Oct 31, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars receiver Gabe Marks (9) is pursued by Arizona State Sun Devils linebacker Carl Bradford (52) on a 34-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a great year of football for both the Colorado State Rams and the Washington State Cougars. The Rams finished in third place in the Mountain division of the Mountain West Conference this year while the Cougars finished tied for 4th (5th because of lost tie-breaker to OSU) in the Pac-12 North. Both teams have earned the right to play in a bowl game this year.
Though CSU finished higher in their conference, and has more wins than the Cougars entering this game, there’s no question WSU’s played a tougher schedule this season.
Looking at the Rams’ schedule, their biggest/toughest win came on the road against a (5-7) University of Wyoming team. The rest of the wins the Rams had were against non-competitive teams this year. None of opponents Colorado State won against, are going to a bowl game this year.
So how did Colorado State match-up against some the top competition in the country? They were blown out by Alabama (7-31) which was expected. However this team lost a couple close games to Boise State (30-42), and to Utah State (0-13) which are two of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. The Rams even lost a home opener to in-state rival the Colorado Buffaloes (27-41), which is a Pac-12 opponent.
The Rams started out the season losing their first two games of the season and were at a 2-4 record half-way into the season. However they would finish out the season winning five of their last seven games. This is impressive, however they did not win against a quality opponent during this stretch. Colorado State will get another test against quality competition when they face the Cougars on December 21.
The Cougars were an “up-and-down” team this year. They started off the season very strong. Though they lost the first game of the season, it was a close one to Auburn. They had an opportunity to tie and potentially win the game against the Tigers, however WSU quarterback Connor Halliday threw an interception which sealed a win for Auburn. The Tigers will be playing for the 2013 National Championship this season.
The Cougars picked up right where they left off against Auburn and won on the road at USC. The Trojans have been in-and-out of the 25 rankings this season. The win in L.A. was the biggest win for the Cougars this season. After a couple blow-out victories against Southern Utah and Idaho, the Cougars were sitting at a 3-1 record. However WSU would soon face the bread-and-butter of their schedule as they played three potential BCS opponents in the middle of their season.
The Cougars got blown out against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State. With three games left in the season, WSU sat with a 4-5 record. They would win two out their last three games which helped prevail them to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2006. Looking at WSU’s schedule, seven out of the 12 opponents they played were at one point ranked in the top-25 this season.
The straight up look at both CSU’s and WSU’s schedule can be found HERE.
–Evan Baron (Follow Me On Twitter: @Evan_Baron)