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The Cougars are to be Reckoned With

Washington State puts themselves into the Pac-12 race with the win over USC

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the party Washington State. Where have you been all this time? With the huge 30-27 win on Friday night the Cougars have entered the conversation about who wins the Pac-12 Conference.

All of sudden the Apple Cup in November becomes much more interesting. If the Cougars keep up the winning, the match-up against the Huskies at the end of the season is massive.

What does Wazzu have that’ll put them over the top at the end of the season?

NCAA Football: Nevada at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The have a quarterback. A very good quarterback. The least known quarterback in the country arguably. When people talk about the top quarterbacks in the country Luke Falk is not the first out of their mouth. The likes of Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold are the first to be mentioned. Many fans sleep on Falk because he plays at Washington State, but his completion rate is at 75%, he’s thrown 164-220 for a cool 1,718 yards.

Luke Falk is efficient and in command of the offense. Mike Leach talks in glowing terms of his prized quarterback and his ability to control the offense, audible at the line of scrimmage, and check into the correct play on a regular basis.

Falk’s touchdown to interception ratio is also off the charts at 16:2. His passer rating at this point in the season is a blistering 162.3. Luke Falk is doing everything he needs too to get the Cougars to a Pac-12 Championship.

On Friday night, a national television audience got to see what the rest of us out West have known for a while. Luke Falk is pretty darn good.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The defense is looking even better after holding USC’s Sam Darnold to a total of 164 passing yards. Coming into the game with the Trojans, the Cougars were only allowing 18.5 points a game. If you took a look at who they played in that span you would not exactly be awe struck. However, they held the Trojans to 2-11 on third down and picked off the USC quarterback once. After this game, people were awe struck.

The defense is quick and aggressive and nobody on that team plays that part as well as pass rusher Hercules Mata’afa. Hercules will be a top pro prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The front seven for the team is phenomenal. The defensive backfield showed me something against the Trojans. When you face a possible Heisman Trophy candidate and sack him, hurry him up, and make life miserable for him you will impress people.

Mission accomplished for the defense.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The other part of the equation is Mike Leach and his Air Raid offense. We have always known that Leach is a bit unconventional in the way he approaches football and life. He’s going to do things that most people wouldn’t.

This outside-the-box type of thinking makes the Washington State offense unpredictable for most teams that they play. It keeps everybody off balance, including the Washington State fans.

There is enough in the Washington State playbook to concern every defensive coordinator in the Pac-12 Conference.

“All we care about is winning the next game. The big picture isn’t really our thing.” said Leach (ESPN.com)

With the kind of focus that Leach can bring to the table for his football team and the nuances he can bring on any given play, the sky is the limit for this Cougar football team.

Can the Apple Cup be played next week?

Just asking.