College football season kicks off with Mike Leach looking to revive Washington State

Posted: 08/30/2012 in college football
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The college football season kicks off Thursday night and the game that intrigues me most involves a program that has been hapless and hopeless in recent years.

Washington State hasn’t been in a bowl game since beating Texas in the 2003 Holiday Bowl – a game I covered when I toiled in San Diego – and the Cougars have been horrendous and largely out-of-site in recent years.

Being off the college football radar will no longer be the case with Mike Leach onboard as Washington State’s new coach. The guy that turned Texas Tech from laughingstock to Top 10 program makes his debut against Brigham Young on the ESPN television stage late Thursday night. (see stellar game preview here — http://sltrib.sportsdirectinc.com/football/ncaaf-preview.aspx?page=/data/NCAAF/matchups/g8_preview_61.html)

BYU happens to be Leach’s alma mater and the football program in Provo is in fine hands under Bronco Mendenhall. So Leach is in for a pretty tough task if he wants to win his initial outing with Washington State.

But the program located in the densely populated Palouse near the Washington/Idaho border will improve quickly with Leach at the helm. Washington State went 9-40 over the last four seasons under the fired Paul Wulff and it shouldn’t be long before the Cougars are once again challenging for nine-win campaigns.

Washington State has had a nice run of quarterbacks in its history – Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf, Timm Rosenbach, Mark Rypien and Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson are some of the standouts – and the Cougars will be able to attract a lot of stellar passes and skill players with Leach on campus.

Jeff Tuel quarterbacks Washington State against BYU and he has a big-time receiver to throw to in Marquess Wilson (82 receptions in 2011) but it is doubtful Leach’s Cougars have enough overall talent to beat BYU’s Cougars, who are led by exciting quarterback Riley Nelson.

But Washington State should quickly transform into being a fun-to-watch squad under Leach’s tutelage.

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