The Washington State Cougars didn’t take care of the ball and lost an important game to the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night (Oct. 28). WSU came into the game ranked No. 15 in the nation, but will likely see a big drop in the college football polls for next week. The good news for WSU fans is that the team is still 7-2 on the season, but the Cougars just took a big hit in their bowl projections.

WSU quarterback Luke Falk was struggling in the first quarter and coach Mike Leach ended up replacing him with Tyler Hilinski for the rest of the game.

Hilinski ended up completing 45-of-61 passes for 509 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers were extremely flattering for him, but he also threw four interceptions. Those turnovers cost the team a real chance at winning, but he wasn’t to blame for most of them.

WSU still controls its own destiny

In the updated Pac-12 standings, the Washington State Cougars are still in control of their own fate. The team can still make the Pac-12 Championship Game and a really nice bowl game. With three games left in the college football regular season, if WSU beats Utah, Stanford, and Washington, then the Cougars head to the Pac-12 title game. Winning that matchup gives the school a title and a spot in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

In the Pac-12 North, the first-place team is currently the Stanford Cardinal, followed by the Washington Huskies, and then the Cougars. Stanford and Washington each have one conference loss, while WSU has two losses in the category. If WSU finds a way to beat UW and Stanford in the upcoming head-to-head games, all three teams could be tied with the Cougars owning all the tiebreakers.

Question marks moving forward

WSU plays Stanford next week, with that game taking place in Pullman on Nov. 4. The game time hasn’t been revealed yet, with the Pac-12 expected to release that on Sunday (Oct. 29). The Cougars will then play Utah on Nov. 11 and Washington on Nov. 25, with both games coming on the road. The Apple Cup could end up deciding what bowl game the Cougars play in this year, with a lot on the line for both schools.

After Washington State beat Colorado to improve to 7-1 last week, there was renewed hope from fans that the team was back on track. It showed that WSU beating USC may not have been a fluke earlier in the college football season. Now there are a lot of questions about the team, including whether Mike Leach is going to go with Luke Falk or Tyler Hilinski at quarterback next week.