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Is matchup with Cal a trap game for Washington State?

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The Cougs are on a roll as they visit Berkeley

NCAA Football: Nevada at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The undefeated Washington State Cougars will attempt to win their seventh straight game tonight as they face off against Cal. While the Golden Bears appear to be in a downward spiral, should fans be scared of the Friday night matchup?

A short week doesn’t make things easier and as we’ve been told, a Friday night road game following a Saturday road game is fundamentally unfair. Additionally, air quality in Berkeley is likely going to be mediocre at best, and the Golden Bears have wins over North Carolina and Ole Miss.

Thursday, CougFan reported that linebacker Nate DeRider will be out for the year. Redshirt freshman Justus Rogers is likely to start at inside linebacker alongside fellow freshman Jahad Woods. The inexperience is a concern but the pair held up just fine last week against Oregon.

Two weeks ago this game really concerned me, but today? Not so much. Cal has stalled out in Pac-12 play and was completely inept offensively last week against Washington. The Golden Bears are riddled with injuries, and have to face another tough defense this week.

Based on the way things have gone for the last two weeks, WSU should win this game with relative ease. The scenario might scare you a bit but the result should never be in doubt after halftime.

How do you all see this one playing out?

*****

Football:

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In five years at Washington State, Erik Powell has experienced ebbs and flows – just about every ebb and every flow and kicker can endure, really – but this is his best season yet, and it’s not by coincidence that the Cougars are in the midst of a pretty strong one themselves.

Cal OC Beau Baldwin has beaten WSU before, so No. 8 Cougars not overlooking Golden Bears | The Seattle Times
Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin knows a thing or two about defeating the Cougs. He did it last year, when he was head coach at Eastern Washington.

Washington State Cougars' defense has Mike Leach willing to punt - College Football Nation Blog- ESPN
Long averse to the kicking game, a top-15 defense and an extremely effective kicker has Washington State coach Mike Leach less likely to go for it.

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Hey, yet another way college football is kind of like soccer!

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The pick: Why Washington State will beat Cal | The Spokesman-Review
Is there a trap game on WSU’s schedule? Is this it?

Homecoming for the ‘Hot Boy$’: What the Cal game means for WSU’s ‘mean’ secondary | The Seattle Times
Seniors Marcellus Pippins and Robert Taylor constitute the Bay Area half of WSU's 'Hot Boy$' defensive secondary, and they're excited to play on the road but in front of some 'home' fans.

Washington State defense looks to crank it up another notch as Cougars seek 7-0 start to season | The Spokesman-Review
Dylan Hanser means no disrespect to the rowdy home crowd Washington State gets at Martin Stadium, but the senior linebacker has reason to believe it’s actually easier to play defense when the Cougars are on the road. Just hear him out.