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Washington St. Cougars 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (Pac-12) – Cougars

The Washington State Cougars have begun making strides under head coach Mike Leach. Despite going 3-9 (1-8 in conference) two years ago in Leach’s inaugural season, the team went 6-7 (4-5 in conference) in 2013, giving it the momentum it needs to creep back into relevancy for the second straight year.

WSU

Pac-12 Conference 2014-15 College Football Previews:
Head Coach: Mike Leach
2013 Record: 6-7
Washington State Gambling Odds to win BCS Championship: 500/1
Washington State Gambling Odds to win Pac-12 North Division: 12/1
Washington State Gambling Odds to win Pac-12 Conference: 50/1

Truth be told, the Cougars have a chance to play spoiler to multiple opponents this upcoming season. You shouldn’t expect them to contend for a Pac-12 title, let alone a spot atop the North Division, but they have the offensive prowess (not to mention a developing quarterback leading the attack) to catch a few teams off guard.

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Remember: This is a program that nearly took down Auburn, the eventual runner-ups, in Week 1 last season, and then followed up that performance with a win over then-ranked USC. This team could surprise a few people, but it’s not going to be easy along the way.

Team Strengths:

The obvious strength when it comes to this program is coach Leach’s air-raid offense. The team ranked fourth last season in yards per game, as it accumulated an incredible 368.0 yards per contest.

Sticking with the same theme, consider Connor Halliday to be the biggest asset on this roster. It’s true that he needs to work on his control, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to interceptions considering how many times he’s expected to throw each game. In 2013, he finished the year with 34 scores through the air and more than 4,500 yards.

Also on offense is a group of athletic wideouts. Not surprisingly in such a pass-oriented attack, this group of receivers knows how to spread the field. Gabe Marks will be Halliday’s go-to option, as he collected seven touchdowns last season along with 807 yards.

Team Weaknesses:

Defense has the potential to be a struggle this upcoming season. In 2013, the team gave up 32.5 points per game, which was only good enough for 97th in the nation. The bright side is that it has a strong group of linebackers who contributed to forcing the second-most turnovers in the conference a year ago. The team will need more of that kind of production to make up for a secondary that has lost three of it four starters from last season.
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On offense, there won’t be much attention to the running game if Leach’s reputation holds true. Knowing your strengths is one thing, but ignoring an entire element of offense is another thing altogether. It would behoove this team to prove it has a decent rushing attack to keep defenses on their toes, but don’t expect this to be the case, as the team was 126th in rushing yards per contest in 2013.

2014-15 Washington State Gambling Prediction: 6-6

As mentioned above, you shouldn’t be surprised if the Cougars knock out an unexpected opponent in a close upset. They did it last season, and with Halliday having another year of experience under his belt in Leach’s system, it only makes sense that he’d be more comfortable in clutch situations.

All that said, the Pac-12 is as tough as it’s been in a while, and keeping contests close will be crucial early in every single outing. This group has a chance to be a game better than it was in 2013, but the safer bet is a side step toward improvement, compiling the same amount of wins in 2014.

WSU 2014 Schedule

  • Thu, Aug 28 vs Rutgers
  • Fri, Sept 5 @ Nevada
  • Sat, Sept 13 vs Portland State
  • Sat, Sept 20 vs Oregon
  • Sat, Sept 27 @ Utah
  • Sat, Oct 4 vs California
  • Fri, Oct 10 @ Stanford
  • Sat, Oct 25 vs Arizona
  • Sat, Nov 1 vs USC
  • Sat, Nov 8 @ Oregon State
  • Sat, Nov 22 @ Arizona State
  • Sat, Nov 29 Vs Washington

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