Washington State plays the seventh-toughest schedule among Power Five teams this season, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).

The opening salvo is particularly challenging. The Cougars will play seven straight weeks before a mid-season bye. During that time, they’ll face a ranked Wisconsin team, a ranked USC team, and a rising Oregon State team all on the road. To close out the month of September, Wazzu also welcomes Oregon to town.

FPI is down on the Cougars in the coming season. The predictive model sees only five wins and a 34% chance of reaching a second straight bowl game. After a 7-6 campaign a year ago, coach Jake Dickert’s first full season in charge will test the group.

Here’s how FPI views Washington State’s chances of winning each game on its 2022 schedule:

  • Sept. 3 vs. Idaho — 95.4% chance to win
  • Sept. 10 at No. 18 Wisconsin — 11.2% chance to win
  • Sept. 17 vs. Colorado State — 79.7% chance to win
  • Sept. 24 vs. No. 11 Oregon — 23.3% chance to win
  • Oct. 1 vs. Cal — 55.5% chance to win
  • Oct. 8 at No. 14 USC — 16.8% chance to win
  • Oct. 15 at Oregon State — 30.7% chance to win
  • Oct. 27 vs. No. 7 Utah — 18.9% chance to win
  • Nov. 5 at Stanford — 32.8% chance to win
  • Nov. 12 vs. Arizona State — 42.7% chance to win
  • Nov. 19 at Arizona — 49.1% chance to win
  • Nov. 26 vs. Washington — 38.1% chance to win

Using FPI as the baseline, Washington State would be favored in three of its first five games and then none the rest of the way. (Call Arizona a toss-up, though.)

The Cougars have a ton to replace, and that’s influencing things quite a bit. Yes, quarterback Cameron Ward brings a great deal of excitement to the Palouse, but Washington State needs to replace both starting tackles from last year’s team, as well as its top two rushers, top two receivers, and three of its top four tacklers.

With a few key transfers plugging holes on the defensive side, Dickert and the Cougars are hoping Ward’s individual brilliance can help balance things out offensively.

The Cougars get rolling against Idaho next Saturday at 6:30 p.m. PT.