PULLMAN - Disappointment. That is the word one could use to describe how the 2019 season has played out thus far for Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars.
Less than one year removed from "Minshew Mania" and the magical 2018 run that set a school record for wins, Washington State now finds themselves in a hole, needing to win two of their final three games of the year to even become bowl eligible.
The Cougars currently sit at 4-5, including 1-5 inside of Pac-12 play. Most of their struggles have not only come inside of Pac-12 play, but also come on the road. They've lost four of five road contests, defeating only Houston all the way back in September. It's safe to say that when the Cougars are in Martin Stadium and the Pullman crazies are doing what they do, things are just..different.
This Saturday they will welcome in David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal, in what is a virtual must win for both teams if they want to end up bowl eligible at the end of the season. Both teams come in at 4-5 on the year, each needing to win two of their final three games to reach that six win threshold required to go bowling.
Coach Shaw has yet to make an official announcement on who his starting quarterback will be, but the belief is due to an undisclosed to K.J. Costello that it will be Davis Mills under center. The 6'4" Mills opened the season as the starter for the Cardinals, but hasn't started since October 5 against the Washington Huskies.
For Washington State, the recipe they need for success hasn't changed. Anthony Gordon continues to lead the country in passing yards and touchdown passes. He has thrown for 3,794 yards and 34 touchdowns in the first nine games.
Earlier this week, Gordon was named as a semi-finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award that is awarded to the best college quarterback. Gordon has been impressive, but the ten interceptions he has thrown; not so much.
Turnovers have plagued the Cougars in close games. The defensive struggles for Washington State have been well documented as we've made our way through 2019, and turning the ball over certainly doesn't make things easier on that unit.
Washington State is 1-3 this season in games decided by seven points or less. Without going into specific details, how many of those results could be different by just emphasizing ball security?
Stanford rolls into the Palouse as 11 point underdogs according to betting lines at Las Vegas sportsbooks. The game can be seen at 1:30 P.M. on the Pac-12 Network.