This was not the start that Mike Leach was envisioning after his program won nine games a year ago. The plan was to move forward and compete for the PAC 12 Championship. Washington State has taken a seat down to start the 2016 year out, dropping their first two games of the season. The first was a tough loss to take against Eastern Washington. Losing to Boise State on the blue turf in Idaho is an acceptable loss, especially by only three points. However, let me say this, Leach is one of the worst clock and game managers in football.
Down 17 with more than a full quarter to play, Leach went for it on 4th down, bypassing a chip-shot field goal to make it a two possession game. And then late in the game, when the Cougars got the ball back with out about 40 seconds left down by 3, they wasted around 15 seconds off the clock and had to throw up an improbably Hail Mary to end the game. On their own 40-yard line, there was about 20 seconds left. Instead of taking a timeout, Leach let the clock tick down to about 8 seconds to take a timeout. What in the actual?
Leach has defied logic before with his clock management skills, so it wasn’t anything new for him. Washington State welcomes a different team from Idaho to Pullman in Week 3, the Idaho Vandals. Idaho has spent plenty of time in the basement over the last several years. They haven’t been able to reach a bowl game since 2009, where they took on Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl. Oddly enough, I remember that game quite vividly, as I had a wager on the OVER in it. It was a crazy ending, which resulted in Idaho winning 43-42 on a 2-point conversion on the last play of the game. The Vandals haven’t had anything to celebrate since then.
Eastern Washington was able to spring an upset as a similar underdog, so we’ll see if Idaho is up for the task in Pullman. Washington State needs to stop the bleeding badly. Heads are going to be rolling if the Cougars can’t beat Idaho at home. Washington State has a high-powered offensive attack, led by Luke Falk at quarterback. This is a school that can easily put up around 50 points against a team like Idaho. Boise State did an excellent job of preventing the Washington State offense from going nuts on their defense. Idaho will need to instill a similar effort to hang around this afternoon. Find out what I think about this matchup below.
Idaho Vandals vs Washington State Cougars NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Washington State -26(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Idaho vs. Washington State Pick:
What the Cougars need is a complete effort today. They can’t be hanging back on their heels letting Idaho take it to them. After the dud they laid against Eastern Washington, there needs to be a much better effort all the way around. The defense played much better against Boise State, but the offense didn’t look in sync. This week everything has to come together. There is no doubt that Mike Leach laid into his players in the locker room. Look up his rant at Texas Tech on YouTube, I’m sure it looked like something similar. Like I said earlier though, he has to take some accountability for last week. Luckily for Washington State, they get a team the Cougars should be able to beat up on in Week 3.
The Vandals come into Pullman with a record of 1-1. They managed to eke by Montana State, and then get demolished by Washington the next week 56-14. If you don’t think Washington State players took a look at that score, think again. I suspect they’re going to want to beat Idaho in similar fashion, because Washington State and Washington are certainly going to be compared. Quarterback Luke Falk would have been a suitable Heisman candidate if Washington State had a stellar campaign. With them already behind the 8-ball, it’s looking dim for Falk. Not that it is his fault, he has thrown for 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with 898 yards. To be considered for the Heisman, there needs to be some team success as well.
Washington passed all over the Idaho secondary. Their ability to stop the pass is putrid at best. The Huskies passed for 356 yards and 6 touchdowns. I’m sure Idaho loves the fact that they play a pass happy this week, and the way I see it, they are going to get lit up for a similar number this afternoon. This will be the game Washington State goes absolutely berserk on offense and Falk has a field day for 6 touchdowns. Idaho shouldn’t be able to keep up in this one, as Leach and company find the blowout they’ve been looking for.