Where do the Washington State faithful see the Cougars getting a few wins this year, and begin to turn things around? I like what the Cougars have in the backfield, and while I’m not thrilled with the overall talent level there seems to be some playmakers, especially on defense in the front seven with a few guys who can disrupt things. Defensively, you always want to opposing team and their offensive coordinator losing sleep before they play you because you’ve got playmakers who will create havoc.
The opener at Oklahoma State is a really interesting inter-sectional game. It’s a 6pm kickoff local time in Stillwater, and could be hot and sticky September 4th- that could play a part in the game. The Pokes are in a transition right now, and could be caught napping on a team everyone expects them to beat. If Washington State can come out early on and be physical, set the tone at the line of scrimmage and establish the running game that might be their formula for success. I don’t see this as a real lopsided game, Wazzu should be in it if they don’t shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers, penalties, and lack of composure in a hostile environment.
Montana State is no pushover. Yes, it’s D-II (or whatever they call it these days) but Washington State should take them seriously. With Wulff’s time at Eastern Washington, he’ll know that. That’s a good W for WSU though.
Getting back on a plane, down to Dallas will be tough. This is June Jones 3rd year at SMU, and they have some great team speed and that offense will begin to click like it did in Hawaii. He has some serious offensive threats. Washington St. should be able to run the ball at the belly of the Mustangs defense all game though. Again, it’s still technically summer (9/18) and it could be hot and sticky muggy weather, not weather you see in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon has some issue when visiting Houston in ’05, now Dallas is not as sticky as it’s gulf neighbor but the heat in Dallas can be really sultry. As a cougar, you have to like the Cougs chances against SMU.
Road trips to UCLA and Arizona State are nice. Those stadiums are not what they used to be, and are not as hostile as an Autzen Stadium or packed Husky Stadium. UCLA and ASU are reeling, we’ll see what they are like when WSU rolls into town but those are certainly winnable games.
The home schedule is great for Washington State fans, in terms of seeing some ranked and very talented teams come to town. With USC, Oregon, and CAL/Arizona coming too town that’s a good reason to grab season tickets.
And of course, the hated Dogs in the annual Apple Cup. For WSU’s sake, hopefully there is 3 feet of snow by 12/4 and a nationally televised audience can see the swarming Wazzu defense ruin any Heisman chances for Locker and keep UDUB out of a bowl game.
Good luck getting through the dog days of summer, Go Ducks...