PULLMAN – The most highly anticipated Washington State football season in at least a decade will play out primarily in front of its home fans.
The Pac-12 conference announced next year’s schedule during Tuesday’s edition of Inside Pac-12 Football on the Pac-12 Networks, revealing a Martin Stadium-heavy slate for the Cougars, who will play seven games in Pullman for the first time since 1999.
“Coming off our second bowl game in three years, I anticipate capacity crowds watching the Cougars play some of the top teams in the country,” said athletic director Bill Moos.
Hosts Mike Yam, Yogi Roth and Matt Leinart discussed the schedules as they were announced, and the conclusion seemed to be that WSU will know where it stands early. The Cougars open their season on September 3 at home against Eastern Washington, before traveling to Boise State the following weekend. The Broncos will likely be led by Shadle Park alum Brett Rypien, who started at quarterback as a freshman this season.
The Cougars will close their Pacific Northwestern nonconference slate one week later at home against Idaho, before the team holds its first bye week. WSU opens its Pac-12 schedule by hosting Oregon on Oct. 1, and travels to Stanford the next week, so the Cougars will know early on if they are a factor in the Pac-12 North title race.
“I’m really excited about Washington State,” said Roth. “If they can beat Miami in their bowl game, a signature team, they’re going to be a Top-25 team and they’re going to have a guy who’s got Heisman potential in Luke Falk.”
The hosts also listed nine “notable conference games.” Included in the list were WSU’s home games against the Ducks and against UCLA, with the latter game, to be played on Oct. 15, also serving as Homecoming. Dad’s Weekend will be the same weekend that the Cougar host Arizona, with that game being played on Nov. 5.
The Cougars will only play one weekday game in 2016: The Apple Cup. For the second consecutive year the rivalry game against Washington will be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, with the 2016 rendition held in Pullman.