at mediocre Maryland.
There are 119 I-A teams. Wazzu is 111th in total defense, 117th in total offense. They’re 113th in scoring offense, 118th in scoring defense. They’re 110th in rushing offense, 117th in passing efficiency.
In the words of Chico Marx, thassa no good.
Portland State was 3-8 last year in the debut season of Glanville, an NFL head coach from 1986 to 1993. The Vikings are 1-1 this year, fresh off a 38-24 loss to UC Davis. But they average 397 yards a game in the run-and-shoot of offensive coordinator Mouse Davis, the 78-year-old godfather of the spread offense.
Portland State is 0-6 against the Pac-10. That could change to 1-6 Saturday, but not because Glanville’s team is suddenly fabulous.