The Washington State Cougars aim to go 4-0 for the first time since 2001 when they host the Nevada Wolf Pack in Martin Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars are coming off a 52-23 win over Oregon State, while the Wolf Pack are recovering from a 30-28 loss to Idaho State of the FCS.
That was the first win over an FBS opponent since 2000 for Idaho State. The Wolf Pack came up short on a two-point conversion after fa rantic second-half comeback from down 30-7.
Does a loss to an FCS school guarantee further losses? WSU fans know that’s not true. However, the Wolf Pack now stand at 0-3 on the season and place 109th in the Football Outsiders F/+ rankings (WSU is 32nd). Vegas installed the Cougs as 25.5 point favorites over Nevada, a number that has risen to 28 or 28.5 in some places.
What I’m trying to say is this is a game that the Cougs should win, and win big. That’s never been a guarantee under head coach Mike Leach, but past inexplicable stumbles have come in the first two games of the season. In game four, Leach’s WSU teams have typically looked better.
Still, USC looms on Friday for Wazzu, and there is potential for the Cougs to overlook the Wolf Pack. If that’s the case, the good news is there is a lot of room for error. Cougar fans would rather they use none of that room for error and come out and take care of business quickly.
Game time: 3 p.m. PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks