For the second straight year, the Washington State Cougars will play a game with a No. 8 next to their name. For the second straight year, that game will be against the Cal Bears (7:45 pm PT, ESPN). Last season, the Bears took down the previously unbeaten Cougs in dominant fashion.
That 37-3 beatdown was the product of poor play on WSU’s part, but Cal also did a number of things on defense that confused the Cougs and countered what they were doing. Cal played an excellent defensive game a week ago to upset the Washington Huskies, and it will need to repeat that to take down another ranked Pac-12 North opponent.
This year’s version of the Air Raid seems less likely to be shut down than the 2017 version. Gardner Minshew II leads the nation in passing yards, and has been absolute nails in the fourth quarter. That was on display against Stanford last week, as he led the Cougs to 17 points in the final stanza and a huge road win.
With a No. 8 slot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, this game against Cal takes on even more importance. A win by WSU could also bring them one step closer to wrapping up the Pac-12 North before the Apple Cup—they’d need to win the next two and have UW lose one more for that to happen.
This will also serve as your game thread. Chat away as the Cougs battle the Bears!