Oct 5, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars running back Teondray Caldwell (34) is pursued by California Golden Bears cornerack Joel Willis (18) and linebacker Khairi Fortt (22) at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
A lot of people have understandably been disappointed with the last two weeks of Cougar football. Now a hard thing to do after a tough two week stretch is to put things into perspective. This is something to think about, coming into the season MOST people around the Cougar program had expectations of making a bowl this season with 6 wins. If you talked to a lot of people before the season they would have said the 6th win would come against either Utah or Washington.
Since the Oregon State 4th quarter meltdown, the feeling around the fan base is that a lot of people have given up on this season. What’s crazy to me is we are one win ahead of schedule, when I sat down and seriously looked at the schedule saying “Where would six wins come from this year” I in the least optimistic way thought we’d be 3-5 going into the bye week. Here we stand 4-4… Coug fans, this is great!
At 4-4 the Cougars have their toughest games behind them. Every team in the BCS top 25 the Cougars have already played, even though they didn’t win any of those games. Another note, every team they’ve lost to is currently ranked in the BCS top 25, although 3 of those teams will have a chance to lose today and at least one will lose for sure with Stanford and Oregon State playing each other. None of the teams remaining on the schedule are currently ranked and it doesn’t look like they will be the rest of the season. I have a feeling the Cougs can get two wins of these last four and here’s why.
1) Arizona State – The Sun Devils have looked very good this season… let me finish… At home. Arizona State has only been on the road two times this year and lost both of those games. Th0se two road games were against Stanford and Notre Dame. Arizona State has had tough challenges this year and responded well (Besides Stanford) but away from Tempe they just aren’t the same team. A cold night in Pullman is their chance to prove themselves but it’s a tough challenge, there is a pretty good chance with both teams coming off a bye that this one will come down to the wire and at home and recharged I like the Cougs passing attack for ball control and edging this one out.
2) Arizona – This is one of the tough ones. Arizona vs Washington State is interesting because it’s at Arizona. What makes this one so winnable for the Cougs is that Arizona relies heavily on their running game but they don’t have an O-line like Oregon or Stanford. The Cougs do well in that situation, not to mention they have been decent on the road this year. Arizona has had and easy schedule and they have two more easy games coming up, their biggest challenge at home has been Utah but Utah hasn’t been even decent away from the state of Utah. It will be interesting to see how Arizona reacts when the competition level rises.
3) Utah – Speaking of Utah… Like I said before, they are awful away from their own state. Travis Wilson has been struggling with turnovers and the defense has looked poor on the road. I don’t really need to get into details because they do pose some tough match ups for Wazzu, but I’m counting on their poor road play to give WSU a win.
4) Washington – In my opinion this is the toughest test left on the schedule… Knowing the history of the apple cup I really hope Washington State has 6 wins by the time this black friday match up comes around. Even though the Huskies have looked very good at home, this Cougar team is very competitive and I expect this one to be very close, perhaps another overtime match up this year… This could be win #6 but just for safety I hope WSU has 6 before this.
So with that all being said, there are a lot of good winnable games in front of Washington State this season, so no, it’s not time to give up, not even close. To me and I’m sure to a lot of Coug fans, success would be a bowl game with 6 wins and that is very doable right now. So get excited, get recharged and get ready to cheer these boys all the way to the post season! Go Cougs!!!