SAN DIEGO – The Cougars have been hit hard with drama since the their 27-point loss in the Apple Cup, learning first about their head coach’s reported interested in the Tennessee job, then that a pair of talented outside receivers were no longer with the program. Rumors began to swirl about their defensive coordinator’s future in Pullman and the health of Luke Falk became another talking point when the WSU quarterback arrived to Tuesday’s practice in San Diego with a cast covering his non-throwing hand. How do these Cougars handle “distractions?” We’ll find out tomorrow at 6 p.m. Minnesota managed to shrug off its own turmoil last season to come out with an improbable win in the 2016 Holiday Bowl. Maybe the Cougars can take a cue. Assuming the starting QB isn’t damaged beyond repair, I expect Falk and the seniors to rally in their swan song. WSU will get an emotional boost from Hercules Mata’afa’s return in the second half and I’d expect the Cougars do just enough on offense to slip out with their 10th win of the season.
The spread: Michigan State by 1½.
The pick: Washington State 24, Michigan State 20.
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