Washington State Betting Odds Preview
Washington State won three games in its first season under new head coach Mike Leach last year, which was disappointing. The Cougars had some talent, especially on offense, and five or six wins seemed attainable. But an eight-game losing streak put a damper on those thoughts. So it's been a decade now since Wazzu played in a bowl, and in this day and age, when over half of college football teams go bowling, that's an embarrassment. Unfortunately, it might take some doing to break that bowl drought this year, too.
Washington State had 13 returning starters for its first season with coach Leach last year, and despite just nine wins total over the previous four seasons there was some hope of earning a bowl bid. And the Cougars started 2-1, although those two wins came against Eastern Washington and UNLV. WSU then had a chance to get to 3-1 and open Pac-12 play with a victory but blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and lost at home to lowly Colorado.
The Cougars also lost their next seven games. They played Oregon tough for a half, played Oregon State halfway tough, and only lost by a touchdown to eventual conference champion Stanford. But they also lost to a bad Cal team and got blown out by Utah, UCLA (down by 30 at the half), and Arizona State. Wazzu then managed to head into the offseason on a positive note, after rallying from a 28-10 fourth-quarter deficit to beat rival Washington in the Apple Cup game. So the Cougars finished 3-9 overall, 1-8 in Pac-12 play, and 5-7 ATS. But they went 5-4 ATS in Pac-12 play, which gives them a 16-11 ATS record over the past three seasons vs. conference foes.
This year Washington State returns 16 starters; seven are back on offense, including QB Connor Halliday and four along the offensive line, although that line allowed an FBS-high 57 sacks last year; and nine are back on defense, although that unit gave up 426 YPG last year. So there's work to be done on both sides of the ball. This year's schedule calls for the Cougars to open with road trips to Auburn and USC, before playing two winnable home games against Southern Utah and Idaho. From there on out State plays home games against Stanford, Oregon State, Arizona State, and Utah, and road games at Cal, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington. So unfortunately the Cougars have to deal with all the expected contenders in the Pac-12, except UCLA.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000