Washington State: Facts and Factors

Paul Wulff

The Washington State Cougars have been taking it on the chin for a number of years, but now come to the Rose Bowl Saturday with a 3-1 record...

-- The Washington State Cougars come to town to take on UCLA at the Rose Bowl Saturday night at 7:30. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net (Prime Ticket in Southern California), with Joel Meyers and Brian Baldinger in the booth.

-- Washington State is 3-1 overall, and 1-0 in the Pac-12 North. They beat FCS Idaho State (64-21) and UNLV (59-7), lost to San Diego State on the road (42-24), and last week beat Colorado in Boulder (31-27).

-- UCLA and Washington State have played each other 57 times since 1928, with UCLA leading the series, 38-18-1. Washington State is 9-22 on the road against the Bruins, including a 42-28 loss at the Rose Bowl last season. Since 2001, Washington State has won three of five at the Rose Bowl and six of 10 overall.

-- It's the first time since 2006 Washington State has had a winning record after its first four games of the season.

-- The win last week against Colorado is only WSU's second conference road win since 2007. It beat Oregon State last season on the road, and then Washington in 2007.

-- UCLA has started a season with a losing record after its first five games 5 times in the last 20 seasons, with two of those seasons coming under Rick Neuheisel. Terry Donahue had one of those seasons, and Bob Toledo two.

-- With its victory over Colorado last week, Washington State now has 500 wins in its program's history.

-- Paul Wulff is in his fourth season as the head coach at Washington State. Wulff, a graduate of WSU and former center, took over his alma mater coming from Eastern Washington, earning a rep as a wide-open offensive coach. Wulff, of course, has had a tough go of it so far at WSU, with a record of 5-32 in his first three seasons. The victory over Colorado last week is Wulff's third conference win at WSU.

-- In their last 7 games, dating back to last season, Washington State is 4-3 and UCLA is 2-5.

-- WSU has bowl aspirations, and would need to get to 6 wins to be bowl eligible. Looking at its schedule, the UCLA game is a big one in those terms, since WSU still has to face Stanford, Oregon, Cal and Arizona State.

-- It's also a huge game for Neuheisel and his program. If the magical number of victories for Neuheisel to save his job is 6 (probably derived from a statement earlier in the season by UCLA AD Dan Guerrero, one in which he said the minimum goal for the season was to be bowl eligible), beating the Cougars at home in the Rose Bowl is a must-win.

-- UCLA's losses have come against three undefeated teams, Houston, Texas and Stanford.

-- Washington State's three victories have come against three teams with losing records: Idaho State (2-3, and an FCS team), UNLV (1-3) and Colorado (1-4).

-- The combined record of UCLA's opponents is 15-7, and Washington State's is 7-11.

-- The game Saturday is a very good measuring stick to see how far each program has come in a year, since it's the only game on either UCLA's or WSU's schedule against the same opponent in the same venue as last season.

-- Washinton State's defensive line coach is UCLA's former coach, Toddy Howard, who spent the last five years in Westwood until he was let go after last season.

-- The weather forecast for Saturday at the Rose Bowl is 79 degrees as a high, and in the high 50s to 60s during the game, with almost no chance of rain.

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