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2017 WSU Football Preview: Prediction time!

Each of the authors weighs in on how he sees the season playing out.

This is the end of our series of stories previewing the 2017 Washington State Cougars football season. For previous installments, click here.

In terms of national perception, the Washington State Cougars enter the 2017 season more highly thought of than at any time in the last 15 years, having been ranked No. 24 by the Associated Press in its preseason poll.

And yet ... the CougCenter authors aren’t quite buying all the hype — especially compared to last year, when four different authors picked the team to go 10-2, with one outlier at 11-1. This year, more than half the authors picked either 8-4 or 7-5, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider Vegas’ odds makers set the Cougs’ total at 7.5.

In terms of interesting individual games, 40 percent of our authors picked Montana State in the opener. Whether they actually believe that, or just are having a little fun ... well, you’ll have to read the explanations after the table. The authors were unanimous in their picks of WSU over Oregon State, Nevada, Cal, Colorado and Arizona, while skepticism abounds for USC, Utah and UW.

2017 WSU Football Predictions

Author MSU BSU OSU NEV USC @ORE @CAL COL @ARI STAN @UTAH @UW
Author MSU BSU OSU NEV USC @ORE @CAL COL @ARI STAN @UTAH @UW
Michael Preston (7-5) WSU BSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU STAN UTAH UW
Kyle Sherwood (6-6) MSU BSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU STAN UTAH UW
Jesse Cassino (9-3) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU STAN WSU UW
Chet Broberg (7-5) WSU BSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU STAN UTAH UW
Mark Sandritter (8-4) MSU WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU UTAH UW
PJ Kendall (7-5) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC ORE WSU WSU WSU STAN UTAH UW
Zane Murfitt (7-5) MSU WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU STAN UTAH UW
Brian Anderson (9-3) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU UTAH UW
Nick Nordi (9-3) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC ORE WSU WSU WSU WSU UTAH WSU
Kevin Dudley (8-4) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC ORE WSU WSU WSU WSU UTAH UW
Scott Cresswell (9-3) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC ORE WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU UW
Jeff Collier (8-4) WSU WSU WSU WSU USC ORE WSU WSU WSU STAN WSU UW
Jeff Nusser (10-2) MSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU UW
Britton Ransford (9-3) MSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU UTAH UW
Craig Powers (8-4) MSU WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU WSU WSU UTAH UW

EXPLAIN YOURSELF

Britton Ransford: Do I really think WSU will lose to an FCS program for the third straight year? Probably not, but I don't like to bet against near certainties. Thanks to a record setting offense, though, WSU rattles off nine straight wins to set up a top-15 matchup with the Utes, in which they lose on a last second field goal. Not a terrible loss, but it stings with undefeated UW looming. And we all know how that ends. Another good, not great year of what-ifs, but at least Falk gets picked on day one?

Craig Powers: I'm not getting burned by an FCS team again. I'm all in on Montana State. Throwing darts blindfolded for the rest, I see that I picked USC. I sense a tough battle that ultimately ends in heartbreak. Looking at the rest, I get the feeling the PAC-12 doesn't have a lot of heavyweights, so I'm inclined to pick the Cougs at home the rest of the way. Season ends similarly to 2016 with a loss in the mountains and misery against Purple. Bring on the Foster Farms Bowl.

Jeff Nusser: Do I think WSU will lose to Montana State? No. Am I changing things up because I think the best way to deal with losing to FCS schools is to laugh about it? YOU BETCHA. I went for the ceiling at 10-2, but I think 9-3 is where my head is actually at — probably lose to USC and UW, and then probably drop either Stanford or Utah. Hopefully not both. For what it’s worth, I’d be ecstatic with 9-3 and a shot at 10 wins in a bowl game.

Jesse Cassino: I took USC because on a Friday night under the lights, I think they'll be primed and ready to go. Stanford worries me with their size and power against #SpeedD. And then the Apple Cup.... well.... I'm a slow learner, but I learn. Everybody else I think we're strictly better than, and we seem to have Utah's number for whatever reason.

Kevin Dudley: My picks were mostly all about the opponent. We know what WSU can do, even with green receivers. USC is top-2 in the Pac-12, the Oregon game is in Eugene, Utah's offense is going to be terrific and difficult to stop (same offense EWU ran last year with better athletes all around) and UW is also top-2 in the conference. Of the four losses I have, the most winnable one is against Oregon. Also, we'll score 70 against Cal. The Bears will be coming off consecutive games against USC, Oregon and UW and their terrible defenders might be dead by the time they play WSU.

Kyle Sherwood: Consider these picks as motivation. The floor is incredibly high, but until proven otherwise, the Cougs will lose all games that matter.

Michael Preston: WSU wins the games they should be favored in, loses the ones they won't be. For whatever reason, seems to be cut and dry for me in that regard this year.

P.J. Kendall: Pretty simple for me. The 2015 team was better than the 2016 team was better than this team. I'll be disappointed with 7-5, but not having a bye until mid-November will really hurt given their lack of depth.

Scott Cresswell: Cougs get revenge on BSU and Colorado but fall to the top 10 PAC-12 heavyweights. Magic against Oregon ends this year with departure of Helfrich.

Zane Murfitt: The final 3 games are brutal for WSU. I’m worried about the pass rush and depth on defense, but also second guessing picking us to lose to Stanford. If I’m in an optimistic mood and the Cougs stay healthy I can talk myself into 9-3 or even 10-2.

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