FROM PULLMAN — In terms of the impact such a game could have on Washington State's season, I don't know that I recall one as highly anticipated as Saturday's matchup with Stanford. Discuss that and more after the jump.
There have been games to look forward to, sure. Last season's opener at BYU was met with fervor, and you can maybe throw this year's game at Auburn into a similar category, but a tier or two lower. Before that, though, what was the last game as anticipated — for reasons almost purely positive — as this week's against Stanford? More to the point: who was the last top-5 team WSU prepared for with a legitimate belief not only on the behalf of the players, but on behalf of a decent number of fans, that it could win the game? To illustrate a bit how things have changed, take a look at last year's betting line compared to this season's. WSU was a 24.5-point underdog at Stanford in 2012 (and it had a chance to tie inside the Cardinal's 10-yard line on the game's final possession.) This year, in what isn't even a true home game for WSU, Stanford opens as a 10 or 11-point favorite, depending which book you consult. So maybe there won't be a ton of folks picking WSU to win (I haven't decided on my prediction yet), but there certainly is evidence to support the thought that an upset is possible. Against a top-5 team, that has been a rare belief indeed.
On to the links …
– Our story in today's newspaper takes a look ahead at the primetime feel awaiting WSU on Saturday.
– Here's where WSU stands in the stats after four games.
– Deadspin picked up the Mike Leach-Paul Petrino spat (there is graphic language in the headline, FYI).
– Stanford did indeed stay in the top five of the AP poll.
– A Seattle native is excited for his homecoming with Arizona against Washington this week.
– Arizona State had some kicking problems against Stanford.
– Washington feels good about its defense heading into its game against Arizona.
– On second thought, Jim Mora thinks UCLA's quarterback played well on Saturday.
– USC expects a pair of injured starters to be “fine.”
– Oregon State hasn't played all that great, but it's found a way to win a couple games.
– Oregon hasn't lost many conference openers recently.
– Utah is feeling good after a big win over BYU.
– Colorado is restoring its traditions.
All for now. Nolan Washington, Darryl Monroe, Gabe Marks and Jeremiah Laufasa will be available for interviews this afternoon, followed by coach Mike Leach.