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WSU football: Cougars ready to turn the corner?

Washington State showed promising signs in their season opener against Auburn.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State showed fight in Auburn. Is the Pirate Ship going to set sail?

Anthony Cassino, UW Dawg Pound: Let's not forget that Auburn was really bad in 2012, so I don't know how much can be drawn from that game just yet. It's nice for the Cougs to be making progress and having moral victories, but after about four years of that you'd like to see some actual victories.

David Piper, Addicted to Quack: It could. Washington State is certainly improved, and will continue to do so as Mike Leach upgrades the talent. But I'm not sold on Connor Halliday, and I think an upgrade at QB will be needed before they really take the next step.

Jason Bartel, AZ Desert Swarm: No. Keep cleaning out Auburn bars though Cougars fans.

Connor Pelton, Building the Dam: As the season progresses, Washington State's offense will become more explosive and start putting up video game-like numbers. The defense that returned nine starters from 2012 looked solid at times on Saturday, but they need to put in a solid 60 minutes if the Cougars are to go bowling. At the end of the day I'm sticking with my projection of five wins, but an upset of USC or Stanford could lead to the ship setting sail and docking in Albuquerque for the New Mexico Bowl.

nds500 (Noah), Addicted to Quack: I hope so. Credit the Cougs for scheduling an opening game on the road against the SEC. It's tough to travel across the country and play anyone, even a rebuilding Auburn program (which by the way has tons of talent, despite recent results). WSU will be better than last year and while it probably won't finish in the top half of the Pac-12 north, it has a lot of winnable games on its schedule.

Jeff Nusser, CougCenter: The physical aggression and resilience the team showed are both excellent signs. There's still was a noticeable athletic difference between WSU and Auburn, which has obviously recruited better, but the Cougars were the better conditioned team and they really took the game to the Tigers. I still don't think this is a bowl team, but they're going to jump up and bite someone this year, something they never did under Paul Wulff.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Another tough one to decide because we don't know how good or bad the Tigers are yet, but I think their performance at least suggests that they are going to be competitive. I feel like the Cougars of a few years back would have crumbled on the road against a prestigious SEC program, but Leach has this program ready for prime time, now they just need to execute more efficiently.

Patrick Flower, Pacific Takes: Not quite. Auburn isn't a world beater and their quarterback couldn't hit the broadside of a Naval battleship. A few more completed passes and the Cougs lose by 21+. Let us not forget that WSU showed progress, particularly their offensive line and the running game, but mistakes (3 INTs) and big plays (return TD, 75-yard TD run) will haunt Wazzu's season without improved mental focus.