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Athlon Sports previews WSU

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College football preview season rolls on and Athlon Sports took a closer look at the Cougars.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

We're still in the relatively early stages of college football preview season, but the countdowns and top teams lists continue to roll on. WSU got some preview treatment on Thursday with Athlon Sports taking a closer look at the Cougars.

There isn't much new information, but the preview does a good job of giving an accurate overview of where things stand. The bad news is the Cougars are still ranked outside the top 50, checking in at No. 56. The good news is that is a 12 spot improvement from last season when Athlon pegged WSU as the No. 68 team. WSU is predicted to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North, which is where I would expect nearly every publication to slot the Cougars. They might get a couple of fourth place projections ahead of Oregon State, but I wouldn't expect many.

Here is Athlon's "final analysis" on WSU in 2014:

Leach has engineered a quick turnaround in Pullman, guiding the Cougars back to a bowl game in his second season. He has eliminated the losing culture and given the program an identity. Leach's third season figures to be similar to his second. The Cougs, with a senior quarterback and solid corps of receivers, will score a ton of points, but the defense remains an issue. Washington State can be a consistent bowl team as it's currently constructed but will need to improve on defense to emerge as a contender in the tough Pac-12 North.

What are your thoughts on the No. 56 ranking?

Football:

2014 College Football Rankings: #56 Washington State | AthlonSports.com

Leach has engineered a quick turnaround in Pullman, guiding the Cougars back to a bowl game in his second season. He has eliminated the losing culture and given the program an identity. Leach’s third season figures to be similar to his second. The Cougs, with a senior quarterback and solid corps of receivers, will score a ton of points, but the defense remains an issue. Washington State can be a consistent bowl team as it’s currently constructed but will need to improve on defense to emerge as a contender in the tough Pac-12 North.

Director of Athletics Bill Moos Podcast - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
During his latest podcast, conducted Thursday morning, Director of Athletics Bill Moos discusses the naming of Wayne Phipps as the Director of the Cougar Cross Country and Track & Field programs, and rowing and track & field competing at the NCAA Championships this weekend.