WSU vs. UW matchup
12:30 p.m., Friday, Husky Stadium
Ch. 13 TV, Radio 710-AM, 950-AM
The line: Huskies by 16.
The setup:The Cougars (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) earned bowl eligibility with a 49-37 victory over Utah last week, but the only way WSU can assure itself of a bowl berth is to beat the Huskies (7-4, 4-4) for a second year in a row. That would be a significant step for Mike Leach in his second year of a major rebuilding project in Pullman. The Huskies, meanwhile, are looking to snap out of the seven-win spin cycle of the past three seasons while also improving their bowl outlook.
Key matchup: Connor Halliday and the WSU offense lead the nation with 58.1 passing attempts per game. UW counters with one the best pass defenses in the Pac-12. Last week, the Huskies essentially shut down Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, the nation’s passing leader entering the game, holding him to a season-low 229 yards with three interceptions.
What to expect: The Huskies are 5-1 at home this season, and a sellout crowd at Husky Stadium would figure to boost UW’s chances. But the Cougars have been at their best on the road this season, with a 3-1 record in Pac-12 road games. That includes wins over USC and Arizona; on top of that, WSU opened the season by playing Auburn about as tough as anyone has this season before falling 31-24.
Note: All indications this week were that the injured throwing shoulder of UW senior quarterback Keith Price was improving, but UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he didn’t plan to announce a starter between Price and Cyler Miles before Friday.
Predictions: Adam Jude: Huskies 42, Cougars 34 — Regardless of who starts at quarterback for UW, count on another big day from Bishop Sankey in what could be his final game at Husky Stadium.
Bud Withers: Huskies 37, Cougars 20 — Huskies decide to start Cyler Price, move the ball either way.
Larry Stone: Huskies 38, Cougars 34 —In a wild game, the Huskies will have a little too much Bishop Sankey for Washington State.
Adam Jude, The Seattle Times