Finally we can start looking forward to the 2014 season in earnest, now that the national title game is over and the 2014 Pac-12 schedule has been released. Here’s a look at what it looks like for Washington State:
Aug. 28 – Rutgers (The Seattle Game)
Sept. 6 – at Nevada
Sept. 13 – Portland State
Sept. 20 – Oregon
Sept. 27 – at Utah
Oct. 4 – California (Homecoming)
Oct. 10 – at Stanford
Oct. 18 – Bye
Oct. 25 – Arizona (Dad’s Weekend)
Nov. 1 – USC
Nov. 8 – at Oregon State
Nov. 15 – Bye
Nov. 22 – at Arizona State
Nov. 29 – Washington (Apple Cup)
No surprises here, as we knew the Pac-12 Conference was on a two-year home-and-home schedule starting in 2013. Opening on a Thursday night again gives the Cougars the chance to entertain an opening night national TV audience (although not sure we want to open on ESPN after the 2013 season went winless on that network).
Also of note, the Apple Cup has moved back to a Saturday slot, which is tremendous for Washington State students as they make plans to return from the West Side to see the Cougs play after Thanksgiving. That’s huge for attendance. Of course we have to remember that the switch was made by the conference, not the school, so that Friday game could resume at some point.
Another note, the first three games will pit the Cougs against a much weaker schedule than last season. They opened on the road against Auburn and USC. This season they open in the Seattle game, then travel to Reno before coming home against Portland State. That also means that the conference games in Seattle (at least for now and likely the foreseeable future) against the Oregon’s is in the rear-view mirror. Oregon will come to Pullman to open the conference slate on September 20th in a potentially huge opportunity for WSU to get nationally relevant.
Both byes come at much better times for the Cougs in 2014, but once again the Arizona’s follow each bye week. The Cougars should be able to stay in more of a rhythm while once again getting a good opportunity to get healthy during the stretch run. There are also no extended periods of time where the team will be on the road, with a good mix of home and away matchups scattered between each other.
Overall this is a tremendous looking schedule with no real avenues for complaint for the Cougar faithful. There are also several premier games in Martin Stadium, which includes all five home conference games for the first time in five seasons. Also the Cougars have 7 of their 12 contests in a true home environment, seeing that Rutgers (New Jersey) is so far away and likely won’t travel well. Certainly not as well as the Oregon’s or Stanford.
The stage is set early for another season of rise for Washington State Cougar football.