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The pick: Why Washington State will beat Oregon State

There was a time not all that long ago when Washington State fans could handicap the annual game against Oregon State the way they did for the Big Sky teams on the Cougars’ schedule. Actually, WSU’s win streak against the Beavers is currently at six games, while the Cougars’ Big Sky streak is just three. But there’s no need to discuss the Portland State and Eastern Washington miscues of the Mike Leach era.

In the past six meetings between WSU and OSU, the Cougars have averaged 48 points. The Beavers haven’t been too shabby either, at 35 points, and nearly closed out the game on their Pac-12 North foe last season in a 54-53 loss at Martin Stadium.

While both teams present unique challenges on offense – WSU with its legion of small, quick receivers and OSU with its all-conference running back, Jermar Jefferson – it’s not clear the Cougars and Beavers have addressed their respective issues on defense.

Without knowing much about the team I cover, and less about the one I don’t, I’m under the impression the Cougars will be more effective on defense with a new coaching staff, new formation and, well, some actual structure.

While the offenses won’t combine for 107 points this time, fans should still brace for a shootout, with the Cougars making a decisive stop late, delivering Nick Rolovich the first win of his Power Five coaching career.

The pick: Washington State 37, Oregon State 35.