Earlier, I posted a breakdown of the Washington State Cougars. Here are three games from their schedule I am ready to see today.
I have to pick the first game. It is not only the first game for both teams, and the first game for Mike Leach at Washington State, but it is also one of the first games in all of college football this season. It is being played on Thursday, August 30th. This is opening day of the 2012 college football season.
Mike Leach actually graduated from BYU in 1983.
BYU has had double-digit wins in five of the last six years. Washington State hasn’t even had a winning year.
BYU should be just as good this season, but I think Washington State is on the way up.
I like this as a first test to see what Leach can do with the Cougars. I think this will be an air-it-out, competitive game.
This game will be played at Century Link Field in Seattle.
Oregon has been leading the conference in offense for the last few years, I expect they will this year too.
Both Mike Leach and Chip Kelly have been called the greatest offensive minds in all of college football.
Oregon’s main attack has been on the ground. I think they will still have a great running attack, but I think we will be seeing the ball in the air a little bit more. Washington State has been one of the best passing offenses and that won’t change this year either.
This matchup will feature the nation's fifth-best running team against the nation's ninth-best passing team.
All of this, and one might think that only the offenses were playing. While I do expect a lot of offense, I think the Oregon defense is much better than that of Washington State and that will be the biggest difference in this game.
Oregon has a five-year win streak going and I don’t see that ending this year. Oregon has had an average margin of victory of 35 points per game. While I don’t see Washington State beating Oregon this year, I do think it will be closer than it has been.
I think Leach is a better coach than either Wolfe or Doba, or even both of them combined. Since it will be his first year with Washington State, it could be a building year. He is mostly playing with players from the last coach, though he did bring in some of his own players as well.
Leach never had a losing season at Texas Tech, but he also took over a middling team that was coming off a 6-5 season. Washington State is much more removed from a record like that.
When Utah and Colorado joined the conference, the Pac-12 added new venues. It also added new climates, as the the Pac-12 south is now four parts heat and two parts cold.
Last year, this game was played at Washington State in a heavy snow. It could be the same this year when they play in Utah. These two teams are probably the two best suited for it, as both are used to playing in cold weather.
Last year's game had a crazy finish. Washington State sent the game into over time on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Connor Halliday to Jared Karstetter with just over three minutes left, followed by a field goal as the time hit zero.
Utah intercepted the ball in the first series and kicked the game-winning field goal. I can guess, for those players coming back to Washington State, it may have left a bad taste in their mouths.
Utah should return quarterback Jordan Wynn, who missed last year's game with injury. Washington State had Connor Halliday, who started the season as a backup, in last year's contest. Both teams should have their starters in if they can make it through healthy. This game is being played later in the year, so who knows if everyone will make it to this one.