Pullman has not been very friendly to the Bruins recently, and we're not just talking about the fans. The Cougs have had the Bruins' number. In fact, the Cougars have a four game winning streak in the series. The Cougars have effectively ended the Bruins' national title hopes at least two times in the last 20 years.
So it's not too surprising that CFN would predict that the Cougars win this game.
So this is by no means a cakewalk. And then there is the very real possibility that the team will suffer a letdown after two come from behind victories. This is also the first time the Bruins have left SoCal, the first road game out of California, and the longest road trip of the year.
WSU's RB Jerome Harrison:
Harrison in action (photo credit: Jim Bates/Seattle Times)
And here's John Roberts' Viewers' Guide:
Here's a Harrison article in The Olympian. Harrison apparently played second fiddle to his sisters growing up. But in last year's win over the Bruins, he rushed for almost 250 yards.
The Seattle Times has a preview:
"We have not played well at Washington State for a number of years," said Dorrell. He called the Cougars "a dangerous football team and they are even more dangerous in their own backyard."
The Cougars have won their past four games against UCLA, including victories in Pullman in 2001 and 2003. Last year, WSU upset the Bruins 31-29 in Pasadena.
In last year's game, WSU running back Jerome Harrison rushed for 247 yards and scored three touchdowns. That game was the first in his current school-record streak of eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
Harrison ranks third in the nation this season with an average of 148.2 yards. The leader is DeAngelo Williams of Memphis, who is averaging 177 yards.
Harrison has 741 yards in five games this year. The WSU season record is 1,637, set in 1984 by Rueben Mayes. Harrison is on pace to finish the regular season with 1,630 yards.
Junior defensive end Mkristo Bruce leads the Pac-10 in sacks with five. He had two last week against Stanford. He needs one more sack to tie Will Derting and former Cougar Dorian Boose for ninth on the school's all-time list with 14 ½.
Fortunately for the Bruins, Derting won't be playing. Here's another Seattle Times story talking about the alleged racist comments in Pullman, the fact that visitors have to essentially walk through crowds of Cougars fans, and notes on injured Cougars.
I would imagine that the Cougar gameplan is to just run the ball on the Bruins all day long. I also don't see how we can stop that gameplan.
The Cougars are also well known for coming up with innovative gameplans on defense. One in particular I recall is their successful corralling of DeShaun Foster in 2001 with a 5 down lineman strategy.
There is no way we should lose this game, but I have a very bad feeling. The fact that CFN is actually predicting the Cougars to win tells you how much the Bruins are respected. Even a win over Cal can't erase the soft reputation and horrendous finishes the Bruins have had in recent years.
This is an opportunity to change that perception. A loss will be very damaging to Karl Dorrell and what he has built thus far this season.