If Nick Rolovich and Mike Leach can wait a decade, they’ve got a heckuva matchup in store.
Washington State announced Wednesday it has scheduled a home-and-home football series against Mississippi State for the 2030 and 2031 seasons, the latter game marking the Cougars’ first nonleague home date with a Southeastern Conference opponent.
Leach took the Mississippi State coaching reins in January after an eight-year tenure at WSU, which then hired Rolovich as his replacement.
The games will be played Aug. 31, 2030, in Starkville, Miss., and on Aug. 30, 2031, in Pullman.
“To create a matchup between the Pac-12 and the SEC is always great for our league,” WSU athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement, “and the series exemplifies our commitment to schedule top nonconference opponents.”
WSU president Kirk Schulz spent nine years at Mississippi State in various roles from 2001-09, including vice president for research and economic development.
The Cougars are 1-10 against current SEC members, the lone win coming in 1988 at Tennessee. Their most recent loss to a team from that conference came at Auburn in 2013.
Washington State has not hosted a Power Five nonconference opponent since Sept. 5, 1998, when the Cougars beat Illinois 20-13. However, the school will host Wisconsin (2023), Kansas (2027) and Kansas State (2029) as well as the Bulldogs.
Elliss, Walker named preseason all-conference by website
Linebackers Christian Elliss and Tre Walker were selected as HERO Sports Preseason All-Big Sky honorees, it was announced.
Elliss earned first-team All-Big Sky recognition a season ago after leading the team with 4.5 sacks and finishing second with 104 total tackles. He recorded a season-high 14 tackles twice, and closed out the season with 10-plus tackles in six of the final seven games.
Walker, who was a first-team sophomore All-American by HERO Sports last season, also was a second-team All-Big Sky pick in 2019 after leading the Vandals and finishing second in the conference with 138 tackles. He led the Big Sky with 74 solo stops. Walker recorded double-digit tackles eight times, including a 16-tackle performance Nov. 16 against Sacramento State.
Big Sky will suspend activities on Election Day
The Big Sky Conference will provide its members schools with a day off from athletic activities on Election Day, it was announced.
Teams will be free from commitments Nov. 3, when the U.S. Presidential and other elections will be conducted.
The announcement comes after the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee recommended the initiative, which the league’s athletic directors unanimously approved.
The Idaho SAAC currently is working with its campus partners to build a comprehensive plan for election day, including voter education and registration, according to a news release from the school. Each school will determine the appropriate ways its SAAC can partner with its entire student body as desired for a campus-wide effort.
“Big Sky student-athletes across all of our schools and sports are engaged and thoughtful citizens who are sincerely interested in making a meaningful difference, especially in today’s world,” Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “Suspending athletic activities on Election Day is a concept our Presidents and athletic directors very likely would have suggested anyway, but the fact that our SAAC proposed this initiative makes it even more meaningful to everyone who it will impact.”
Big Sky SAAC includes two members from each of its 11 schools. Its executive leadership includes Idaho women’s soccer midfielder Kaysie Bruce.