After slogging along for awhile, there is excitement again for college football in Pullman, Washington. The splash hire of hard-nosed, hard core coach Mike Leach has the Washington State Cougars faithful fired up big time.
Under Leach, they will improve this year, and they will score. Something they just didn’t do very well last season. The question is how much, and will it enough to make that big a difference in the Pac-12 standings? They have sizzle, but will they have steak?
2011 was: a decent start, but HORRID finish. After a 3-1 start, they dropped six of their last seven to finish 4-8. How much difference will the new coaching staff make? Well they need to improve that 111th ranked run game and that 93rd ranked pass defense.
2012 will go smoothly if: QB Jeff Tuel comes through and matches the other big shooters in the pass happy Pac-12. He has the weapons at WR to work with. Leach has to show his veteran experience to lead this team, and getting to .500 or better will be tough when there’s very little of his people in place yet. You got to give him time.
2012 will be rough if: they weren’t very good at running the ball or stopping anybody last season, and I don’t really see that improving much, especially the latter because the defensive line and linebackers leave much to be desired. The secondary returns in tact, but they were also terrible last year.
BMOC: Tuel, but don’t count Connor Halliday out of the running just yet, WR Marquess Wilson, Dominique Williams
All-name team: Destiny Veaoo
Bottom Line: There are some questions on both sides of the ball, especially in the trenches, so reaching a bowl might not happen. They have enough talent to pull off a couple upsets and look like a 5-7 to 7-5 squad. They’ll have to win a lot of shootouts.
Rankings Athlon- 51 Lindy’s- 51 Phil Steele- 65
All the 77s
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker
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