I’m dying for some football, let’s do some best case, worst case with the Pac-12, going backwards alphabetically. I’m not going to include injuries in this.
Washington State, behind the precision passing of Luke Falk, rushes out to a dominant 3-0 start with a 24 point win at Boise State along with complete blowouts against regional rivals Eastern Washinton and Idaho. After the bye week, they host Oregon who has been fairly impressive with their newly acquired quarterback, Dakota Prukop. The Cougs give the Ducks another dose of last year’s performance with a 37-20 win. Excited, the Cougs travel to Palo Alto to knock off another Pac-12 North titan: Stanford. Unfortunately, the Cougs fall a bit flat and take a close loss, 24-21.
Washington State quickly recovers and rattles off six straight wins, taking their record to 10-1, none of the games being particularly close. The #12 Cougars host a 5-6 Washington team for the historic Apple Cup…and promptly demolish them to the tune of 52-21 keeping the Huskies from becoming bowl eligible. Unfortunately, Stanford holds the tiebreaker and the Cougs miss the championship game. Their ranking allows them to be picked for the Rose Bowl (with Stanford going to the playoff) to face Big 10 runner-up Wisconsin. Washington State narrowly edges out Wisconsin 21-17 with Luke Falk taking home the MVP trophy.
After a scare at home against the oft-forgotten little brother of Eastern Washington, escaping by 10 points in a fourth quarter comeback, the Cougs drop a big game against Boise State by 13 points. They follow this game up with a win over Idaho, but it isn’t necessarily pretty. The atmosphere around the team is antsy during the bye week leading up to the Oregon game. Oregon looks very good with their new quarterback at the helm and a win would definitely help right the ship for WSU.
After a 28 point loss to Oregon, things are not looking good ahead of the road trip to Palo Alto. Falk has not looked quite himself this season and rumors are starting to swirl about him playing hurt. The defense can’t keep up with the other team and Leach can’t seem to do anything about all of it. Stanford handles Washington State easily and sends them back home to lose to UCLA and end the first half of the season 2-4.
Washington State begins to turn it around stringing along solids wins against Arizona State, Oregon State, and Arizona. Washington State gets into another incredible shootout with Cal at home, but this time Cal misses the game-tying field goal (from a bit further distance). The Cougs beat the Buffs by 10 which allows them to roll into the Apple Cup at 5-6, one win away from bowl eligibility. Coug fans are not happy with the need to beat #8 Washington to make a bowl, and it doesn’t go well. Washington wins 54-14 in Pullman and march on to a stout Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State.
Stay tuned for Washington.