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Cougars set to face Cal, scoreboard lights in peril

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WSU welcomes the Cal Bears into Martin Stadium tonight for the culmination of Homecoming. There's a decent possibility that the game won't end until Sunday.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Cougar fans, and welcome to game day. Fall is officially here. How do I know? The temperature dipped all the way to 60 degrees here in Northwest Florida last night. Talk about a cold snap. Once the game ends tonight (or possibly tomorrow given the offenses playing) the season will already be half over. It really is amazing how long it seemingly takes the season to get here, only to have it fly by.

The Cougs obviously haven't started the way we were hoping and expecting they would, but they have a chance tonight to even their record and give us fans some positive vibes as we enter the second half of the schedule. While predicting the outcomes of games played by college kids is largely an exercise in futility, one thing we do know is that the Cougar team that takes the field tonight will be vastly improved from the one we saw against Rutgers and Nevada. If that improvement continues, the second half of the season has a chance to yield much better results.

Speaking of predictions, let's take a look at how confident the writers who cover the conference in WSU beating Cal tonight.

Jacob Thorpe: What happens when two of the nation’s leading passers face a pair of young secondaries? The only certainty is a game that threatens to go past midnight. WSU 41-35.

Bud Withers: Maybe I’m missing something, but if the Cougars play to the level of the past two weeks (minus the ungodly first 10 minutes at Utah), that’s a better team than Cal, even at 3-1 for the Bears. To me, the game boils down to a single key — how much pressure the Cougars can get on Jared Goff. They’ve been pretty good at that the past two weeks. Washington State 44, Cal 31

Christian Caple: For those wondering, the over/under on this game has been set at 77.5. It’s possible these teams could top that by halftime. Anyway, the Cougars’ season outlook appears a little brighter now after last week’s come-from-behind victory over Utah, and Cal managed to right itself after that brutal loss to Arizona with a double-overtime win over Colorado. Two weeks ago, I probably would have taken Cal. But WSU’s offense, playing at home against a weak defense, should be enough to get the Cougars to 3-3. The pick: WSU 52, California 49.

Jon Wilner: Raid + Raid = fun. But even games with 100 passes and 100 points come down to control of the line of scrimmage, and in that regard it’s advantage to the Cougars. The over/under (75) isn’t as laughably low as it was for Cal-Colorado, but it’s still low. Pick: Washington State.

Why Washington State will win: Both teams score points in bunches, and I like Cal’s superior balance, but this one will come down to which defense can make a few stops. While, statistically, the defenses are comparable, what the Cougars did against Oregon and Utah suggests it has a better chance to throw the decisive blow (or two).

Hoo boy. Well, as you can see, there is a ton of confidence in the Cougs to come away with a win. Heck, all but one CougCenter staff writer picked WSU to win as well. Who's the jerk that went with Cal? Don't answer that. Enjoy your glorious fall Saturday everyone.

Football

WSU, Cal match up passing games - Spokesman.com - Oct. 3, 2014
It’s fitting that the stars will be easily viewed during tonight’s game between California and Washington State, even if some offensive pyrotechnics over Martin Stadium might make the heavens hard to see.

Cal-Washington State shapes up as offensive showdown - SFGate
Standing in the north end zone after Thursday’s practice, Cal head coach Sonny Dykes recalled a game from 11 years ago.

Cal and Washington State: Raiders of the Offensive Sort - Pacific Takes
Anyway, Connor Halliday is throwing for 463 yards a game with a 67% completion percentage. To borrow a phrase from the late Bill King, never in my wildest alcoholic nightmares would I have imagined a quarterback averaging 450 yards a game. But Halliday does it, and he could be even better at it, which is even more frightening to a suspect Cal defensive backfield.

Cal hopes RB Daniel Lasco can help keep ball away from Washington State - San Jose Mercury News
Running back Daniel Lasco no longer wears soccer shin guards on his forearms, but the physical style he avoided as a pee-wee player did not truly emerge until he was challenged by his coaches at Cal.

It's Air Raid vs. Bear Raid when Cougars host Cal
Expect a whole lot of offense when Mike Leach pits his "Air Raid" offense against Sonny Dykes' "Bear Raid" on Saturday.

David Yost Speaks at Cougar Athletic Fund Coaches Luncheon - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The 2014 Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF) Coaches Luncheon series continued, Friday, with talks from Inside Receivers Coach David Yost (pictured above) and Director of Athletics Bill Moos.

Ol' Crimson

Washington State super fans make their way to Oxford - RebelGrove.com

I was fortunate enough to tailgate in The Grove and take an in Ole Miss game in 2012, when they hosted Texas. Both the town and the tailgating scene were nothing short of incredible. If you ever get a chance to go to Oxford for a football weekend, do not pass it up.

Non-Revenue

How about that Cougar soccer team? They started off the weekend in excellent fashion by going to Berkeley and defeating Cal. This marks the first time WSU Soccer has defeated a Top-10 team on the road. The win puts WSU atop the Pac-12 standings.

Oh Canada, Cougars Win in Berkeley! - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Chelsea Harkins picked an ideal time for her first-career goal. The freshman from Surrey, British Columbia score in the 81st minute to give Washington State (7-0-2, 2-0-0 Pac-12) a 1-0 victory at No. 9 California (9-2-0, 1-1-0 Pac-12), Friday afternoon.

Washington State Slips Past No. 12 Cal, 1-0 - California Golden Bears - University of California Official Athletic Site
No. 12 California suffered its first loss in conference play as unbeaten Washington State slipped past the Golden Bears with a 1-0 victory at Goldman Field Friday afternoon.

Homecoming Heartbreak for Cougar Volleyball - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The Washington State volleyball team (9-6, 0-3) fell in five sets Friday night to No. 19 USC (8-6, 1-3) before a Homecoming crowd of 1,043 in Bohler Gym. USC won with set scores of 20-25, 25-19, 27-25, 20-25 and 15-11.

Men's Basketball

Cougars Open 2014-15 Season with First Practice - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
First-year head coach Ernie Kent and the Washington State University men’s basketball team held its first official practice of the 2014-15 season, Friday

Beer

Supersize can is next big thing in craft beer | The Miami Herald
I just can't get behind a 32-ounce can of craft beer, said the Communist.

Non-Sports

Kicking the Facebook Habit - NYTimes.com
I dumped Facebook more than two years ago, and I don't miss it in the least. That said, be sure and "Like" CougCenter's Facebook page!