Arizona Stadium is empty. The wind is blowing lightly out of the south, making the flags in that end zone wave slowly. There's a few hours before the game and we've got notes and thoughts. Read on.
• We'll start with some notes. And, surprisingly with this Cougar team, it starts with an injury (that is satire, in case you missed it). Kicker Nico Grasu isn't here and I asked why. It turns out, on the final kick of Thursday's practice, he strained his quad muscle. With that, he's out this week. Patrick Rooney will be doing the kicking. So how snake bit does a program have to be for it to lose its kicker on a Thursday night? ... Otherwise, no more injuries than the ones we've reported earlier. ... Anybody have an idea how WSU could win this game? Mike Stoops told his team this week about the Iowa State and Nebraska game from earlier this year. You know the one in which Nebraska fumbled about a million times (the Cornhuskers actually lost five, including three inside the ISU 5-yard-line) and Iowa State won 9-7. So Stoops seems to be saying his team has to fumble five times to lose to WSU. I guess all things are possible. ... I was talking about the five fumbles. Actually, I don't think it would take five. A couple of turnovers that turn into WSU points would really give the Cougars a shot in the arm. Such momentum might make a huge difference for them. Enough to pull an upset? Well, it would be a huge upset. ... The talk around the Arizona campus is about keeping everyone healthy for the stretch run. The Wildcats need to win out to make their first appearance in the Rose Bowl and Cal, Oregon, ASU and USC are down the road. So there is a good chance, if UA ploughs ahead like all WSU opponents have done thus far, the Wildcats will sub freely. We'll see.
• We'll leave you with one last question. How many minutes have the Cougars led this season? If you answered none, you are right. Their only lead was the final margin against SMU. Other than that, all 480 minutes of game time, WSU has either been tied or behind. The last Cougar lead with the clock running? Against UA almost a year ago, Nov. 8, 2008, on Dwight Tardy's 18-yard touchdown run gave WSU a 7-0 lead. In the Apple Cup, they led in overtime.
• That's it for now. We'll be back at halftime with a post so you can interact. If you want to use this post to start an in-game thread, go right ahead. Until then …