SB Nation’s giant college football preview dropped on Monday, and it is spectacular. However, while it’s chock full of outstanding content, one thing that’s abundantly clear is this: They don’t think nearly as much of WSU as we or the media at large do.
The Washington State Cougars debuted at No. 24 in the Associated Press poll and sit just outside the top 25 of the coaches’ poll at No. 26, but they sit at No. 37 in Bill Connelly’s 130-team list. (Connelly did move them up a few spots from his S&P+ projection.)
Unsurprisingly, that means WSU isn’t seen as much of a legitimate threat in the conference race; in the Pac-12 preview the Cougs are placed in “Tier 3” alongside Oregon, Utah, Oregon State, Colorado and UCLA. In fact, using Bill’s S&P+ rating, WSU is projected to win just six games and finish fourth in the North — a game or two behind Oregon. Make of that what you will.
That means the Cougs’ bowl game projection is also underwhelming: In this exercise, WSU heads to Las Vegas for an epic rematch with Colorado State. (Although ... Vegas.)
Of course, there are many, many reasons to think WSU will be better than that, all of which we’re exploring in our own preview of the 2017 season. Bill C’s numbers have never particularly liked the Cougs, ranking the 2015 team that won nine games 61st, and ranking last seasons team 41st. So, this doesn’t come as a huge shock, especially considering the projections factor in recruiting — again, something where we see what the coaches are doing, but where the services can’t evaluate something like “program fit.”
But don’t let that stop you from checking it all out. There are 41(!) stories in there to digest at your leisure as you make your way toward the season’s first game. Just don’t wait too long: The first games are on Saturday!