The Washington State Cougars are coming off of an 8-5 season in 2016. The Cougars have gone to back-to-back bowl games under Mike Leach. They started the year with a home loss to an FCS team and finished the year with three straight losses. This 2017 Washington State team will look to build upon last season’s success, but will want to have a better ending to their season.
Washington State Cougars Projected Record
September 2 vs. Montana State: W
This should be a win for the Cougars, but they seem to lose these FCS games every year. Not this year. The Cougars cannot afford to let it happen again.
September 9 vs. Boise State: W
The Cougars played Boise State tough last year on the road, and should’ve won the game. This year the game is in Pullman, and the Cougars will be out for revenge. The quarterback matchup between Brett Rypien and Luke Falk should lead to a high scoring game, but the Cougars’ overall talent should prevail.
September 16 vs. Oregon State: W
Oregon State is in the middle of a rebuild. Gary Anderson is the right man for the job, but they are years away from competing with the elites in the Pac-12. The Cougars will have the home-field advantage and talent advantage. This game shouldn’t be competitive.
September 23 vs. Nevada: W
Nevada is coming off of a 5-7 season, and doesn’t have the firepower to stick with the Cougars. Washington State should win this game easily in front of their home fans. They’ll likely be undefeated heading into their matchup with USC.
September 29 vs. USC: L
This will be Washington State’s first loss. The quarterback matchup between potential first round picks Sam Darnold and Luke Falk should be fun to watch. But the Trojans have the talent advantage in this game. The Cougars should keep the game close, but USC should prevail in the end.
October 7 at Oregon: W
The Cougars have defeated Oregon in their last two matchups. The Ducks couldn’t stop the Cougars’ high-powered offense last season. Willie Taggart has taken over the Oregon program, and he seems to be the guy that will lead them back to the top of the Pac-12. But this is more than a one year rebuild. The Cougars should win this game in Eugene.
October 13 at California: W
The Golden Bears are coming off of a 5-7 season in which they didn’t make a bowl game. They are replacing quarterback Davis Webb, who put up stellar numbers in their Bear Raid offense. They’ll likely put up numbers again this year, but they don’t have the talent to compete with the Cougars. This should be a Washington State victory.
October 21 vs. Colorado: W
Colorado was one of the biggest surprises in college football last season. That wasn’t a one year fluke. Coach Mike MacIntyre is turning around the program. They’ll have to replace quarterback Sefo Liufau and three key members of their elite secondary. They aren’t as talented as last season, but should give the Cougars a competitive game. However, Washington State has more talent and should prevail.
October 28 at Arizona: W
The Arizona Wildcats are coming off of a down year. With Rich Rodriguez at the helm, the Wildcats have been one of the better teams in the Pac-12. Their 3-9 record last season was a disappointment, but they should be a bowl team this year. They still aren’t as talented as the Cougars, who should win this game on the road.
November 4 vs. Stanford: L
Stanford coach David Shaw has turned his program into a football factory. They have the disadvantage of having extremely high academic requirements, but that hasn’t seemed to hurt them in recent years. The Cougars beat them handily last season, but this game should be much more competitive. They are replacing Christian McCaffrey, but are all-around more talented. The Cougars can win this game, but this game could easily go Stanford’s way.
November 11 at Utah: W
The Utah Utes are coming off of an impressive 9-4 season in 2016. They return a lot of their talent from last season, and should content to win double-digit games. This will be a tough road game for the Cougars, who could easily lose if they are looking past this game to the Apple Cup. But Mike Leach does a great job of getting his team ready to play every week. The Cougars are the more talented team and should win this game.
November 25 at Washington: L
This is the most important game of the Cougars season. They could inexplicably lose every game prior to the Apple Cup, and the season will be considered a success if they defeat the Huskies. The last two Apple Cups haven’t been competitive, and that should change this year. The Huskies are favored and should win the game, but the Cougars have enough talent to keep the game close.
Final Record: 9-3
If the 2017 Washington State Cougars win nine regular season games, their season will be considered a success. They’ll be bowl eligible again and will have a great chance of competing for the Pac-12 title.