Mike Leach has certainly done an admirable job at Washington State as the Cougars clinched bowl eligibility after last week’s 49-37 win over Utah. However, the good news stops there for Leach & Co. as the Cougars arrive at Husky Stadium to face a hungry Washington squad looking to avenge last year’s 31-28 Apple Cup defeat. While the revenge angle is over-emphasized (and over-valued) by most sports bettors, it should be noted that Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian is a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS as a home favorite of three or more points with revenge. More importantly, the Huskies possess the talent on both sides of the ball to easily cover the point spread in today’s game.
Washington Offense vs. Washington State Defense:
Washington is averaging 39.5 points per game at 5.2 yards per rush play, 8.4 yards per pass attempt and 6.5 yards per play this season, which is an impressive 1.3 yards per play better than average offensively. The Huskies are also 0.5 yards per rush play and 1.2 yards per pass play better than average offensively, which is certainly good enough to exploit a mediocre Washington State defense that is allowing 5.9 yards per play to teams that combine to average 5.9 yards per play.
Overall, the Huskies possess a significant 0.4 yards per rush play, 1.4 yards per pass attempt and 1.3 yards per play advantage over Washington State’s stop unit. The larger concern for Washington State backers is the fact that the Cougars are yielding 32.3 points per game on the road this season, including 475 total yards at 6.4 yards per play. In short, Washington will move the ball at will this afternoon regardless of who is behind center (Keith Price is expected to start after missing last week’s game, but backup Cyler Miles is more than capable of guiding the offense).
Washington Defense vs. Washington State Offense:
What most sports bettors do not realize is the talent of Washington’s defense as the Huskies are allowing a mere 5.3 yards per play to teams that combine to average 6.2 yards per play against mediocre defensive squads. Meanwhile, Washington State arrives in town with a pedestrian attack that averages 5.7 yards per play against teams that combine to allow 5.7 yards per play. Moreover, the Cougars are 0.9 yards per rush play and 0.7 yards per pass play worse than average offensively in 2013. Once again, Washington possesses a significant advantage defensively against the Cougars’ overrated offense (0.9 yards per play advantage overall).
The best way to illustrate the complete mismatch in this game is to analyze the compensated yards per play differential between the two teams. Washington is 2.2 yards per play better than average from the line of scrimmage (1.3 yards per play offensively; 0.9 yards per play defensively), while the Cougars mediocre on both sides of the ball (0.0 yards per play offensively; 0.0 yards per play defensively). Lay the points as this game has blowout written all over it.