(5-6, 4-6-1 ATS)
Washington State Cougars
(2-9, 7-4 ATS)
The Washington Huskies finally got back the coveted Apple Cup last season when they spanked the Washington State Cougars 30-0 at home. Now that the scene has shifted to Pullman, Wazzou will hope to return the favor, take back the Apple Cup, and keep the Huskies out of a bowl game with a ‘W’ on Saturday.
For a man that many thought at the start of the season would be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, it would be a real shame if QB Jake Locker never made it to a bowl game in his career. Locker has thrown for 7,357 yards and rushed for 1,827 more, accounting for a total of 78 TDs against 34 picks. Locker is leading an offense that ranks No. 83 in the nation at 345.8 yards per game and is No. 100 in scoring at 20.9 points per game. In spite of the fact that the offense has only averaged 14.0 points per game since October 23rd, there is reason for hope. A defense which allowed 41+ in three straight games against the Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal, and Oregon Ducks, has suddenly only allowed 20 points in its last two games overall. If that keeps up, the Huskies are going to have a great chance of getting to a bowl game, the ultimately reward for winning this year’s Apple Cup. RB Chris Polk only needs 46 yards on the ground to become a 1,000 yard rusher.
Things really haven’t gone that well for Wazzou this year, but at least it can rest on the fact that it did win a Pac-10 game on the campaign, something that hasn’t come often of late. Washington State, too has been playing better defense of late, and that’s what HC Paul Wulff is relying on to keep his job after this season is over. Many think that he is coaching for his job, especially having had three full weeks to prepare for this game. The Cougs have covered six of their L/7, with the only defeat coming in a 42-0 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils, so things are looking up. QB Jeff Tuel is to thank for all of this. He hasn’t had a sparkling year by any means, but he is holding his own, throwing for 2,482 yards and 15 TDs against 11 picks on the campaign. He is also third on the team in rushing at 169 yards. Watch out for WR Marquess Wilson, as he is the biggest threat that this offense has. He has 968 yards on 51 receptions and would love to get to the 1,000 yard barrier by the time this one is said and done.
Yuck. We guess we’re going to go with the visitors in this one, though there really isn’t much to make us believe that the Huskies are going to be able to cover a 5.5 point spread on the road against any team in the nation. Wulff just doesn’t have the horses in this one, unless his ‘D’ comes up with a Herculean effort against Locker and company. U-Dub gets to its bowl game.
NCAA Football Free Pick: Washington Huskies -5.5