We are a third of the way through the season Cougar fans. And this rendition of the Cougs has the same record I thought they'd have at this point (what? Don't believe me? Look here), granted I thought we would have won the SDSU game and lost the CU game. But getting the record right has to count for something? Right?
So far I am 2-2 on the season, ouch. However, the team is 3-1 on the season and half way to bowl eligibility. As long as my overall prediction (a 6-6 finish) is correct, I think I can handle getting a few games wrong. A few thoughts have jumped out at me as this season has progressed:
- Holy sh** is Marquess Wilson is a WR god. While he still has the occasional "Woops I dropped it" moments, he has still improved off of last season. Better side line awareness AND strength has helped him get amass 550 receiving yards with five TDs.
- The running game is better than I thought it was going to be. While still not spectacular, the rushing attack has generated 558 rushing yards and six rushing TDs. Compared to the 2010 rushing attack, which generated 11 rushing TDs ALL SEASON. They also only earned 749 rushing yards, including sacks.
- Suddenly WSU has depth. When Roxas went down versus UNLV my thought was "Oh goody, which freshmen will get thrown into the fire now." Well I was wrong. As JUCO transfer Matt Goetz has stepped in and done a pretty good job as the starting center. Then there is freshmen Logan Mayes working his way into the starting rotation and getting a sack at Colorado. And of course the one position we thought we shouldn't have to worry about......
- .....And still don't, for now. Quarter Back. Jeff Tuel looked like our messiah before the beginning of this season. And there was a collective "aahhhhh crap" when Tuel broke his collar bone against Idaho St. Well thank god for Rock Lobster. Who has 1335 passing yards on the season with 13 TDs and 3 INTs. He has earned one hell of a standing ovation on senior night.
- The growth of CJ Mizell and the success of the LBs has been most excellent, and has helped out our pass defense and our run defense as well.
- Speaking of run defense.... They haven't been terrible, but they haven't been good either. Allowing an average of 127.25 yards per game on the ground, so far this season.
After the jump I will predict the results of the rest of this season.
Saturday October 8th, WSU Cougars @ UCLA Bruins 7:30 PM
In my predictions back in December I had this game pegged as a win. And I feel comfortable sticking to that prediction (even though I have no idea why I made it at the time). The Cougars D-line has improved since they gave up 437 rushing yards to the Bruins last year. UCLA SHOULD be able to run the football, but I don't expect another 5 rushing TDs this year, and neither should you.The Bruin's secondary is also a little beat up, which is bad news for the Bruins, considering they RARELY pressure the opposing teams QB's (they only have three sacks on the season). Marshall has handled pressure pretty well this season. How will he handle a team that drops back into coverage? Fairly well I suspect.
My prediction for the Final Score:
WSU 35-UCLA 31
Saturday October 15th Stanford Cardinal @ WSU Cougars (Homecoming)
I think many of us had, and still have, this game pegged as a loss. Stanford is undefeated AND ranked #7 in the country. Andrew Luck looks unstoppable, not only is he one of the best (if not THE best) Quarter Backs in the country, he is also calling his own plays. It sounds like the Cougs are planning on doing something to honor Steve Gleason. Add in the fact that it is homecoming weekend (and Tuel Time?) and Martin Stadium is going to be packed, AND emotional. This brings up the biggest question I have about Stanford; how will their young, rebuilt, offensive line handle the crowd noise?
Stan 45-WSU 42
Saturday October 22nd, OSU Beavers @ WSU Cougars (game @ Century Link Field)
Another game I had (and have) pegged as a win. Last year's stunning upset at Reeser is still one of the best moments in Wulff's tenure at WSU. It was exciting, it was fascinating and it was AMAZING. With an improved offense and defense and this game being at "home" why wouldn't the Cougs win again? Well, when I wrote-up my predictions in December I did NOT see the Beavers epically collapsing like they have. Now, now this game scares the crap out of me, for no reason other than the fact that I don't want to face a desperate, win-less team this late in the season. I sooo hope the Beavers beat Arizona this weekend and get their first win.
OSU 14-WSU 24 (TRAP GAME!!!)
Saturday October 22nd WSU Cougars @ UO Ducks
The Cougars gave the Ducks a stiff challenge last year at Martin Stadium. The Cougs hung in until a pick late in the third quarter gave the Ducks the ball and momentum. This year's game should be more exciting. That being said I predicted this was going to be a loss back in December and I still think it will be. Despite losing to LSU, the Ducks have proven that they still know how to win (see demolition of California at home) The Cougs should be hard charging, and their offense should keep them in the game until late in the fourth quarter. However, I see the Ducks scoring a TD late in the fourth to seal the deal.
WSU 35-UO 49
After the Oregon game the games get tougher to predict. The Pac-12 has two really dominate teams at the top, and a really bad team at the bottom. In between, is the muddled middle. Where any-given-Saturday is not a cliche.
Saturday November 5th WSU Cougars @ Cal Golden Bears (game @ AT&T Park)
We played the Golden Bears tough last season. We had a settled QB situation, they did not. So this past off-season Tedford and company set out to recruit their next QB. And they found him in Zack Maynard. He has proven to be an effective leader on the field while guiding the bears to a 3-2 start. Their victories include an over-time thriller over Colorado, a thrashing of Presbyterian and a drubbing of Fresno State. They also had a close loss at Husky Stadium and they have also been blown out by the Ducks of Oregon at Autzen. I pegged this game as a loss back in December, because Cal's stifling of the Ducks offense was still fresh in my memory. And Maynard's play only seemed to confirm my prediction. Then the Bears traveled to Autzen, now I'm not so sure.
WSU 31-Cal 34 (I see a lot of overtimes in this game)
Saturday November 12th ASU Sun Devils @ WSU Cougars (Dad's weekend)
Getting shutout and blown out in Tempe really, really sucked last year. So it would be nice to deliver some revenge this year in Pullman wouldn't it? Well, I had this game pegged as a loss. And that is before the Devils found themselves in the top 25. They are at the top of the Pac's muddled middle. A solid defense and an pretty good offense has helped the Devils kick the snot out of USC and beat Mizzou. The Sun Devils SHOULD get a victory at Martin. However, winning a game in Pullman in November is no easy task. Can the Cougs pull off (what should be) an upset?
ASU 45-WSU 35
Saturday November 19th UU Utes @ WSU Cougars (final home game of the season)
The Utes looked to be a pretty good team, one that looked to contend for the Pac-12 south crown, heading into this season, which is why I pegged this game as a loss in December. The Utes looked like contenders against the Trojans. Then, they ran into Chris Polk and the University of Washington Huskies. They were demolished in the second half as Polk posted ANOTHER 100+ yard performance. And the Utes lost QB Jordan Wynn for an indeterminate amount of time with an injury to his shoulder.
UU 28-WSU 31 <=Oh hey look bowl eligibility. How we have missed you..
-An interesting side note: the Utes were the first team to play in Martin Stadium on September 30th, 1972. They will be the last team to visit Martin Stadium before the new press box and suites are constructed (unless the Cougs host the Pac-12 championship this season. If that were to happen I would never wear pants again)
Saturday November 26th WSU Cougars @ UW Huskies (Apple Cup @ Century Link Field)
Chris Polk demolished the Cougs last year, to the tune of 220+ yards rushing. This game makes me nervous. So I chalked it up as a loss. And I am not willing to change that prediction (can't forget about Keith Price and the UW WRs either) until our defense faces a real rushing attack. We will learn more about the Cougar defense after the UCLA game. Until then..
WSU 45-UW 48
According to my above predictions (who knows if they are right anyway....) WSU will finish 6-6 and 4-5 in Pac-12 play. After watching the Cougs play this season, has you guys' opinion on this team's chances of making a bowl changed since my first fanpost?