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Two bye weeks, six road games on the docket for Washington State football in 2019

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 4, 2018, 6:17 p.m.

WSU celebrates after defeating Cal  19-13 on Nov. 3  at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU celebrates after defeating Cal 19-13 on Nov. 3 at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – The college football season will span across 14 weeks next year, meaning Washington State and each of its 11 Pac-12 Conference peers will have two bye weeks rather than one in 2019.

The Cougars are preparing for their fourth consecutive bowl game under Mike Leach – the Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl against Iowa State – but they got a glimpse of next season when the Pac-12 announced its full 2019 schedule Tuesday morning.

The WSU slate is highlighted by the two bye weeks, which fall on Oct. 5 and Nov. 2, a pair of Friday games and six road games for the first time since 2015.

The Cougars will travel to Houston’s NRG Stadium to play the University of Houston in an intriguing nonconference matchup on Friday, Sept. 13, as part of the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff. They’ll also continue the new tradition of playing the Apple Cup on Black Friday (Nov. 29 in Seattle), as they try to snap a six-game losing skid against Washington.

WSU, which had won 13 straight home games at Martin Stadium before the 2018 finale versus the Huskies, will open 2019 on the Palouse against New Mexico State on Aug. 31. The Cougars will then welcome in a Big Sky team to Martin Stadium for the 10th consecutive season when they host Northern Colorado on Sept. 7.

After missing out on a chance to play UCLA in Chip Kelly’s first year, the Cougars will welcome the former Oregon coach and the Bruins to Pullman on Sept. 21.

The Cougars will go nearly a month before playing another game at Martin Stadium. They travel to Salt Lake City to play reigning Pac-12 South champion Utah on Sept. 28 before the Oct. 5 bye. WSU follows with a trip to Tempe to face Arizona State and second-year coach Herm Edwards on Oct. 12 before returning home to play Colorado on Oct. 19.

After that, it’ll be another long stretch without football at Martin Stadium for WSU fans. The Cougars will gun for their fifth straight win over Pac-12 North rival Oregon on Oct. 26 in Eugene before taking their second bye week on Nov. 2. Out of the bye week, they’ll visit Cal on Nov. 9 and attempt to break a two-game losing streak in Berkeley.

A two-week home stretch against the Pac-12 North begins with a Nov. 16 matchup with Stanford and continues with a Nov. 23 clash against Oregon State. The Cardinal haven’t defeated the Cougars in their last three tries and the Beavers haven’t in their last five.

The regular season closes, as always, with the annual rivalry game against the Huskies. The 112th Apple Cup will be played at Husky Stadium. If it’s any consolation for WSU, for the first time in five years, the Cougars won’t have to deal with the headache of containing running back Myles Gaskin and quarterback Jake Browning, who formed the most productive backfield in UW history.

The Cougars had opportunities to play for the Pac-12 title the last three years, but if they can get over the hump in 2019, the conference championship game will be held on Dec. 6 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

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