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Predicting the 2018 WSU season

With the Cougars ready to kick off the season tomorrow, each author weighed in on how he sees the season going down.

This is the latest in our series of stories previewing the 2018 Washington State Cougars football season. For other installments, click here.


There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the 2018 WSU Cougars, and if the CougCenter authors’ predictions for the upcoming season are any indication, it might not turn out great for our boys in Crimson and Gray.

Of our 13 authors to offer their predictions for the season, just five are predicting a fourth consecutive bowl for the Cougs, and only one thought WSU could get to the eight wins they’ve achieved in each of the past three seasons.

However, nine of the 13 authors believe the Cougs will be within one win (in either direction) of bowl eligibility, which could indicate that this is setting up to be a nail biter of a season. Another couple of ways to look at it that leads you to the same conclusion: The median number of predicted wins is five, and if we treat each game’s aggregate prediction as a win probability, the authors have predicted 5.5 wins.

Let’s just hope bowl eligibility isn’t riding on the Apple Cup ...

CougCenter Authors’ 2018 Predictions

Author @WYO SJSU EWU @USC Utah @OSU ORE @STAN CAL @COL ARIZ UW TOTAL
Author @WYO SJSU EWU @USC Utah @OSU ORE @STAN CAL @COL ARIZ UW TOTAL
Jesse Cassino WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU WSU STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 8-4
Scott Cresswell WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU ORE STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 7-5
Zane Murfitt WSU WSU WSU USC WSU WSU ORE STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 7-5
Brian Anderson WSU WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU WSU STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 7-5
Jeff Collier WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU WSU STAN WSU COL WSU UW 6-6
Kevin Dudley WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU ORE STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 5-7
Mark Sandritter WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU ORE STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 5-7
Nick Nordi WSU WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU ORE STAN WSU COL ARIZ UW 5-7
Craig Powers WYO WSU WSU USC WSU WSU ORE STAN WSU COL ARIZ UW 5-7
PJ Kendall WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU ORE STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 5-7
Michael Preston WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU ORE STAN CAL WSU ARIZ UW 4-8
Jeff Nusser WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH OSU ORE STAN WSU WSU ARIZ UW 4-8
Kyle Sherwood WYO WSU WSU USC UTAH WSU ORE STAN CAL WSU ARIZ UW 4-8
% Picking WSU 38% 100% 100% 0% 31% 92% 23% 0% 85% 77% 8% 0%

Explain yourself!

Jesse Cassino: USC just has too much talent to overcome on the road. Getting Utah and Oregon at home early is good, because I think both are a little overhyped. Stanford is going to be tough, probably come down to a field goal again. Cal should be fun/infuriating like it always seems to be. Colorado and OSU should be wins, Khalil Tate terrifies me, and also Apple Cup things will happen.

Scott Cresswell: Minshew steps and leads talented offense while Claeys’ defense over-achieves. Cougars take advantage of a favorable schedule to go to a bowl game.

Zane Murfitt: Even with concerns around depth on defense, I think the floor of this roster has been elevated and this is a 6-6 team that steals one to get to 7-5.

Brian Anderson: Pretty cool spot to be if a rebuilding year is still (feasibly) six wins. Utah, USC, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona and UW are all games where WSU will likely be real heavy underdogs. Steal one and win the games they should and six can happen. It could also go sideways real fast...this year feels like 2012, anywhere from 4-7 wins wouldn’t surprise me a whole lot. Just don’t know what this team is yet.

Jeff Collier: There’s a lot of potential here, but I don’t see this team becoming a world beater. Overall this is a talented team, but they have serious issues at too many spots. I just don’t know if they have enough to get past 6 or 7 wins this season.

Kevin Dudley: WSU lost way too much from last season — players and coaches — for me to pick anything more than five wins. I think getting six wins will be a huge accomplishment, given the offseason WSU experienced. The good news is WSU’s recruiting has improved these last three years, so this isn’t 2012 all over again. Consider 2018 a bridge to better things on the other side.

Mark Sandritter: I see WSU as a favorite in five games and underdog in six with one toss up. I have the Cougs winning the tossup, but losing the season opener as a favorite with the rest of the season being chalk.

Nick Nordi: Lack of experience in key positions leads to a rough season and no bowl game. Utah and Colorado are winnable depending on quarterback protection and play, but don’t count on it.

Craig Powers: Well, picking 5-7 is no fun. I was tempted to make Colorado the 6th win, but that elevation is tough to deal with. Same for Laramie, and we know how Leach’s first games go. Here’s hoping I’m overly pessimistic, and not sadly optimistic.

PJ Kendall: If WSU gets six wins with those lines, Leach should be in the running for Coach of the Year. I won’t be shocked if they somehow win seven. I won’t be surprised in they win two.

Jeff Nusser: I like to remind people that college athletes are still developing as humans, and that they’re not professional athletes. Ultimately, I think the upheaval of the offseason, which included the death of Tyler Hilinski — whose absence will be conspicuous, whether the school wants to plainly acknowledge that or not — is too much for this relatively inexperienced squad to overcome.

Michael Preston: There’s a path to six wins but there are, like, knights guarding bridges and nymphs that make you solve riddles to pass and junk.

Kyle Sherwood: Back to “4-8 Until Proven Otherwise.”

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Complete Coverage: WSU vs. Utah

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