Bill MoosAround this time last year, Washington State University athletic director Bill Moos was handling the fallout of a near-disastrous first season under football head coach Mike Leach, as the Cougars were in the midst of an 8-game losing streak, while their star player — wide receiver Marquess Wilson — had gone public with accusations of rampant abuse at the hands of Leach’s staff.

Eventually, both an internal review and a conference investigation cleared Leach’s staff of any wrong-doing, but it was a low point for a program that seemingly couldn’t fall any further than the epic failure of the Paul Wulff era. Naturally, the negativity and uncertainty surrounding the team led to a tidal wave of critical e-mails that filled up Moos’ inbox — and he made note of the most vitriolic messages:

The names of the most vitriolic senders were to be placed in a file with others who will not be allowed to purchase bowl-game tickets from the school in the future.

After one fan predicted in an email that “this will go down as one of the biggest disasters in coaching history and Leach will NEVER be a head coach again,” Moos forwarded the message to a colleague, along with his own acronym: NBT, short for “no bowl tickets.”

Moos’ message was clear: If you’re not with us now, you won’t be with us when we start winning.

What a difference a year makes. The Cougars are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2006, and could get their first bowl invite since 2003. They have a high-profile road win over USC, a strong showing against a 10-1 Auburn team, and clutch wins the last two weeks. If the Cougars are invited to a bowl game, it won’t be as sexy as their previous appearances — 2003 Rose Bowl, 2003 Holiday Bowl — but ticket demand will still be high for a fan base desperate for some good news. But fans asking for tickets had better pray they’re not on Moos’ shit list:

Moos said he responded to all of the angry emails and “85-90 percent of the senders are not members of the Cougar Athletic Fund. If those fans want to jump on the bandwagon now, Moos said it’s too late.

“I’ve got a no-bowl ticket file, and I want people on board and believing in what we’re doing, and trusting how we’re going about it. If they don’t want to be on the train, the train’s already pulled out of the station.”

As always, don’t mess with the Moos.

[Olympian, SBNation]