Good morning, Coug fans. Your Washington State Cougars are in Palo Alto today to take on the 24th-ranked Stanford Cardinal in a game that is ripe for a letdown. Of course, the Cougs were in a similar position last year coming off an upset of USC. The Cougs then went on the road to Eugene and came home with a 33-10 victory. I know the letdown narrative fills space and air time, but they still have to play the game.
As Jesse pointed out this week, the Cougs will have to deal with Stanford’s vertical game, assuming its run game is still in the dumps, despite boasting Bryce Love. The Cougs bottled up Stanford’s run game last year for the most part, save for that one long Love touchdown.
The Cougs are bringing the nation’s top passing offense to Palo Alto with Gardner Minshew II leading the way. Stanford’s passing defense ranks 98th in the nation (The Oregon Ducks are 97th, for comparison’s sake). This clearly isn’t the same Stanford team from the past few seasons, but it’s still Stanford and it also boasts a win over Oregon.
But, as Jeff pointed out yesterday, Stanford’s red zone defense is its bright spot. WSU’s red zone offense is quite good, so something has to give.
A win today keeps WSU in the College Football Playoff discussion, which is fun despite the long odds. The first CFP rankings come out next Tuesday, for those keeping score at home.
The betting line hasn’t moved much on this game, but as someone who is awful at predicting things, I’m still saying the Cougs win by 14 or more. Let’s do this.
Three Bold Predictions
Speaking of being awful at predicting things....
- WSU overcomes exactly a 10-point deficit to win by 14 or more.
- Jamire Calvin reintroduces himself with two touchdown catches and 75 or more yards receiving.
- WSU will commit ZERO pass interference penalties. I said these are BOLD predictions!
Here are Calvin’s stats from the past three games:
- Oregon: one catch, eight yards
- Oregon State: one catch, three yards
- Utah: one catch, eight yards
Here are Calvin’s stats from the four games prior to Utah:
- USC: seven catches, 63 yards
- Eastern Washington: six catches, 70 yards
- San Jose State: four catches, 36 yards
- Wyoming: five catches, 82 yards
Calvin hasn’t caught a touchdown pass but that’s not the main thing. His production has dropped big time since the USC game. Why? I don’t know.
Jamire, my man: This is your reintroduction, in your home state. Let’s make it happen.
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This makes you think:
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Don’t confuse Week 9 for a lazy Saturday, there are still a lot of important games.