How might the weather affect Cougs-Bruins? Here's the latest NOAA forecast and analysis

THE COUGS ARE a 7-point favorite over UCLA Saturday (7:30 pm, ESPN) but with a wind storm barreling down on the west side of the state, the Palouse could see some adverse conditions too. And if you're in Pullman on Friday, you might really wonder how windy it might get in Martin on Saturday night. How wet and windy are we talking about here? Here's the latest forecast from NOAA.

Friday actually looks to be the worst of the two days as far as wind goes, with gusts forecast to approach 50 mph in Pullman early Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, here's the NOAA forecast for Saturday night's game:

Temperature at kickoff: 50 degrees
Wind: 16 mph, with gusts to 23 mph
Chance of rain: 100 percent
Frequency of rain between 5-11 pm: Occasional
Amount of rain between 5-11pm: 0.26 inches
Temp at end of game: 48 degrees

The concern with a Mike Leach Air Raid offense isn't generally rain or cold (neither looks all that extreme anyway) but rather the wind - especially if its gusty.  And while that thinking still holds merit, it's also pre-2016 thinking.  And that's because ...

The Cougs have shown off a monster run game this season. Indeed, Wazzu has averaged 209 total ground hashes over the last three games (Idaho, Oregon, Stanford).   The three-headed swine-hauling brigade of James Williams (7.0 ypc this season); Jamal Morrow (6.2) and Gerard Wicks (4.9) one might even say has, ahem, run like the wind. 

So conventional wisdom points to the run game. But did I mention Mike Leach is WSU's coach? And that he's pretty much the most unpredictable guy on the planet?

Speaking of windy conditions, how might that affect Cougar QB Luke Falk?  What about if it's really wet? 

That is the very topic of discussion among some of our members on this CF.C message board thread. Falk, one CF.C message boarder opines, has had more good outings than bad when the weather gets nasty -- but another way to look at is Falk was off his game in one poor weather tilt, superb in another. So who the heck knows what we'll see Saturday if the skies open and the wind begins to howl, the post concludes.

As far as Leach is concerned, it's similar to his view of injuries -- Leach doesn't believe in weather (at least as far as any excuses go).  Unless it's something really extreme, well then rain and wind be damned. WSU's offense, Leach has said consistently since arriving in Pullman, is going to do what they do.  

But something WSU has done in '16, and very well, is run the pigskin. 

With UCLA's secondary the strength of what is a stout overall stop corps, will Wazzu try to run it down the Bruins' throat like they did against Oregon?  Or will they throw it more like they did against Stanford, and then turn up the run game in the second half if they can build a decent-sized lead on UCLA?

Nobody outside the locker room knows.  But I'd buy a ticket to find out.

* Wicks has not lost a single yard this season on 40 carries. His net is the same as his gain in the official stat book: 197 hashes.  He also has the most rushing touchdowns of the three Cougar 'backs, with five and leads the Cougs in total TDs with seven (Gabe Marks is right behind him with six). 

* Morrow is averaging the most yards per game through five contests (53.0). He has three rushing touchdowns and is also the fourth-leading receiver on the team (23 rec., 205 yards, 2 TDs).

* Williams is right on Morrow's heels at 52 rushing yards per game this season -- and remember he didn't play much the first two contests. He has four rushing TDs and a long of 38 yards.

* The three running backs are remarkably close to one another in number of carries through five games:  Morrow has 43, Wicks has 40 and Williams has 37 touches.

* The trio is averaging a combined 231 all-purpose yards per game through five contests (Morrow: 98.6; Williams 72.0; Wicks 60.2).

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