The Cougars face a potentially difficult slate with a rebuilt roster. Pac-12 media picked them fifth in the North. Be your own judge as we break down each game on the Cougs' schedule.

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Game 1

Sept. 1 at Wyoming

12:30 p.m., CBS Sports

Mike Leach gets to coach in the state he grew up in without having to answer endless questions about his team’s failures in season openers — not after the Cougars beat Montana State 31-0 in last year’s opener, the first time they started 1-0 since 2011. But Wyoming is a much bigger test, particularly with the game being in Laramie. This is a huge game for WSU.

Game 2

Sept. 8 vs. San Jose State

8 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

This is a game the Cougars have to win. San Jose State, which plays in the Mountain West Conference, was 2-11 last season. Since beating Stanford in 2006, the Spartans are 0-13 against Pac-12 schools.

Game 3

Sept. 15 vs. Eastern Wash.

5 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

Eastern Washington defeated WSU 45-42 in the Cougars’ season opener in 2016, a game in which Eastern quarterback Gabe Gubrud completed 34 of 40 passes for 474 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 77 yards and set a school record with 551 yards of total offense. Gubrud is now a senior, and WSU had better be ready.

Game 4

Sept. 22 at USC

7:30 p.m., ESPN

Washington State had perhaps its biggest victory in coach Mike Leach’s tenure when it beat the fifth-ranked Trojans 30-27 at home last season in front of a national TV audience to improve to 5-0. The Trojans won’t have quarterback Sam Darnold, who left early for the NFL, but they always have plenty of talent and were picked by the media to win the Pac-12 South.

Game 5

Sept. 29 vs. Utah

Time and TV TBA

The Cougars have beaten the Utes in their past three meetings, including a huge 33-25 road win last season that gave them a 9-2 record. Utah was picked second in the Pac-12 South by the media, so WSU will have to play well to win its homecoming game.

Game 6

Oct. 6 at Oregon State

Time and TV TBA

Luke Falk, WSU’s Pac-12 record-setting QB, had some of his best games against Oregon State, leading the Cougars to victories over the Beavers the past four seasons. Will that success continue for Washington State with a different quarterback? Even with the game in Corvallis, this is a game WSU should win.

Game 7

Oct. 20 vs. Oregon

Time and TV TBA

The Cougars have defeated the Ducks the past three seasons, including last season’s 33-10 victory in which the Ducks had just 277 yards of offense. But Oregon star quarterback Justin Herbert didn’t play in that game because of an injury. At least the Cougars will get an extra week to prepare for the Heisman Trophy candidate.

Game 8

Oct. 27 at Stanford

Time and TV TBA

The Cougars have beaten the Cardinal the past two seasons. The key last year was holding Stanford to 198 yards of total offense, and star running back Bryce Love was limited to just 69 yards on 16 carries, the only time all season he rushed for less than 100 yards. Stopping Love, who returned for his senior season, will once again be the top priority.

Game 9

Nov. 3 vs. California

Time and TV TBA

The Cougars get a chance to avenge what might have been the most disappointing loss in coach Mike Leach’s six years at WSU. The Cougars lost 37-3 last season to a very average Cal team despite entering the game 6-0 and ranked eighth in the country. Expect a better game from WSU this season.

Game 10

Nov. 10 at Colorado

Time and TV TBA

This figures to be a competitive game with WSU picked fifth in the Pac-12 North and Colorado picked fifth in the Pac-12 South. The Cougars shut out Colorado last season, 28-0, their first Pac-12 shutout in 23 years. It won’t be easy, but this is the type of game WSU must win.

Game 11

Nov. 17 vs. Arizona

Time and TV TBA

Can the Cougars stop Arizona star quarterback Khalil Tate? They certainly could not last season as he threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 146 yards and a score in the Wildcats’ 58-37 victory. On the plus side for WSU, this time the game is in Pullman.

Game 12

Nov. 23 vs. Washington

5:30 p.m., FOX

The Cougars have lost the past five Apple Cups, and the past four have been routs. The Cougars have had little success offensively against the Huskies, averaging just 14.2 points a game in the past five matchups. They will need to do better to have a chance this season, but the game is in Pullman, and that is a positive for WSU.