In the crosshairs: Washington State

Washington State is now eight years removed from its last conference title.  Jason Gesser is long gone, and Pac 10 contention and possible Rose Bowl appearances have departed with him.  Today’s Cougars find themselves on the opposite side of the coin.  No longer seated among the upper echelon, they feed from the bottom, where BCS dreams have been reduced to meager hopes for more than two victories in a season.

Paul Wulff took over the program in 2008, immediately becoming the recipient of the mess Dolba left behind.  Under his guidance, Wolff’s teams have posted a woeful record of 4-24, which includes a mark of 1-18 in conference play.  Only a narrow 22-21 victory over FBS Montana State keeps him from entering Saturday’s contest with USC as a winless team.

Washington State Cougars (1-2)
National Rank: none
Last Week: Lost to SMU 35-21

3. Coug- To blow a game when victory is almost certain, especially in the 4th quarter.  Term made popular by a college football team in the northwest that blows games with consist[e]ncy.

*WSU couged another one and lost 38-31 after leading by 31 points at the end of the third quarter.

Blow, suck, choke, give away, owned

Source: Urban Dictionary

Washington State by the numbers

Category Nat. Rank Conf. Rank Average
Total offense 88 8 330.00
Rush offense 105 10 96.67
Pass offense 46 4 233.33
Pass efficiency 54 7 133.97
Scoring offense 94 9 20.33
Total Defense 107 10 457.00
Rush Defense 90 7 184.67
Pass Defense 104 10 272.33
Pass Efficiency Defense 103 10 149.43
Scoring Defense 113 10

40.67

As indicated by the numbers in the above table, the Cougars don’t do anything well. The average of 233 passing yards per game may appear as a bright spot, but it is more indicative of the programs lack of a running attack, and the fact that they spend most weekends playing from behind.

Washington State rushed for only 66 yards in the loss to SMU last week.  Don’t expect them to improve on that number against a more stout defensive front. The Cougars also fail to defend the run, allowing 257 yards to Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter in the season’s first game.  But the most porous unit is the Cougar’s secondary, which transforms opposing offenses into quick strike machines, by allowing one big play after another.

The Skinny: In past years, a trap has often been set for USC on its first road trip in conference play.  This year’s opening opponent poses little threat, and the Trojans should have the game well in hand by the time it reaches intermission.  Lane Kiffin is still unsettled at running back, and Pullman provides an ideal stage for audition.  Meanwhile, Monte Kiffin is still working the kinks out of his defense, and should be dialing up the blitzes early and often.

USC enters as a 22-point favorite, but in regard to the AP Poll, it will need to inflict more damage.  The Trojans are ranked 20th nationally, and Washington State may be used as a measuring stick.  Oklahoma State, No. 25 in the coaches’ poll, defeated the Cougars 65-17 in Stillwater.

All Time Series: USC leads 56-8-4
Streak: USC has won 7
Last Meeting: 2009 USC 27, Washington State 6 (L.A. Coliseum)

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~ by Anthony on September 22, 2010.

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