There are a lot of Cougar faithful that are looking at the first eight games of the season and thinking WSU should/could be 5-3 or even 6-2. The reality of the situation is that coming out 4-4 was quite the accomplishment for this team and better than 90% of Coug Nation thought we’d somehow be lucky to be 3-5 at this point.
The Cougs rank out 28th at this very moment in national strength of schedule, according to teamrankings.com.
Here’s how the entire Pac-12 stacks up in SOS:
- 5 Utah (4-4)
- 11 UCLA (5-2)
- 12 Washington (5-3)
- 13 Colorado (3-4)
- 15 Stanford (7-1)
- 17 Cal (1-7)
- 18 Arizona St. (5-2)
- 25 USC (5-3)
- 28 Wash. St. (4-4)
- 29 Oregon (8-0)
- 40 Arizona (5-2)
- 47 Oregon St. (6-2)
As you can see, the Conference of Champions gets the overall toughest schedule to deal with in the country. All of the teams are in the top 50 SOS and yet close to 85% of the conference has a .500 record or above. No other conference can say that.
What’s it mean for WSU? Five of Washington State’s eight opponents have been ranked at some point in the season, three are currently ranked in the top 10. The Cougars did beat USC when they were ranked 25th.
Ultimately we all know that it doesn’t really matter what the rankings say at the end of the season if WSU doesn’t at least manage to win two more football games to put themselves in a bowl game. Still, right now it’s only fair to understand that for a team that hasn’t won better than 4 games in the past six seasons and has faced the schedule that they have, the first 2/3 wasn’t half bad.
It doesn’t get much easier, none of the Cougs’ final four opponents currently have less than a .500 record. If the Cougars can just do what they’ve done so far (split) I think we’ll all be happy campers this offseason. Well, split and beat the Dawgs.