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Washington State Football vs. Colorado: The Cougars Fight to Stay Out of the Pac-12 Cellar

A preview of Saturday's game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Washington State Cougars.

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

When Washington State and Colorado fans look at the rest of their schedules, I'm sure they both draw the same exact conclusion about Saturday's game in Pullman, "We must win this game Saturday, because it is far and away the most winnable game left on the schedule."

For the Buffaloes, the Cougars simply represent the team closest to them in talent level in the conference, and also represent their best chance to even get one win all season after already losing to the three worst opponents on their schedule to open the season. For the Cougars, it will be a meltdown in Pullman if they aren't able to beat the lowly Buffaloes as it won't get any easier the rest of the way, and the Cougars will likely end up winning fewer than, or just as many games as they did last year under Paul Wulff unless they can pull off a few upsets.

While the Cougars have been far from impressive so far this season, they have been nowhere near as helpless looking as the Buffaloes, who look not only like the worst BCS conference team in the nation this season, but possibly the worst FBS team. The Buffaloes got absolutely demolished by a Fresno State team that has been pretty bad in recent years, lost to FCS Sacramento State at home and lost to a Colorado State team that turned around and got smashed by an FCS team themselves. Unless Jon Embree can make a serious turnaround, it's likely that his job will soon go the way of the American Bison.

The Cougars really have no excuse if they don't come out at home and easily blow out the Buffaloes. Colorado is fresh off giving up back-to-back 300 yard passing games to David Carr's little brother and the wily Garrett Safron so either Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday should be able to have a field day with the Cougars deep receiving corps. Cougar fans should fully expect to finally see the offensive production from Mike Leach's team that they expected to see from the first game forward unless something weird happens.

But this is college football, something weird always happens.Just a few weeks ago Stanford struggled to just barely beat San Jose State and Arizona went to overtime with mighty Toledo and now both are among the hottest teams in the country. With that in mind, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see Colorado come out and make a game of it on the Palouse. While their cupboards aren't as stocked as teams like Stanford or Arizona, the Buffaloes aren't completely devoid of talent, and honestly shouldn't be getting blasted by teams like Fresno State the way that they did. If the Buffaloes can come out motivated and get a running game going, slowing the pace of play and calming the home crowd, they should have a shot, especially if the Cougar offense continues to struggle to get on track.

From a pure match-up standpoint though, the game favors the Cougars with them playing at home and possessing a prolific passing game that should be better than that of Fresno State and Sacramento State. The Cougars also surprisingly have almost looked better on defense than on offense at times and the Colorado offense has failed to show much of a pulse all season, so it is unlikely that they suddenly will against the best defense they have faced yet. Motivation should also be a key factor for the Cougars as well, as a win will put them at 3-1 and needing only 3 wins the rest of the way to get to the coveted 6 wins and long elusive bowl eligibility.

What it all boils down to though is that no matter the outcome, one coach is going to come away in a really bad spot very early in the season after Saturday's game with their team looking fully entrenched in the Pac-12 cellar for at least the rest of the season and if you are fan of either it will be a worst nightmare come true.