The Friday night (9:00pm ET) PAC-12 game featuring the Washington State Cougars (2-4) and the 25th ranked Stanford Cardinal (3-2) at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA is a much more intriguing match-up than it appears at first glance. The Cougars enter the game after a wild, 60-59 loss to Cal last week. They have played all of their opponents close, with narrow losses to Rutgers (41-38), Oregon (38-31) and a narrow win over Utah (28-27) so far this season. Stanford suffered their second loss of the year last week to Notre Dame 17-14 on the road. The Cardinal also lost at home to conference rival USC 13-10 in week 2, and has a 20-13 road win at Washington in conference play.
Washington St. ranks 27th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 38 points per game and 5th in total offense with 579.5 yards per game. Quarterback Connor Halliday has thrown for an astounding 3,052 yards and 26 TDs already this season and leads the nation in total passing yards, wide receiver Vince Mayle (51 receptions, 703 yards, 6 TDs) is one the numerous targets in this pass-happy attack of the Cougars. Washington St. has had 9 or more players catch a pass in each of its first 6 games. Washington St. ranks 103rd nationally in scoring defense with 35.2 PPG allowed and 90th in total defense with 438.2 YPG allowed.
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Washington St. vs. Stanford Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Washington St. Cougars +17.5
@Stanford Cardinal -17.5
Over 55 (-110)
Under 55 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Washington St. vs. Stanford Pick:
Stanford blew out the Cougars 55-17 last year in Seattle. Washington St. did play them tough in their last trip to Palo Alto in 2012, falling 24-17. Stanford has won 6 consecutive meetings straight up, with the Cougars’ last win a 33-17 win in Pullman in 2007.
This game offers a dramatic contrast in styles with the up-tempo, high-scoring style of Washington St. and head coach Mike Leach going against the smash-mouth defense and pro-style offense of Stanford and David Shaw. The Cougars may not be able to stop anyone on defense, but they have been able to score on everyone. They have played everyone close, and Halliday has been putting up unreal numbers throwing for 734 yards and 6 TDs last week against Cal. That said, Stanford has maybe the top defense in the country overall and has shut down every passing attack they faced (rank #2 nationally) including Everett Golson of Notre Dame who they held to a 46.51% completion percentage.
The weak spot in Stanford’s pass defense is that they have allowed 11.72 yards per completion, ranking a middle of the pack 71st nationally. This means that if Halliday is able to complete his passes, his receivers should be able to rack up some yardage on Stanford. With how hot Halliday has been, this seems like a good bet. Stanford should win this game, but given Washington State’s track record this season they should play them close. Take Washington St. and the points here.