So by now just about every major sports news outlet has voiced their opinion about where everyone in the Pac-12 will end up. Most of these people have Washington State finishing 5th in the Pac-12 North with 6 to 7 wins. Needless to say expectations for WSU, once again, that high. So what would it take for Washington State to exceed these expectations?
The first thing I notice when looking at the Cougars schedule, is that in order to hit the 8-9 win mark, the Cougs must be undefeated in their non conference schedule. This itself will be a challenge but it is very much do-able. The Cougars start the season against a new big-10 member, Rutgers.
The Cougs have dropped a lot of opportunities like this before but this is a home game (kind of) which is new to the Cougars as usually when they play a big opening game it’s usually on the road. This one is away from Martin but it’s further from Rutgers as the two will meet in Seattle. The rest of the non-conference schedule should be handled by Wazzu pretty easily as they face off with Portland State and end with Nevada.
Next thing the Cougs will have to do is pull off a sizable upset. I don’t mean just any upset, I mean either Oregon or Stanford is going to have to stumble vs WSU for the Cougs to hit 8 or 9 wins this season. Although it’s nice to think about, WSU isn’t going to have a perfect season in the Pac-12. In order to take the next step they must shock the nation this year and take down one of the giants in the North.
The last thing the Cougars will have to do is absolutely shock everyone with their secondary. The defense is looking solid but there were a lot of notable losses in the secondary. Everyone knows by now, the Cougars offense is up, very functional and in fact is a threat to all opposing defenses. So the doubts still lie with the Cougar defense. If the defense takes a step forward even with losing some key players, the Cougs will be on to the next level.