Good morning. We now sit just 48 days from the start of another Cougar football season. Pretty soon Media Days will be here, followed by training camp. Once we get there, the season is in plain view and all is right with the world once again. Until then, all we can do is talk about what we think could or will happen.
Today, with the Gamble-Tron still sitting in the backyard shed collecting dust and mouse droppings, we'll attempt to predict the point spreads for each WSU game. While it's about as reliable as bowl projections, there's no harm in trying. There are a couple WSU games out there with spreads attached (Colorado and UW), but we'll start from scratch. Here goes:
Boise St at WSU (-3): The Cougs should be coming off an
extraordinary win which is so cathartic that the fans tear down the goalposts and carry them to the Palouse River opening win for the first time in the Leach era. Boise State opens with Troy, who went 10-3 in 2016. They will be tested. This smells like the classic, "we don't know who will win so just go with the home team (-3)" scenario.
Oregon State at WSU (-10.5): Not the easiest opening run for the Beavs, as they start in Fort Collins, and face the boat rowers before heading to Pullman. If they get through 3-0, this could be a bit test for WSU. They should get through 2-1, but WSU is still a good bit better.
Nevada at WSU (-17): New coach. New offense. Best running back transferred. It's going to be a long year for the Wolfpack. Possible look-ahead spot for WSU here, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're not firing on all cylinders.
USC (-9.5) at WSU: If we're being honest, both teams should enter this game unbeaten. Will they? Well, aside from the fact that WSU automatically loses its opener, Boise will provide a big test. As for USC, they'll have faced Stanford and what should be an improved Texas team. Both of those games are in LA, however.
WSU at Oregon (-4): Oregon is probably the conference's biggest wildcard. Still, I expect the odds-makers to give them the benefit of the doubt, unless the wheels come completely off the bus. While that could happen, I don't think it will.
WSU at Cal (pick 'em): I think Cal will stink this season. They'll also be coming off an ass-whipping in Seattle. On the other hand, it's very possible that WSU will enter this game having lost two in a row, on a short week, on the back end of two straight road games. The odds-makers will definitely take note.
Colorado at WSU (-2.5): While Colorado will take a big step back this season, they should enter this game with at least four wins. This almost seems like a pivot point for both of these teams. If WSU gets by Cal, this line will be around a field goal. If they don't, it will be closer to even.
WSU (-3.5) at Arizona: Homecoming in Tucson! If Arizona doesn't suffer its usual spate of injuries, this line could be flipped. Rich Rodriguez is too good of a coach to let the losing continue, isn't he? ISN'T HE? The Cougs have been successful in Tucson of late. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.
Stanford (-6) at WSU: Despite the results of the last two years, in which Stanford was heavily favored, I think Vegas still sees this as somewhat of a mismatch. They believe in Stanford a lot more, and the Cardinal should be pretty good again.
WSU at Utah (-5): Bill Simmons calls lines between four and six the "Vegas Zone." They don't know what to do with the matchup, but they do like the home team, so they make a line between a field goal and a touchdown. Despite the fact that Utah always plays November as if they've come down with the flu, Vegas still loves the Rice-Eccles home field advantage.
WSU at Washington (-16.5): Sigh. Lay the points and hang Christmas lights.
So that's a lot of games with spreads inside of a touchdown. Set pucker factor to 99.9, and hang on.
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