Washington State University football has been a true roller coaster ride this year, more ups than downs, but a true roller coaster. They started off 5-0 with all five games home at Martin Stadium. These five games included a huge comeback against Boise State University, and a great game against the then #5 ranked University of Southern California.
They then started their road games off at Autzen stadium against the University of Oregon Ducks. The Cougars have had great success against Oregon recently and that success continued. The Cougs were rolling at this point in the season and were on notice by all Pac-12 teams.
The next weekend was another road game, a trip to Cal. This Cal team had lost a couple of tough games, but was still a tough opponent, and it showed. Cal forced 7 turnovers against the Cougars and ended their perfect season with a huge 37-3 blowout.
Washington State went back home the next weekend and handled Colorado, looking like the team they had before their loss to Cal. Another road loss occurred to Arizona the next week, one in which the defense got gashed for 58 points.
7-2 WSU could not really figure out consistency and you never knew which team was going to show up. Returning home the next weekend, WSU beat Stanford, then traveled to Utah and won with an amazing performance by the defense.
Washington State was 9-2 going into a bye week and then the Apple Cup against rival University of Washington. With a win, Washington State could go to the Pac-12 Championship game and play against USC again. Just like last year, this year’s Apple Cup provided a huge opportunity for the Cougs to take a big step as a program.
Unfortunately, though, like last year’s Apple Cup, the Huskies came out inspired and jumped on the Cougs early. Forcing uncommon turnovers and running all over the Cougs Speed D. Washington State got blown out yet again, 41-14 and their chances for the Pac-12 Championship game fell with it.
So, what now? The 9-3 Cougs who throughout the year had so much promise for an undefeated season, Pac-12 North champions, and even Pac-12 champions were now out of all of that conversation and wondering what bowl they might get placed into.
From here on out, the Cougs are waiting for the Championship games to get done in order to know exactly who they will be playing, as well as when, where, and what exact bowl. Almost every analyst seems to think the Cougs will be in the Foster Farms Bowl.
This would be a respectable bowl game for the Cougs, and depending on who they are facing, could be a really difficult game. Many think the Oklahoma State Cowboys will be in the Alamo Bowl against Washington, skipping the Cougs entirely. This could be a good thing for the Cougs with their high-powered offense.
The top rumored teams WSU might face at this point are the Northwestern Wildcats, Indiana Hoosiers, Purdue Boilermakers, and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Once again, the determination of the bowl games completely depends on what happens in the different championship games this weekend.
Regardless of who the Cougs face, it will be interesting to see which Cougar team shows up, as well as if they can get a ten-win season with a bowl victory under their belt. Go Cougs!