It's unrealistic to expect WSU's inexperienced defense to improve dramatically in one week -- and perhaps beyond. Therefore, the Cougars need to score points by the bushel. Fortunately for WSU, San Diego State's all-new starting secondary will have that deer-in-the-headlights look against Alex Brink and Co.
2. View From San Diego:
The Aztecs are better than a year ago, when they were ravaged by injuries in Chuck Long's first year as coach. Still, the Aztecs have suffered through eight consecutive losing seasons; they were picked to finish eighth in the nine-team Mountain West Conference in the preseason media poll; and they're 0-16 against the Pac-10 since 1996.
3. Scouting Report:
San Diego State averaged just 14 points, 119 rushing yards and 150 passing yards last year, and it's not like blue-chip recruits are suddenly flooding the Aztecs' locker room. WSU's muscular defensive linemen should dominate the line of scrimmage, freeing linebackers to blitz to hide the Cougars' weak pass rush and secondary.
4. Betcha Didn't Know:
FOXSports.com -- apparently oblivious to Syracuse, Oregon and Oregon State -- ranks San Diego State's uniforms the worst in college football. "The predominant use of black is bad enough," reads the report, "but what really seals it as the worst uniform in all the land is the helmet that calls to mind an airbrushed van. An airbrushed van owned by a guy named ‘Chico' or ‘Slater'. It all comes together to make the SDSU players look decidedly like Oompa Loompas."
5. The Rankings:
SI.com ranks San Diego State (0-0) 97th in the nation. The Cougars (0-1) dropped two spots to 56th after losing 42-21 at seventh-ranked Wisconsin last Saturday.
6. Cougar Trivia Department:
The Cougars and Aztecs have never met in football, but this is not the first time head coaches Bill Doba of WSU and Chuck Long of San Diego State have knocked heads. Doba was defensive coordinator at WSU and Long was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma when the Sooners pounded the Cougars 34-14 in the 2003 Rose Bowl.
7. Aztec Trivia Department:
Long was an All-American quarterback at Iowa. He played eight seasons in the NFL with Detroit and the Los Angeles Rams after being drafted 12th overall by the Lions. Long finished a close second to Auburn's Bo Jackson in voting for the 1985 Heisman Trophy.
8. Alumni Hall:
Who would win an alumni football game between the Cougars and Aztecs? WSU could suit up Drew Bledsoe at quarterback, but San Diego State counters with Marshall Faulk at running back. The Cougs have a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in center Mel Hein; San Diego State's Fred Dryer was an all-pro defensive end before starring in the hit television show "Hunter."
9. Star Gazing:
Overall, the Aztecs have the Cougs beaten pretty soundly on the Famous Alumni List. San Diego State has produced actors Gregory Peck ("To Kill a Mockingbird"), Marion Ross (Richie Cunningham's mother on "Happy Days") and Carl Weathers (boxer Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" movies). Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn played at San Diego State and now coaches the Aztecs. Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs played football for the Aztecs, as did Weathers.
10. Cougar Quote of the Week:
Michael Bumpus, senior wide receiver, asked if WSU's passing offense has improved despite the loss of record-breaking wideout Jason Hill to the NFL: "I'd say it has, because we have more guys (talented wide receivers). Brandon Gibson stepped up there on Saturday. Charles Dillon showed glimpses of greatness. He can go for 100 (receiving yards) any day. I can go for 100 any day. Jeshua Anderson can come in, and we just got Daniel (Blackledge) back. We lost probably the greatest receiver (Hill) to come through here, but we're deeper at receiver."
11. Aztec Quote of the Week:
Long on senior quarterback Kevin O'Connell: "He's a tough guy and he's a fighter … we believe he's going to have a big year."
12. And Your Final Score Is:
Washington State 47, San Diego State 27. Next for WSU: Idaho in Pullman next Saturday (FSN, 7 p.m.).