What’s Washington State going to do this season? What’s going to happen in each game and how will the 2016 Cougars football schedule play out?
After a breakthrough season under Mike Leach, can Washington State do even more? Can the schedule work out well enough to challenge in the Pac-12 North? Check out the preseason predictions for every game.
Sept. 3 vs. Eastern Washington
Last season the Cougars lost the season opener to an FCS team. It was a very, very good FCS team in Portland State, but it was still an FCS team. Washington State will win the opener with a focused effort it didn’t have last year against the Vikings.
Preseason Prediction: Washington State 48, Eastern Washington 20
Sept. 10 at Boise State
Boise State has two massive games against the Power 5 to prove – at least as much as it can – that it should to be a part of bigger discussion. They’ll get a date against Oregon State later, but first they have to take care of Wazzu at home. They’ll do it in a spirited shootout.
Preseason Prediction: Boise State 41, Washington State 31
Sept. 17 vs. Idaho
The two schools are just an afternoon bike ride away from each other. Idaho’s offense will be strong enough throughout the year to put up big numbers, but the defense won’t have a prayer of slowing down a Cougar passing game that’ll crank up close to 500 passing yards.
Preseason Prediction: Washington State 47, Idaho 27
Oct. 1 vs. Oregon
This is going to be a problem. Oregon lost last year to the Cougars and won’t be taking the game lightly. Like most Wazzu contests this year, the stats will be flying around, but the Duck attack will be unstoppable throughout. Both teams will get their shots in.
Preseason Prediction: Oregon 52, Washington State 41
Oct. 8 at Stanford
This will be all about ball control, and Washington State won’t have it. The Cardinal will handle the clock with third down conversion after third down conversion. The Cougars will get in a few nice big plays and drives, but there won’t be enough of them.
Preseason Prediction: Stanford 34, Washington State 20
Oct. 15 vs. UCLA
The Cougars earn the win they’ll need to keep bowl hopes alive. After losing two straight, they’ll get the passing attack going against a UCLA team on its second straight road game.
Preseason Prediction: Washington State 37, UCLA 31
Oct. 22 at Arizona State
Fresh off its win over UCLA, Wazzu won’t be able to keep up in a wild game among wild games for the high-octane team. ASU will get out to a hot start, but a massive comeback from the Cougars will come up just short.
Preseason Prediction: Arizona State 52, Washington State 44
Oct. 29 at Oregon State
Washington State’s passing attack will keep on pushing all game long, but it’ll fall short due to way too many empty drives. At home and in need of a win, the Beavers will claim victory with a ball control attack and enough third down stops to finish it off.
Preseason Prediction: Oregon State 34, Washington State 24
Nov. 5 vs. Arizona
Enough is enough. After struggling way too much with three road games in the previous four dates, the Cougar offense will be on the right side of a high-scoring home game. Arizona’s running game will come up with plenty of points, but this will be all about Wazzu getting a win it really, really needs.
Preseason Prediction: Washington State 36, Arizona 30
Nov. 12 vs. California
If last year’s game was a wee bit of a letdown considering the two offenses – Washington State lost 34-28 – this time around it’ll be an absolute killer of a firefight. It’ll be about as back-and-forth as a game gets with both passing games going nutso. Enjoy this one.
Preseason Prediction: Washington State 48, California 44
Nov. 19 at Colorado
Devastating. The Cougars need this win to secure a bowl game or else try getting by Washington in the Apple Cup. Unfortunately, Colorado will rally with a strong, tight game without missing any opportunities. Four interceptions from the Buff secondary will be the difference.
Preseason Prediction: Colorado 27, Washington State 20
Nov. 26 vs. Washington
The Cougars will throw everything they’ve got at the Huskies with a great start trying to get bowl eligible, but the lead will be chip, chip, chipping away. Washington will power its way to get back in the game late, and will close out Wazzu’s season with a heartbreaking game-winning field goal in the last few seconds.
Preseason Prediction: Washington 31, Washington State 30
2016 Prediction: 5-7
2016 Pac-12 Prediction: 3-6