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Boise State vs. Washington State: 5 Questions

We asked Jeff Nusser from CougCenter five questions about his team and the upcoming game. He graciously answered, but also politely declined a blog bet, stating that even if they did win, he wouldn't have time to rub our faces in it... or something to that effect.

Looking good in Blue!
Looking good in Blue!
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

UPDATE: Here are my answers to Jeff's 5 questions.

1. There has been a lot of preseason hype for a Washington State team that has been getting stronger under Mike Leach’s coaching. Did the loss to (a very good) EWU shake your confidence, or was it early enough to attribute it to first-game jitters (and can you redeem your season)?

First off, EWU is not "very good," -- not in the FBS/Power 5/fringe top 25 sense -- so yeah, my confidence is definitely shaken. The season is certainly redeemable, given that the Cougs won nine games last season after losing to Portland State (that’s honestly the only reason our fans aren’t absolutely losing their minds right now), but one has to wonder if it’s wise to expect another outlier rebound from the team. We hope it’s mostly first game jitters -- and I really do believe the team will show great improvement in week two -- but there’s an uneasy feeling that maybe this team just isn’t as good as we thought.

2. Sorry, that was more like 3 questions. How about this? Which player(s) on your team should Boise State be scared of?

Biletinikoff Award contender Gabe Marks. You’ll typically see him outside on the right playing the Z position in the Air Raid. When he’s on his game -- which is almost always -- he’s practically uncoverable. He’s not a burner (although he’s plenty fast enough), but that’s about the only thing he’s missing. He will absolutely kill DBs off the line with spectacular releases and precise routes, and he makes ridiculous catches look routine. He’s also likely the toughest player on the field; it appeared that he darn near had his leg severed by Washington in the Apple Cup, but he came back four weeks later to lead the team in receiving in the Sun Bowl. Last week, he was playing with a visible limp, perhaps the remnants of a reported injury from early in fall camp. All he did was haul in 10 balls for 108 yards and 2 TDs.

3. I hear there’s a little history behind Brett Rypien and WSU. Feelings on that?

I’m not going to lie and say WDWHA -- we were disappointed when Rypien announced he wasn't choosing WSU. I think a lot of casual fans assumed it was a done deal - Spokane kid, legacy connection to the Cougs, passer's dream of an offense under Leach. However, those who followed recruiting closely knew it wasn't a slam dunk, and as fans are wont to do, I think there was sort of a "well, if he wants to spend the next years of his life in BOISE, that’s HIS loss!!!" vibe to the reaction, even though are fans are always incredibly irritated if we lose out on a highly touted Spokane kid. Plus, it helps that we've got Luke Falk for this year and (probably) next, and his backup, Tyler Hilinski -- a former four-star Rivals recruit whom the Cougs landed after losing out on Rypien -- appears to be developing nicely. Fans probably still wish Rypien had come to WSU, and will lament it even more if he torches us on Saturday, but it's not like people are fixated on it.

4. Using Microsoft Paint, illustrate a scenario you see playing out in this weekend’s game.

I clearly don’t have the MS Paint skills you all do (seriously, that’s amazing),  so here’s the best I can do with one scenario I could see happening:

5. On a scale of 80s sitcoms, with Perfect Strangers being "supremely," and Full House being "not-at-all," rate your confidence in winning this game.

What’s one step down from Full House? Family Matters? (Hey, I didn’t say the above MS Paint scenario was *likely*.)

Let’s go with Family Matters, since our defense is likely to spend a significant amount of time stumbling around like Steve Urkel, unable to get out of its own way long enough to succeed for very long. WSU was resilient after its loss to Portland State last season, and since this is largely the same group of guys, I just have to hope that they’ll respond in a similar fashion to a similarly disappointing season-opening loss. Actually, let me amend that -- I hope they respond a lot better than they did against Rutgers last year, because if they play that sloppy for large portions of the game, BSU will run them off the field. That said, I believe they recognize the opportunity they have here to win a game over a good team, and Mike Leach’s teams at WSU have tended to play better on the road than at home. (Really.) I think the game probably is reasonably close, but the Broncos win by something like 4 to 7 points.

Thank you, Jeff! Good luck (with your laundry) on Saturday!