Good morning, Cougar fans. We made it. There are just six days left. The final 2016 Saturday without football (I don't count an FCS game) is in the rearview mirror. It's been a long journey, but we're out of the woods. This offseason has been a bit more fun than past ones, partially because it was shorter than most of them due to the bowl game, and largely because there is legitimate optimism surrounding our favorite team.
As I touched on yesterday, several college football writers weighed in this past week on WSU's prospects for 2016. While you have to wait another couple days for our staff's predictions, let's see what the folks at CBS and Fox Sports think. In short, they all think WSU can be as good or better than 2015. First, Bruce Feldman believes the Cougs will win nine games again, and finish in third place.
Former walk-on QB Luke Falk proved a Godsend for Wazzu. He brought much-needed leadership and presence to the Cougars’ offense. They should be even more explosive this fall, but the defensive front is undersized and pretty thin to expect them to be able to win a very good division.
Stewart Mandel has similar sentiments, though he thinks WSU and Washington will finish in a tie for second place behind Stanford.
QB Luke Falk and WR Gabe Marks highlight what should be another prolific Mike Leach offense, and the Cougars’ D keeps getting better.
Finally, the folks at CBS Sports all pegged WSU for either third or fourth in the Pac-12 North. The common theme among all of these folks is that the North is easily the strongest division. Dennis Dodd believes that WSU is the conference's most underrated team.
Raise your hand if you knew the Cougars won nine games last year and tied for the third-best conference record in the league at 6-3. Mike Leach is just getting it ramped up in Year 5 in Pullman. Quarerback Luke Falk chucked it around more than anyone (644 throws). Receiver Gabe Marks has All-America ability. Who cares if the Cougs have to outscore everyone? They're my dark horse to win the North.
One interesting nugget in the CBS preview came last, when one writer predicted that three Pac-12 South coaches would leave or be fired after the season. For a conference that has been relatively stable of late (only two coaches have been fired in five seasons) that would be a pretty big shakeup.
Well, now we actually get to see how all of these predictions play out. Football is here. Let's go.
Though Kupp did not receive a scholarship from either of the state’s Pac-12 schools after playing his high school ball in Yakima, he still caught three touchdown passes in Husky Stadium two years ago.
No hard feelings, but life is better in Cheney for two former Washington State football players.
Best beer I had this week: Picked up a bomber of Cigar City's special release Marshall Zhukov's Imperial Stout a few weeks back. I'd heard that it wasn't great right out of the bottle, so I let it sit for a while. I don't know if that made a difference, but man, it was excellent.
The upscale drift of beverage markets in the developed world cuts the wrong way for big U.S. brewers.
I got out of the Facebook game in 2011. It appears that I haven't missed much.