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WSU football: Cougars look to rebound from Stanford setback against Cal

Can the Washington State Cougars rebound from a brutal loss against Stanford when they take on the California Golden Bears?

Otto Greule Jr

If you were to summarize WSU football 2013 in a word, they'd be ______________ because ________________________.

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: Curious because we still don't know what the team has in store. WSU is a better team than in years past but how much have they improved? The optimism heading into the Stanford game isn't gone but expectations were put into place. The Cardinal are national title contenders. At 3-2, the Cougs are about where, or even ahead of, a preseason schedule assessment would put them. Are the Cougs out of the cellar, we'll find out at Cal this weekend.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Hopeful because they are finally actually competing, and winning after so many years of outright futility. Obviously the blowout loss in Seattle to Stanford was disappointing, but it's only one game and the Cougars come right back next week to play the worst team in the North, Cal with a chance to get their fourth win and I think fans right now are happy to just be expecting to win games and be competitive.

Stanford brutalized WSU. Were there any positives to take from the win?

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: It's hard to pull good from a 38 point loss but there were a few positives. Backup QB Austin Apodaca is at the very least capable of moving the Cougars downfield if called into battle. Apodaca gained invaluable experience and looked to settle in after a rough start. John Thompson was a pleasant surprise see on the field. The walk-on, true freshman receiver got some playing time at a position most believed to be too deep for a freshman, let alone a walk-on, to achieve. Lastly, another true freshman, CB Daquawn Brown, continues to play at a high level early in his Pac-12 career. He is going to be one to watch for years to come.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Not really honestly. Just that it's over and they now have a very beatable opponent in Cal coming up.

What are your thoughts on the neutral site game in Seattle every year? Okay with it? Want to end it?

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: A heated debate amongst students, fans, and alumni. I am for the Seattle game under a few conditions: First, it must be limited, with all effort possible to one of the first two weekends of the season - the earlier the game is played the less likely the weather is to be a factor on the game and attendance. And second, it must be an out of conference opponent to preserve home-field advantage for conference games. 30k in CenturyLink is far less intimidating than 30k in Martin Stadium. The bigger, and lesser-known, advantage of the Seattle game is that it closes out a week of events and fundraising in the Seattle-area. Countless dollars are donated and connection made and it only seems natural to cap it off with a football game. One thing cures all speculation and debate of the Seattle game: winning. Win and it becomes a non-issue. Unfortunately, the Seattle game has been rough on Wazzu fans the last 3 years. The Cougs are 0-3 and have been outscored 150-64.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I like it, but only for non-conference games. I think they should make conference opponents have to travel all the way to Pullman and use their home field advantage to its full potential instead of having a half-filled stadium, that when they schedule Oregon and Oregon State is littered with opposing fans.

What will be the keys for the Cougars recovering and beating Cal?

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: Step 1: Get your starting QB back - all reports suggest Leach will have Connor Halliday ready for this weekend. Step 2: Learn from the past and then forget about it - the Stanford game is a thing of the past and Cal is your next opponent. Step 3: Continue to do the things that have been successful in the past - work hard and execute. I believe WSU will win this weekend. Both offenses will score points but WSU's defense has shown the ability to stop opponents while Cal's has not.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I think they will be able to move the ball on the Cal defense that could be the worst in Pac-12 so it's going to be all about if they can stop the Cal passing game and limit their interceptions.