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The Sports Daily > WSU Football Blog
2016 Schedule Could Be Right On the Marks

Happy Holidays to you Followers!  Hope you are doing great!

Yesterday, the Pac-12 released the 2016 football schedule for your Washington State Cougars. And frankly, it’s the most compelling schedule we’ve had in a really, really long time.

Let’s take a quick look at the schedule, with the so-called “dream scenario” I posted yesterday noted in the column on the right.

 

S.3 Eastern Washington Eastern Washington
S.10 @ Boise State @Boise State
S.17 Idaho Idaho
S.24 Bye Oregon
O. 1 Oregon @Arizona State
O.8 @Stanford @Oregon State
O.15 UCLA (Homecoming) CAL (Homecoming)
O.22 @Arizona State @Stanford
O.29 @Oregon State BYE
N.5 Arizona UCLA
N.12 California Arizona
N. 19 @Colorado @Colorado
N. 25 Washington Washington

Obviously,  the thing that stands out the most with this schedule is how front loaded it is.  And while I understand people’s frustration with the early bye-week, the fact of the matter is that for a program like ours, it’s better to enter your key games as rested and as healthy as possible. Moreover, because we’ll return the best combination of talent and experience at the quarterback position, this team has the very real capacity to seize control of the division right out of the gate.

Another reason to be really excited about this schedule is that, for the most part, the teams that we’re playing each week have tricky contests the week prior.  Check it out the following table, with our opponent’s opponent (the week prior) noted in the column to the right….

 

S.3 Eastern Washington
S.10 @ Boise State @Louisiana Lafayette
S.17 Idaho @Washington
S.24 Bye
O. 1 Oregon Colorado
O.8 @Stanford @Washington
O.15 UCLA (Homecoming) @Arizona State
O.22 @Arizona State @Colorado
O.29 @Oregon State Utah
N.5 Arizona Stanford
N.12 California Washington
N. 19 @Colorado @Arizona
N. 25 Washington Arizona State

As you can see , I put in bold the instances in which our opponent will play a team that I think has the potential to be a Divisional winner in 2016.  With that in mind, it’s especially nice to see is that there are three occasions where we play a team after they play Washington. So, if Washington continues to develop as a defensive force, we figure to benefit from the pounding that UW should lay on their opponents the week before we play them.

Of course, the downside to the front loaded schedule is that it doesn’t provide us any time to make up for the significant losses that we will incur this off-season, especially on defense (Destiny, Paulo, the BUCKS, Allison).  And so, while it’s exciting to think about playing Oregon and Stanford early, its also important to question whether or not our defense will be sufficiently seasoned to contain the juggernaut that is Oregon, not to mention the strength and balance that will be exhibited by teams like UCLA, Stanford, and Arizona State…

Moreover, as I’ve been telling folks on the side, as good as we could be on offense next year, one has to wonder how potent this group will be on October 1 if Gabe Marks leaves school early to go Pro?  Because frankly folks, with Marks, this team is a legit contender for the Pac-12 championship and a dark horse for the College Football Playoff in 2016. But without Marks and Dom Williams, you have to wonder if this team has the talent on the outside to even be at .500 by the time that we travel to Corvallis on October 29th?

So, we should be paying attention very close attention to whether Marks’ decides to stay at WSU for his senior season or if he chooses take his chances at the next level…

In the meantime, it’s time for all of us to get even more excited about next week’s game at the Sun Bowl against the mighty Canes.  This could be the start of an historic run and ride for WSU Cougar Football, folks!  Let’s enjoy this!

All for now. Go Cougs!