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The pick: Why Washington State will beat Utah

PULLMAN – The nation’s most dedicated throwing offense and its top passing defense walk into a bar … It’s anyone’s guess who will prevail in a highly anticipated matchup between Kyle Whittingham’s stout defensive secondary and Mike Leach’s dynamic passing attack. So if we handicap that battle at 50/50, we move onto the next one: Utah’s work-in-progress offense versus Washington State’s usually-productive defense. That duel seems much easier to predict. While the Cougars faltered last Friday against USC, conceding 39 points to an explosive Trojans offense, they held the three opponents prior to a total of 41. Utah, averaging 12 points per game, hasn’t exactly been termed as “explosive” – especially after a seven-point showing against the Cougars’ Evergreen State rival two weeks ago. It’s possible the Utes got their act together during the bye week, but taking that act to Pullman, where the Cougars haven’t lost a game since 2016, is another story. It should be a close, physical contest Saturday, but look for WSU to come out on top of this bar fight.

The pick: WSU 28, Utah 21.

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