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Another opportunity for WSU

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It's gameday, which means it's another day to play "which WSU team will show up?"

William Mancebo

Washington State will take the field Friday night and write another chapter in what is becoming a very perplexing season. At this point, it's almost impossible to know what to expect on any given week. The Cougar defense might pitch a shutout or get lit up for 60 points. The offense could be stymied or set NCAA records. There isn't much that isn't on the table.

The only thing I know for sure is WSU's game against Stanford is another opportunity for the Cougars in a season without many left. Any high-end postseason aspirations ended in Reno a month ago, so the only goal of the season is to make a bowl game. With four wins needed and six games to play, Friday night against Stanford isn't a must-win game, but it could be a pivotal point in the season. Missed opportunities have been the story of the 2014 season. Against Rutgers, against Oregon and again against California. WSU stole one against Utah, but if the Cougars are going to keep losing games they should win, they are eventually going to need to win some games they should lose. On paper and according to the oddsmakers, Friday night is one of those games.

All of the numbers surrounding this team tell us it's better than it's record. But, being the best two-win team in America isn't worth a whole lot, unfortunately. Those numbers need to turn into wins at some point and going against a Stanford team that doesn't appear obviously capable of exploiting WSU's biggest weaknesses would be a fine time for the result to match the performance.

Can the Cougars pull off the upset? I think so. Will they? I couldn't have less of a clue.

Football:

Blogging With the Enemy: Washington State Cougars - Go Mighty Card
The numbers just don't make any sense. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday is challenging the laws of physics, altering the space-time continuum, and bravely going where no Pac-12 quarterback has gone before.

What to look for in Stanford vs. Washington State - Stanford Sports
Story lines: Stanford tries to bounce back from a highly disappointing loss in the chilly rain at Notre Dame and will have to deal with the nation’s leading passer. Connor Halliday has 3,052 passing yards, nearly 1,000 more than the No. 2 man, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty. The Cardinal have beaten the Cougars six straight times, including a 55-17 pasting last year. But WSU is much improved.

Connor Halliday makes Washington State offense spin like a broken record
On this point Mike Leach and his quarterback agree: Football — and quarterback play in particular — is a lot like golf.

Stanford aims to ground Washington State's 'Air Raid' | The Press Democrat
On the plane ride back from Notre Dame last weekend, Stanford players watched the Washington State-California game looking to learn about their next opponent. One observation about the Cougars quickly emerged.

Ex-WSU DB Tyron Brackenridge gets rough with Roughriders - Spokesman.com - Oct. 9, 2014
Saskatchewan Roughriders free safety Tyron Brackenridge, acknowledged by his peers as one of the hardest-hitting players in the Canadian Football League, might be the sport’s equivalent to an inflatable clown punching bag.

No. 1 Stanford pass defense meets No. 1 Washington State passer - SFGate
Early this week, Washington State wide receiver Vince Mayle had this to say about his team’s Air Raid offense: “As long as we execute it, it’s impossible to stop.”

Pass-happy Cougars may present problem for Stanford | News | Palo Alto Online |
Knowing that Washington State's record-setting quarterback Connor Halliday will throw the ball about 75 percent of the time won't made defending him any easier

WSU football's terrifying thrill ride thrills, chills this Cougar | Take 2 | Seattle Times
Losing shouldn't be so much fun. But when your quarterback throws for an FBS-record 734 yards, six touchdowns and no picks, as Washington State’s Connor Halliday did Saturday, there is fun to be had.

WSU at Stanford: Nothing complicated about this matchup - Spokesman.com - Oct. 10, 2014
At a school that has had a faculty member win a Nobel Prize in science for three consecutive years, a football game is not going to be the most complex thing happening on the campus today.

WSU coach Mike Leach hasn’t had miracle cure for Cougars’ problems | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times
Mike Leach, in his third year at Washington State, is 11-20 overall and 2-4 this year. Leach inherited a program that had not recruited well, and playing in the tough Pac-12 has made his rebuilding job even more difficult.