Washington State Cougars Football: 10 Crazy-Bold Predictions for 2014

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Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) celebrates with teammates after blocking a Colorado State Rams punt in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to 2014 Washington State faithful and all ye who enter All Coug’d Up! The new year is upon us (thankfully) and we’re in need of some good spirits around here, so let’s talk about some of my bold predictions for our Cougs in 2014! If even half of these come true we’d be looking at a VERY FUN 2014 SEASON. I have NO inside information, just a whole lotta of predictions.

1: Despite rampant reports to the contrary, 4-star MLB Chandler Leniu stands with Washington State on signing day. Much maligned Cougar fallout DT Marcus Griffin recommits Crimson and CB Rashead Johnson is left without a spot at USC, sending him WSU’s way as well. Wouldn’t OL Kaleb McGary put frosting on THAT cake!? Ok, that might be too much to ask… even for three of them. At least two of these guys are Cougars on signing day, which would still be a pretty good haul. Smart money’s on McGary and Leniu…

2: Leach continues to get more explosive freshmen and sophomores involved as we start up Spring ball and some spots are in jeopardy. In particular, Robert Lewis, Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and Tyler Bruggman jump up the depth chart while Theron West and John Thompson continue to impress. By sometime shortly after Spring ball, we see at least three offensive players with game experience transfer out of the Washington State program.

3: Connor Halliday has already tied Ryan Leaf at 34 touchdowns in a single season. His 2014 encore season as full-time starter, he flirts with the NCAA record and throws for 54 touchdowns to lead the nation! He also keeps his interceptions relatively low, only tossing 13 to cap the greatest WSU QB season of all-time.

4: Squally Canada bursts onto the scene and much like River Cracraft did in 2013, becomes a go-to offensive freshman as the 3rd running back near the end of the season. Before that though, he plays a key part in special teams, returning and covering kickoffs. He brings back the first kickoff return touchdown in forever at some point in the season.

5: LB Peyton Pelluer, OT Cody O’Connell, OL Carlos Freeman, S Darius Lemora and LB Greg Hoyd all crack the starting lineup by game 3 as freshmen. IF LB Chandler Leniu and/or CB Rashead Johnson sign with WSU, they join that group. And of course kicker Tristan Vizcaino adds to that list as a place kicker and possible punter while Squally Canada gets the opening day start at KR.

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Tags: Football Washington State Cougars

  • brian199511

    Second place? If we are dreaming, dream big.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      :) Why not? WSU will be the only team returning every major contributor offensively… This lines up exactly like the two Rose Bowl years imo. Maybe out on a limb a little bit… thus the “crazy-bold”. I do legitimately think the opportunity is there for at least six or seven of these to happen.

  • Drew Williams

    Stop. Just stop.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Haha. You don’t think so? Why won’t these happen?

      • Drew Williams

        Getting six wins is one prediction. Getting 10 in the next year would be a miracle. I would say they have close to a 0% chance in beating Stanford. Especially in Palo Alto. Getting within 20 would be lucky. They need to show they can beat teams like Oregon state, udub, ucla before you can compete with the best in the pac 12. On a side note, in what universe will mason lead the country in yards as a RB? Wsu runs an air raid so they rarely run the ball.

        • Caleb Davis

          1st) 10 wins would not be completely crazy actually. Look at minnesota, they were 2 plays away from doing just that (from 6 wins to 10 wins) and if you really wanna look at how similar it is the year before they only had 3 wins. Cougars played the toughest schedule this year in college football, next year that will not be the case. 10 wins, not impossible.

          2nd) Beating Stanford at Stanford isn’t that crazy. Last year (2012) WSU went into Palo Alto and only lost by 7 and had an opportunity to win the game with a wide open receiver in the end zone. Unfortunately they took a sack instead to lose the game. Plus lets face it, Palo Alto does not provide a huge home field advantage. I live in the bay and have been to a few games on the farm and every single WSU game i’ve been to has been louder and the team feeds off the crowd much more. Stanford doesn’t seem to notice their crowd at all so, Stanford at home? Not impossible

          3rd) Marcus Mason is an all purpose back meaning that his production doesn’t have to come from the ground game, he actually is a huge part of the passing game which is one of the top passing games in the nation. The key term here is All purpose yards… you know what that is right? (not just rushing yards) so air raid or not, it doesn’t matter. So Mason leading the nation in All purpose yards in a great season by WSU in the air raid? Not impossible.

          look it’s college football so anything is possible(Auburn) just because there hasn’t been a lot of success at WSU doesn’t mean success is impossible there, especially with returning the entire play making offense AND scoring the best recruiting class there in 12 years. Watch out, the cougs will be more legit then you might think next year. Yes 10 wins is a stretch, it’s not the popular prediction, it’s not the obvious choice but it is not impossible. Things are changing in a big way at WSU.

          “Anything is possible… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLEEEEEEEEE!!!” -Kevin Garnett

        • http://Allcougdup.com/ AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          Different situation because of the conference but Louisville went from a perennial loser to BCS in 2 seasons under Charlie Strong. WSU was about 6 plays away from 9-4 this season. Winning those games and finding a win against Stanford isn’t that far a stretch to be honest.

          Don’t underestimate the power of offensive depth and returning talent from WSU. Stanford will lose nearly everybody, including a few underclassmen. They will NOT be the team they were this year, that’s a guarantee. A win in Palo Alto will happen that was one of my more sure-fire picks in this group for next season. They don’t play UCLA and will murder OSU next season. Should beat Udub but you’re right they’ll have to prove it before many believe it.

          Marcus Mason plays in a totally different universe than most running backs, that’s true. Still, he had 865 total yards of offense THIS SEASON and wasn’t really found by Halliday until the second half of the season. If he stays healthy he will be as good a RB (production-wise) as Leach has ever had out of the backfield. Most of his yards will come from the passing game. ALL PURPOSE YARDS. I clearly stated that.

          • Drew Williams

            Alright I’m starting to agree. How do you know that you won’t play UCLA though. Conference schedule isn’t out yet. I will have to say that it will be hard to have Halliday improve his offensive production from this year. He had one hell of a season and he will need even more pass attempts. Also most teams will have better success in stopping him.

          • http://Allcougdup.com/ AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

            Leach’s past track record with quarterbacks suggests that teams will absolutely not have better success stopping him. Halliday didn’t even really “get it” til about 2/3 of the way through the season, after the ASU game. Early on he forced a whole lot of stuff and that’s why he ended up leading the nation in interceptions. But toward the end of the season he became a better game manager (thus the breakout of Mason) and a smarter risk-taker down the field. I think too the fact that he began to find Mayle in 1-on-1 situations was huge because there’s not a CB around that can cover him 1-on-1.

            Look at the Arizona game on and you will see just what we’re going to see all season long in 2014 from Connor. Once a QB “gets it” (figures out exactly what they’re supposed to be looking at/accomplishing) in this offense, they cannot be stopped, they can only be contained. With the defenses he will face to open the season, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t already have 12-15 touchdowns by conference play. Also, a qb who gets his entire corps back for a third year?!?!?!?!? That’s money in the bank in college football. Think about it; Mayle, Dom, Kristoff, Gabe, River, Galvin AND Bartolone should be healthy again… Not to mention the addition of Lewis who could be the fastest on the team but just needs to get consistent (still reminds me of a young DeAnthony Thomas). Most teams will just not be able to match the firepower that WSU returns, very similar to when Matt Kegel was flinging it back in the Holiday Bowl year of 2003.

            The Cougs are now scheduled to play on a two-year rotation along with the rest of the conference in the new setup. They should play the same teams with flipped home/away in 2014, then get 2 new South teams in 2015/2016 in the same setup. The only thing that’s up for debate next season is the dates each team will play at this point. I could be wrong on that but 95% sure that’s the case. This means USC, Oregon, Arizona, Cal and UW all come to Pullman. In the home slate USC loses some big-time defenders and M. Lee, Zona loses Carey and has new qb, Cal will be better but how much, and UW loses Price, Sankey and ASJ. I like our shots in a shootout against most of our opponents. The away schedule (outside ASU) is much more manageable than it was this year and WSU was much better on the road this season.

            I mean who knows until Fall shakes out a little bit, but right now 8 wins is my low mark. 10 is a wish-list item but I think the chance is better than people think, especially with Stanford losing SO many kids and the possible loss of Shaw to the NFL as well.

            Next year just reminds me so much of ’97 how it shaped up. Remember the Fab-5 receiving corps, a faster defense and young secondary, a rising quarterback who figured out his offense late the year before and had a full returning unit. Same thing happened in 2002 and then again with a 5th year senior at quarterback in 2003. The question is going to be, how well can a young secondary handle their duties? They have to be better at not allowing the big play next year, or even 8 wins will be difficult.

  • http://www.NetOffice.com/ Gene Roush

    Marcus Mason leads the Pac-12 conference… Nay, the COUNTRY in all-purpose yards from the line of scrimmage. The performance earns him All-American honorable mention. – With Walk on Transfer Visa Thach opening up holes for Marcus I see him leading the Pac 12 this year… Thach is a beast.

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Who is Visa Thach?

      • http://www.NetOffice.com/ Gene Roush

        Visa Thach sat out this year after transferring from NAIA Menlo college.. Thach was a Scholar Athlete at Kentwood High School, Voted most athletic. Broke Mike Karneys single season tackle record and lifting records. Thach was a All State Fullback and Linebacker. For the class of 2012…

        • http://Allcougdup.com/ AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          I have never once heard his name associated with WSU football? Not saying you’re wrong, just haven’t heard it. Leach IS looking to insert an H-back, so it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me. But Mason will get most of his yards through the air still imo. Thanks for the intel I’ll be looking for him to join on the Spring roster

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