This could be the most formidable Cougars squad in a decade. Better yet, Montana State isn’t exactly the FCS foe Eastern Washington was.
Sept. 2 vs. Montana State
7:30 p.m. | FS1
The infamous stat is well-known by all Cougars fans: 0-5. As in, in Mike Leach’s five seasons as Washington State’s head coach, the Cougars have yet to win a season opener. But after two consecutive season-opening defeats to FCS teams, this year, surely, will be WSU’s time to finally snap that ignominious streak, right?
Sept. 9 vs. Boise State
7:30 p.m. | ESPN or ESPN2
The game last year against Boise State ended with a defeat in Boise, and Leach calling his team soft. Trust that the Cougars will not let history repeat itself this year. At home and out to prove themselves to their head coach against the Broncos, the result this time will be different.
Sept. 16 vs. Oregon State
2:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Networks
The Beavers are much improved in Gary Andersen’s third season. With Marysville product and former Idaho quarterback Jake Luton directing an offense that features dynamic running back Ryan Nall, the Beavers will be competitive. This one will be close, but the Cougars should emerge victorious.
Sept. 23 vs. Nevada
Game time TBA
It’s Air Raid vs. Air Raid as the Cougars take on a new-look Nevada team led by offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, the son of Hal Mumme who invented the Air Raid along with Mike Leach. The Wolf Pack’s offense will feature former WSU walk-on slot receiver Kaleb Fossum, but it’ll take a lot for the fledgling Air Raid to outplay Leach at his own game.
Sept. 29 vs. USC
7:30 p.m. | ESPN
Consider this a midterm exam for the Cougars. If they are, as we predict, 4-0 going into this big Friday night tilt against Pac-12 title favorite USC, this game will show us exactly what they’re made of. A victory could vault WSU into the top 10 nationally. But even a close defeat could act as a barometer of how this season could go.
Oct. 7 at Oregon
Game time TBA
On the road in Eugene once again, the Cougars will be hoping to engineer a second consecutive road victory at Oregon. There are enough seniors on this team who recall what it was like to beat the Ducks in overtime in 2015, and they’ll be raring to do it again against an Oregon team with former Cougs defensive line…