Despite recording an impressive 11 victories a year ago and winning the PAC-12 North, the Washington State Cougars are being looked at by most football observers and pundits with a sideways glance that seems to suggest last season’s success was mostly a fluke.
Now, as the Cougars get set for the upcoming 2019 NCAA college football regular season, head coach Mike Leach will look to keep his team in the PAC-12 title hunt at the very least, though there’s a lot of change taking place this offseason, starting with the game’s most important position.
If you’re looking to find out whether Washington State is going to be a pretender or a legitimate contender in 2019,, then consider your ticket punched. Thanks to the expert collegiate gridiron insight that you’re about to get, you’re going to have a great idea of just how many games the Cougars are going to win this coming season.
Washington State Cougars 2019 Season Win / Loss Total Odds & Betting Prediction
2018 Team Leaders
- Touchdowns James Williams: (16)
- Rushing James Williams: (560)
- Passing Gardner Minshew: (4779)
- Receiving Dezmon Patmon: (816)
- Interceptions Marcus Strong: (3)
Why Washington State Will Top Their Win Total Odds
Despite the changes the Cougars are facing in 2019, there are a bunch of good reason to back them to reach nine victories and top their win total odds of eight. First, the Cougars return four starters from one of the nation’s best offensive lines last season, particularly in pass protection where they allowed just one sack every 52 pass attempts.
Washington State also has a ton of returning talent at the wide receiver position and in the defensive backfield, which returns three starters from last season, including all-conference safety Jalen Thompson. Last but not least, Washington State has a head coach that is one of the best offensive minds in all of college football in Mike Leach. The Cougars are a robust 20-6 over the last two seasons under the 2015 and 2018 PAC-12 Coach of the Year.
Why Washington State Won’t Top Their Win Total Odds
Just as there are some good reasons to pick Washington State to top their win total odds, there are also some good reason to back the Cougars to come up just short of reaching nine wins. First and foremost, Leach will have a new quarterback under center with 2018 starter Gardner Minshew now suiting up for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While Leach has chosen to go the graduate transfer quarterback route for consecutive seasons, it remains to be seen just how well former Eastern Washington star and FCS All-American Gage Gubrud will fare in his first season in Division I football. The good news is that Minshew made the transition seamlessly a year ago after starring at East Carolina University prior to come to Washington State. Gubrud had a ton of success at Eastern Washington by accumulating more than 11,000 yards of offense and 100 total touchdowns, while, ironically, beating Washington State in his first ever collegiate start. There’s also inexperience at running back with 2018 rushing and touchdown leader James Williams bolting to the NFL early.
I know the Cougars lost a really gifted signal-caller in Gardner Minshew, but I suspect that Mike Leach has identified Gage Gubrud as the type of signal-caller that will succeed in his pass-happy offense, so, I just wouldn’t expect much drop-off at the position despite Gardner Minshew’s eye-opening campaign a year ago.
With that said, I think the Cougars are only in danger of dropping one home contest against Stanford in 2019, although I do see troubles ahead at Utah, Oregon and definitely Washington. In the end, I’m going with Washington State to drop two games and possibly three, but definitely not four. I’ve got the Cougars finishing at either 9-3 or 10-2 to land right on or narrowly top their 2019 win total odds. I see three losses coming for Mike Leach’s squad in 2019.
Pick: 9 Wins