For Washington State students and alumni, school pride is often worn on their sleeve thanks to an incredible alumni base and spirit programs that rival even the most dedicated of universities. Take, for example, the “Wave The Flag” campaign, where students take a road trip to each game with the Washington State flag, stopping in places along the way to drum up fan support. Or the alumni, which include Drew Bledsoe, Steve Gleason and, of course, the Buffalo Bills new (possibly) starting quarterback Jeff Tuel.
So when it comes to this season opener, the Washington State Cougars come into their game against Auburn with a hunger like no other. Despite a disappointing debut last year for head coach Mike Leach, there are really high expectations for this season. Think bowl games. After all, a 6-6 record should be fairly easy for the Cougars to accomplish as long as the team handles business at home and steals a game on the road, (preferably against Washington in the Apple Cup). They’ll start that drive with a win over Auburn in their season opener.
Although Leach's system is well known, the team’s Air Raid offense allows for a small element of surprise. What's great about it is there's no one or two players the opposing team can focus on. The ball is evenly distributed among the entire receiving core and all of them are capable of having a breakout game. Two of the Cougars' more explosive young receivers are Gabe Marks and Dominique Williams. Both are excellent at running routes and superb at making difficult catches in traffic. They both are sure to have big seasons and that should start with stellar performances against Auburn. With that being said, any of young receivers from Kristoff Williams to Isiah Myers could have career days against the Auburn secondary. That type of versatility really works to Washington State’s advantage.
And let’s talk about the real reason why Washington State will win:
The Cougars are ready to be the first team this season to poke holes in the belief the SEC is the most elite college football there is. On and off the field, many Washington State players and their fans see this game as the perfect opportunity to showcase to the nation how good of a team we really are. Everyone knows the SEC is supposed to represent the elite when it comes to college football, so Cougars’ fans are excited to go down there and show the Tigers what the Pac-12 is all about.
Washington State fans and players know we can win this game, and we know what it'll do for the school, the fans, and the entire Pullman community when they come out victorious.
-- Michael-Shawn Dugar is the sports editor of Washington State's student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen.