Sep 28, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (9) runs with the ball after making a catch against the Stanford Cardinal during the game at CenturyLink Field. Stanford defeated Washington State 55-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
While no one is giving the Cougs a shot in this game at Palo Alto right now, I think this could be the upset of the year for Washington State and I’ve been saying it for awhile. The Card are not exactly “rebuilding”, but they lost some key players off of a two-time Rose Bowl roster that will not easily be replaced. An explosive offense like the one the Cougs will roll into Stanford Stadium could keep enough pressure on to be successful at the final gun, especially since Stanford generally doesn’t score a large amount of points.
I know what you’re thinking, Oregon couldn’t get it done the last couple years and they had the most explosive offense in the conference. Not to mention the Cougs got steamrolled by the Card last season when we were saying the same thing. So what craziness makes me believe WSU can do it this year on the road? Four major factors:
- First, good weather in Cali should signify a fully-loaded and highly functional WSU Air Raid offense. The rain contributed to too many crucial first half drops for the Cougs to mount any momentum in the first half last season.
- Second, the Card lose a ton of brilliant starters/stars defensively, including DE’s Trent Murphy and Josh Mauro, ILB’s Shane Skov and A.J. Tarpley, and S’s Ed Reynolds and Devon Carrington! I don’t see them being as strong defensively and again the Cougs mostly self-destructed with drops last year anyway, so I’m saying the Coug offense goes crazy down in Cali.
- Next, the Cardinal must replace four of their five starters on the O-line and the Cougs may just have the most underrated front-seven defensively in the conference. Long play-action touchdowns will probably not be as big a factor as they were in Seattle last season.
- Finally, not only do I believe the Cougs have a real shot at 5-1 before this game takes place, which would give them all the confidence they would need to win this one, but the Card will be ripe for upset coming off of games against Washington and Notre Dame on the road and looking forward to a huge match with ASU.
The Cougs might be in the perfect spot to make their (too early) surprise run at the North and the Card have had a couple of these mid-season games where they just can not get focused on the specific task they are facing the last couple years (Utah anybody?). I’m sayin, national Upset Special in week 7.