On Wednesday, we predicted the Cougars opening game against BYU. Despite a strong profile, BYU was considered no match with WSU garnering 71 percent of the vote. Today's prediction looks at WSU's only FCS opponent in 2012, the Eastern Washington Eagles.
2011 record: 6-5
2011 away record: 4-3
Returning starters: 16
All-time record vs. WSU: 0-2
I was surprised to see that WSU and EWU have only played twice considering their close proximity. The Cougars won both games by a combined score of 119-0, although the games occurred in 1907 and 1908.
Eastern closed their 2011 season strong winning six of their last seven games. They lose arguably their two best players in safety Matt Johnson and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, but they will return 16 starters and 53 letterwinners. At quarterback, the Eagles will have a familiar name to WSU. Kyle Padron, who the Cougars faced in 2010 while he was at SMU, transferred to Eastern and will likely be their starting quarterback come September 8.
I don't remember much about Padron, but I do remember Mike Leach's description of a play when Padron attempted to pick up a fumble and throw it. Leach was serving as TV analyst and said, "When he picks it up here, he needs to throw it out of bounds as far as he can and try to hit the tuba player in the stands in the face."
The first home game of the Mike Leach era, unveiling the new Cougar Football Project and likely some terrific early September weather. Maybe instead of a "who will win" poll, I should post a "who is going" poll.