This is how it works out West, on a Friday, after dark, after midnight in the East.

Any loss suffered by USC, especially this early, is considered the end of Pac 12 civilization.

It didn’t take long after Washington State’s thrilling, 30-27 win, in Pullman, for some pundits to eliminate the conference from playoff consideration.

It’s almost an involuntary muscle reflex.

Washington, which made the playoff last year and hasn’t lost this year, was immediately put on notice for its weak non-conference schedule.

It’s basically the same Rutgers-based schedule that Washington used last year to make the playoff and give Alabama a pretty good game in the Peach Bowl.

Yet, to some, it’s all Pac 12 over now…on Sept. 30.

True?

There’s no doubt the Pac 12 always suffers when USC loses a game. The Trojans are the only west-coast school that resonates nationally.

Washington State, in theory, could replace USC as contenders if only the Cougars could be trusted.

Washington State is 5-0 for the first time since 2001–that’s great. The Cougars are an interesting, talented, team—undersized but not to be underestimated.

The nation is certainly ready to grace Mike Leach, a quirky, almost savant-like offensive mind who seems to spend more time tweeting than game-planning.

He is first-team, all-quote, for sure.

After Friday’s game, after thousands of Cougar fans stormed the field, Leach handed a gem to ESPN.

“It’s like Woodstock,” Leach said, “Except everybody’s got their clothes on.”

While many coaches choose plays off of giant, laminated placards, Leach works off what looks to be a folded-up grocery list.

Milk, eggs, shovel pass.

He called a brilliant game against USC, keeping the Trojans off balance with his vast array of formations.

Yet, the bigger story was the improvement of the Wazzu defense, led by Alex Grinch, which held USC to 327 yards.

If you take away the 86-yard scoring run by Ronald Jones, USC rushed 28 times for 77 yards.

If Washington State can play defense…watch out.

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