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The heart of WSU's schedule beckons


COUGARS

Saturday night was the first time this season when it really felt like football weather. There was a tinge of winter in the air. Not fall, winter. But that's what football season is. The transition from the summer of baseball to the winter of basketball. And, with the press box windows open in Autzen, the low-40 degree weather of the second half had a bite to it. Read on for more on the weekend's games.
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• Washington State: As we talk about in our look back at the Oregon game, the injury news, according to Paul Wulff, is "not as pretty as we would like." But there are some players who are better than they were last week and some who will be back despite getting whacked Saturday. Among the latter is wide receiver Jared Kartstetter and quarterback Jeff Tuel. Both went down with what were listed as hip pointers, but both should be back at practice tomorrow. They didn't go Sunday, but that was just a limited workout anyway. The same outlook is predicted for Xavier Hicks, whose back tightened up on him against the Ducks. ... In the former category, put Brian Danaher and Zack Williams, both who should be able to bring some stability up front. And the Cougars need that against Arizona State. The Sun Devils' front seven, not withstanding Saturday's loss to Oregon State, is one of the better groups in the conference. ... The dominating loss to the Ducks did nothing to help Washington State in the NCAA statistics. The Cougars are ranked in the bottom 20 teams in 10 statistical categories, including being last in pass defense and second-to-last in total defense. The are in the top half in just one category – net punting, 35th – though they're close in tackles for loss – despite giving up more than 500 yards to Oregon, WSU had eight tackles for loss and now ranks 64th in the nation. ... Now to the links. ... We had our follow story in the paper this morning, with Wulff saying the players felt, for the first time this year, they didn't respond when Oregon attacked Saturday. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick has this piece looking at the stats.

• Around the Pac-10: Ted Miller of ESPN.com serves up his Pac-10 power rankings and what we learned from the weekend that was. ... Buster Sports' Nick Daschel has his conference report card with an interesting picture on top the column. ... The Oregonian's Ken Goe has a Pac-10 notebook that leads with some information on ASU. ... Washington: Getting hosed in South Bend is a time-honored tradition for Notre Dame's opponents. Welcome to the club, UW. ... That the Huskies came so close is a victory in itself after last year. ... Oregon State: No one wants to play Stanford anymore, not even the Beavers, coming off a win. ... Oregon: The road beckons for the Ducks after four consecutive home games. ... Cal: The offensive genius that is Jeff Tedford is having a tough time right now. ... Stanford: The Cardinal are good. That's one thing that's for certain. ... USC: Were the Trojans playing in Strawberry Canyon on Saturday the same ones who played against WSU? Whoever was playing, they get this week off. ...UCLA: Despite the loss, coach Rick Neuheisel sees good things in the long run. ... Arizona State: A couple things from the desert, starting with a look back at the OSU loss. ... Despite Danny Sullivan throwing for more than 300 yards, one columnist wants Dennis Erickson to dump him. ... Arizona: After their first bye of the year – they have another at the end of the month – the Wildcats face a key stretch.

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• That's it for this morning. Up this week is Arizona State. We'll take our first look at the Sun Devils this evening. Until then …




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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