Washington St Cougars 2023 College Football Preview

Washington St Cougars 2023 College Football Preview

July 14, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 7-6

ATS – 8-5

The Cougars looked really good early in the season as they won four of their first five games with the only loss coming to the mighty Oregon Ducks, a game in which they led by 12 points in the fourth quarter. Things went sour around midseason and the Cougars ended up losing five of their final eight games. That cold streak included a blowout loss to Fresno St in the JIMMY KIMMEL HOLLYWOOD SCUM LA BOWL (L29-6).

Washington St Cougars 2023 Outlook


The Cougars have struggled the last few years on offense and haven’t averaged 28 PPG since the 2019 campaign. QB Cameron Ward did fine work LY (64%, 3,231, 23-9 TD to INT; 5 rush TD) but he’ll be without his top-four (!) WRs this season. The Cougars did their best to populate the WR depth chart thru the transfer portal so it’s almost certainly gonna take some time before there’s THROW GAME chemistry. We really like the 1-2 combo at RB and believe that Nakia Watson is one of the most underrated weapons in the PAC-12 (769, 9 TD, 5.3; 30 receptions, 4 TD). Four starters return to the OL but they’ll need to feature a new LT. This has the look of an average PAC-12 offense but we concede that there’s upside if the WR group turns out to be better than advertised. Stay tuned!


Washington St held together fairly well LY as they allowed 402 YPG (#5 PAC 12) but allowed a mere 22.9 PPG (#3). They also did a good job getting to the QB (33 sacks, #4). Only five starters are retained this year but they’ve still got some talented bodies sprinkled thru the depth chart. The Cougars are particularly stacked at DE with the return of their lethal duo Brennan Jackson (6 sacks, 12 TFL LY) and Ron Stone (4 TFL, 14 QBH). The secondary looks really good as they bring back three starters including CB Chau Smith-Wade (10 PBU) and safety Jaden Hicks (#2 tackler). The LB unit is the weak link as they need to find a new crop of starters. Hopefully, one or two transfer portal specimens can turn into productive linebackers.


The Cougars will have a solid kicking game given the return of PK Dean Janikowski (11-14 FG, 40-41 XP LY) and punter Nick Haberer (42.4).

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The Cougars have a pair of layups in non-conference play (at Colorado St, N Colorado) but must face Wisconsin (H) who’ll be looking to avenge LY’s loss in Madison. Washington St avoids USC and Utah (!) in PAC-12 action but must face Oregon and Washington ON THE HIGHWAY.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Wisconsin (Sept 9)

As noted above, the Badgers will be in revenge mode after falling to the Washington St last year. If the Cougars happen to be laying points in this spot we’ll almost certainly prefer to play on the road team.

Season Win Total

Market consensus July 14

Over 6 -120

Under 6 +100


Lean: Over

Six wins looks about right as they’ve got plenty of winnable PAC-12 games. We can’t see them going any worse than 5-7 and they’ve got the potential to win as many as eight games.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

Washington St has yet to play in a PAC 12 Championship Game. That event held its inaugural edition in 2011.

Pullman, Washington is a city of approximately 35,000 people located just eight miles from Moscow, Idaho. The city moves about a mile to the east every year as it attempts to get further and further away from the Communist hellhole known as Seattle. Pullman should arrive in Idaho early in the next decade **.

** needs fact check


If you toss away the PLANDEMIC season of 2020 when the Cougars went 1-3, it’s accurate to say that the Cougars haven’t had a bad season since 2014 when they went 3-9. This edition of Washington St football doesn’t look like anything special but they’re more likely to surprise to the upside than the downside. We project them to squeak into bowl season but don’t think they have the MINERALS to contend for a spot in the PAC-12 Championship Game.