After an unmarred non-conference schedule, the Washington State Cougars will have the nation watching Friday night as they host the USC Trojans. This top-16 matchup has garnered attention from media outlets across the country as they weigh in on who will come away with the victory.
The 16th ranked Cougs are officially 3.5 point underdogs, but that has not stopped plenty of prognosticators from picking an upset over the 5th ranked Trojans. Colin Cowherd was one of the trend setters, picking a WSU win on Wednesday.
Sports Illustrated’s panel of 7 experts were split 4-3 over who would win the premier Pac-12 game of the week. Bruce Feldman, who cowrote Mike Leach’s first book, is worried about how the WSU defense will stand up without the injured Peyton Pelluer. He predicted a USC road win.
Locally, Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times picked a one point WSU victory. A close final score is a common theme with many of these predictions.
While a surprising amount of people are predicting a WSU win, the talking heads haven’t reached a consensus. Both of the pickers at the ESPN Pac-12 blog, Kyle Bonagura and Edward Aschoff, think that USC will win a one possession game.
I’ve never been this excited for a Cougar football game in my four years at WSU. The only games that came close to this feeling, were the last two apple cups, which gives me pause. I also don’t love the added pressure of people expecting us to win. That’s new, and perhaps in this case unfair. My brain keeps telling me that WSU is going to lose this game, and that it won’t really be close.
Sam Darnold is going to stop throwing interceptions eventually, and Mike Leach’s WSU teams haven’t had a signature win over a highly ranked team...yet.
But screw it, USC isn’t clicking on offense and Martin Stadium will be rocking all night if the defense can force a stop on the Trojans first drive. Cougs take an early 14-0 lead, and hold off Darnold’s heroics. I say WSU wins 38-28.
How do you see tonight’s game unfolding?
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