Washington State at Colorado State
6:00 PM CT on CBS Sports
It’s very possible that by next year this becomes a conference matchup. The inevitable death of the PAC-12 has Washington State’s future conference affiliation up in the air, and joining Colorado State in the Mountain West would make some sense.
But for now, the meeting could be one of the more interesting non-conference games of Week 1. It’s a pair of Air Raid teams battling in the western US, so of course, I find it compelling.
Wazzu looks to build off a solid 2022 season, which saw them finish 7-6. QB Cam Ward enters his second season in Pullman, and there’s hope for a more explosive offense under new OC Ben Arbuckle who called one of the nation’s most productive offenses at Western Kentucky.
Colorado State’s 2022 campaign was anything but solid. HC Jay Norvell inherited a mess from Steve Addazio, and the team struggled mightily with its transition from pro-style to Air Raid, finishing 3-9 with one of the nation’s worst offenses.
But there’s reason to believe in major improvement. CSU made some strides offensively over the back half of the year and now return a good bit of experience. And Air Raid teams have a tendency to see big improvements from year one to year two. The Rams are also experienced on defense where they were surprising solid in 2022.
CSU figures to be one of the country’s most improved teams, and they get Wazzu at home in what could be a bit of a let-down spot even though it’s the season opener. The Cougars easily defeated the Rams last season in Pullman and have a big Week 2 matchup with Wisconsin ahead. Could they be looking past a revamped CSU squad?
This one’s worth keeping an eye on.