California Golden Bears (1-0) -13.5 at Washington State University Cougars +13.5 (0-1) Martin Stadium (35,117) Pullman, Washington, Saturday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox Sports Northwest
by Wilson of Predictem.com
The Washington State Cougars began licking their wounds after Saturdays dismal season opening loss to Oklahoma State 39-13 at Qwest Field in Seattle. The Cowboys of Oklahoma wasted no time by scoring early and often.
Honestly, the only positive vibe heading into this weeks contest against the California Bears is the fact that the Cougs will be playing at home and may get a lift from the fans. First year Cougar coach Paul Wulff, who played at WSU during the Tim Rosenbaugh era knows all to well the long road he faces in the Palouse.
Wulff commented about California saying that Theyre extremely physical on both sides of the ball, and they have excellent team speed. We need the Pullman crowd to help us.
The Cougs, 0-1 this year ATS, have been down this road before but they hope to bounce back this week and give California 1-0 ATS a tough game. These two teams met last year in week 10 where WSU was a 15 point dog and the O/U was a generous 63.5. The Bears won 20-17.
The Cougars will be an on the job training team for most of the season as injuries have forced the coaching staff to start inexperienced players in some pivotal positions, most notably on defense, which could prove disastrous especially against the PAC 10s elite teams.
WSU is without senior cornerback Alfonso Jackson, who is out with a hip injury suffered in Saturdays game. This means that WSUs secondary will start three sophomores and a true freshman against Cals high flying pass attack.
If youre betting on the Cougars to win you might want to be careful as they did rack up a ton of mistakes against OSU especially on the offensive side. Senior WR Brandon Gibson missed two big catches early on in the game and didnt seem to be mentally ready.
On the brighter side of the ball, WSU did show signs of a running game with Dwight Tardy gaining 59 yards on 18 carries and Chris Ivory taking six carries for a respectable 32 yards.
California will look to QB Kevin Riley out of Beaverton, Oregon to lead the team as he completed 17 of 24 attempts 202 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Michigan State last week.
The Bears sophomore Jahvid Best piled up 111 yards rushing, 63 receiving, and 103 yards on kick returns, which, really, was a massive breakdown on special teams for the Cougars.
All-PAC 10 senior linebacker Zack Follet will lead the Bears defensive attack which should be strong as they return 8 starters from last years squad.
Wilsons Pick: I grew up in Cougar country, and even married a Coug Gal, but this week Im afraid its all California baby! The Cougs just have too many youngsters in too many positions. The total last year was nearly 64 points, and most books have not put out a total for this game as of yet, but I wouldnt be surprised if Cal puts up 60 alone! The current spread is California -13.5, look for that to possibly gain a few during the week. Luck to ya.