Sep 14, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) drops back to pass while UNLV Rebels defensive lineman Parker Holloway (90) rushes during the second quarter at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Football Preview: North No. 6 Washington State Cougars

Sept. 8, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (84) makes a catch in front of Eastern Washington Eagles defensive back Allen Brown (4) during the second half at Martin Stadium. Washington State won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Season Preview Series


1. Arizona State

2. USC


4. Arizona

5. Utah

6. Colorado

2012 record: 3-9 (1-8 Pac-12)

Key returnees: DB Deone Bucannon, LB Cyrus Coen, QB Connor Halliday, WR Gabe Marks

Key departures: DL Anthony Laurenzi, LB Travis Long, QB Jeff Tuel, WR Marquess Wilson

Key additions: QB Tyler Bruggman (Brophy Prep/Phoenix, Ariz.), WR Vince Mayle (Sierra College/Rocklin, Calif.), LB Ivan McClennan (El Camino College/El Camino, Calif.)

2012 season recap:

The Cougars accomplished their one goal for each season: beat the Huskies. Outside of that, they didn’t accomplish much. Expectations were high for Mike Leach’s first season. While those were mostly delusional, there was some reason behind them. Leach was bringing his fast-paced, air raid offense to senior quarterback Jeff Tuel and star wide receiver Marquess Wilson. Though the Cougars weren’t seeing much success before it, Wilson was dismissed midway through the season and Tuel missed three games due to injury.

WSU had managed to get above .500, starting 2-1 after a 35-27 win over UNLV, but it lost eight straight after that. The skid left the Cougars sitting at 2-9 going into the Apple Cup. Needless to say, they were 3-9 after it. Neither team’s fans will forget that game, as it made the Cougars’ season and significantly harmed the Huskies’. Even after a 3-9 season, Coug fans still had a good taste in their mouths after Leach’s first season at the helm.

2013 season preview:

In Leach’s second season, expectations have been hampered after just three wins in his first, though progress is being made. If not for Cal’s easy schedule, this would be the season the Cougars get out of the Pac-12 cellar. Unfortunately for Mike Leach and Co., they miss Colorado this season and have to travel to Berkeley to face Cal. That likely wipes out two wins that would have gotten WSU close to a bowl bid.

It will be interesting to see if Connor Halliday can hold down the starting quarterback role for the whole season. I can’t remember the last time WSU only started one quarterback in a season. If he does, he is sure to rack up some numbers in Leach’s offense. He has enough weapons at wide receiver to have a quality season and he has the chance to lead the Cougars resurgence in the Pac-12 under Leach. He just needs to be able to stand up in the pocket for more than a couple seconds. Nonetheless, there still isn’t enough talent on this team to contend for even fourth place in the Pac-12 North. They’ll be battling with Cal to stay out of the basement in 2013.

2013 predicted finish: 2-10 (0-9), sixth place in the Pac-12 North

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Tags: Football Washington Huskies Washington State Cougars

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