Yesterday, we outlined the difficult road schedule for the Cougs, which at this point holds less optimism than pessimism. However, today we are focusing on the home slate of games for Washington State, which at first glance seems noticeably more navigable, but may not necessarily be.
First, you’ll notice that Colorado and Ucla are nowhere to be found on either analysis and that’s because the Cougars will miss those two schools for the next 2 seasons. Also, you’ll notice that BYU isn’t on the schedule which is a byproduct of Washington State wanting a more balanced schedule moving forward. The blue Cougars will come to Pullman in 2019 but it’s the Thunderbirds who will be here in September next year.
Southern Utah and Idaho should be easy wins, however, SUU beat Cal in Berkeley to begin this season and as we know the Golden Bears came into Pullman later in the season and disposed of a Cougar team in disarray at the time. Still, I expect WSU to blow both of those teams out in successive weeks to be at least 2-1 going into the conference opener with some momentum. Since we won’t know dates until next Fall, we don’t know if that will be at home or on the road.
The 4 conference games are going to be tough and as we know the OSU game will be in Seattle, which becomes a pseudo-neutral site contest against the Beavs with their success this season. After last night Stanford is the reigning Pac-12 Champion, but the Cougars played them tooth and nail this season in Palo-Alto so they will not be scared when the Cardinal stroll into Pullman.
With 2 young qbs and an explosive roster, I expect ASU to be back and strong again, maybe even a South contender. However, as we know, they always have a tough time in Pullman, similar to the task that the Cougs seem to have when they visit Tempe. And finally Utah will still be tough-minded and well coached, but I expect them to be a year away from contention next season with the superstar losses of John White and Star Lotelelei. That doesn’t mean that Wazzu will beat up on them next year, but let’s just say I expect a game that more resembles 2011 than 2012 against the Utes in ’13.
Fun Fact: It’s way too early for this stuff. We haven’t even seen a bowl game played yet. But until we play again, it’s always a good time to get ready for next season!