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2021 WSU football schedule: another Black Friday Apple Cup, two blocks of three home games

Overall, not a bad slate for what will hopefully be a full season this fall.

Washington State v USC Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It took until early March, a couple months later than usual, but we finally have a complete look at the Washington State Cougars football schedule for this coming fall. Overall ... I like it! This is not an emotion I usually have about the Washington State football schedule!

The early season USC Trojans visit to Pullman we saw coming from a mile away given they were the only other Pac-12 team without a game that weekend. The conference indicated they wouldn’t be rebalancing the schedules given last year’s weirdness; they’re going to plow ahead like nothing happened. This is why the Cougs will go to Salt Lake City for the third consecutive year to play the Utah Utes, although at least this time it’s in September. The Cougs hit the road again the following week to Berkeley for their annual allotment of The Cal Bulls**t with the Cal Golden Bears.

After that, it’s the second of three straight weekend blocks, beginning with a visit from the Oregon State Beavers followed by the Stanford Cardinal. Then, finally, the BYU Cougars make the return trip after WSU played them in Mike Leach’s debut game in 2012 in Provo. It really has been that long and that many times that BYU has pushed this game out. The Cougs then hit the road for Halloween weekend action in Tempe against the Arizona St. Sun Devils (alums everywhere rejoice).

The Cougs get their bye before heading to the Willamette Valley to take on the Oregon Ducks and then it’s a short week before they welcome the Arizona Wildcats to Pullman for a Friday night tilt ahead of Thanksgiving break. As ever, the Apple Cup is on Black Friday, this year taking place in Seattle because, again, the Pac-12 will not rebalance for the cancelled game last year.

Yes, the two blocks of three straight games is tough but the Cougs get all but one of their home games in before the weather and the passes turn truly terrible. I have a distinct feeling too that, assuming things are back to relatively normal by then, there will be so much pent up demand for Pullman, it won’t really matter for a lot of folks that they need to hit the road three weekends in a row.

What this schedule does scream is needing to get your wins banked before Halloween weekend. The final four games on WSU’s schedule feature only one truly winnable game (side note: this is Arizona third straight November game in Pullman. Like ... how? Who did they upset?) with three on the road. Granted, you get a bye before trekking to Autzen Stadium but I would’ve much preferred that earlier in the season, maybe to break up that October block of home games.

If WSU wants to get back to a bowl game in 2021, they’re really going to need to win at least five games before they head to Tempe. Doing that probably requires stealing one from somebody and since we’re averse to ever predicting anything about a trip to Berkeley, the most likely place that would come is probably in SLC.

Still though, this is a pretty good setup for Washington State. The early home games to keep the chances of adverse weather most at bay, BYU finally closing the book on the back half of the home-and-home, late October in Tempe, and Arizona having to play in subfreezing temperatures again.

WSU 2021 Football

Date Opponent Location
Date Opponent Location
Sept. 4 Utah State Aggies Pullman, WA
Sept. 11 Portland State Vikings Pullman, WA
Sept. 18 USC Trojans Pullman, WA
Sept. 25 Utah Utes Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 2 Cal Golden Bears Berkeley, CA
Oct. 9 Oregon State Beavers Pullman, WA
Oct. 16 Stanford Cardinal Pullman, WA
Oct. 23 BYU Cougars Pullman, WA
Oct. 30 Arizona State Sun Devils Tempe, AZ
Nov. 13 Oregon Ducks Eugene, OR
Nov. 19 (Friday) Arizona Wildcats Pullman, WA
Nov. 26 (Friday) Washington Huskies Seattle, WA