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2005 Washington State Cougars Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


After their dream season of 2002, which ended in a Rose Bowl loss to Oklahoma, Washington State lost its head coach Mike Price, with Bill Doba replacing him. The Cougars, coming off back to back winning seasons against the odds were expected to maintain a high level of excellence and did reach the 10-win plateau straight up in Doba’s first season at the helm, but lost five of their final eight games against the odds. While Washington State had developed a solid reputation as a perennial bowl team there was some concern that in Doba’s second season, the Cougars might drop a notch or two, particularly since they were hit hard by graduation.

In their opener against a tough New Mexico team, Washington State prevailed 21-17 as 1-point road chalks, which was taken by the sports betting bloggers as a positive sign that perhaps Doba could “keep it going.” In their next game at the Seattle Seahawks home stadium, the Cougars were 2.5-point chalks against visiting Colorado, who was coming off a controversial off-season and written off by many as a team to keep off one’s lists of football picks. Colorado pulled off the mild upset with a 20-12 win. The Cougars had a nice bounce back in their next game, however, a 49-8 win over Idaho as 25-point home chalks and it appeared as if they would be competitive. At this point, Washington State was 2-1 both straight up and against the odds.

Washington State’s next game at Arizona caused some concern among the sports betting bloggers. The Cougars prevailed 20-19 as 3.5 road chalks, failing to get the money and looking sloppy in the process. The concerns grew in their next game at home versus Oregon where, as 3.5-point chalks, The Cougars lost 38-41. In their next game, also at home, the roof caved in as Washington State lost to lightly regarded Stanford 17-23 as 1.5-point chalks. Panic ensued in their next game at Oregon State, who was struggling but made an 8-point favorite. Many sports betting bloggers thought that the line was a bargain and that WSU was a “live dog” that belonged on anyone’s list of football picks but OSU prevailed with ease 19-38. Washington State limped home to face USC and was humiliated 12-42 as 24.5 dogs for their fifth consecutive loss against the odds. At this point, with nobody wanting them on their lists of football picks, the Cougars were a good value at UCLA as 14-point dogs in a 31-29 win. WSU failed to get the cash in their final two games, finishing 3-8 vs. the number.





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