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WSU faces a hot, bothered USC team


COUGARS

It’s hot here. Real hot. With a dry wind. No wonder the hills look like the bottom of the Weber after the steaks are done. And the Trojans are hot. Real hot. With a bad taste in their mouths. No wonder the Cougars are a 45-point underdog. Read on.

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• Washington State: Another dry day. We have our advance and our game day stuff (all of it’s here). And freelancer Howie Stalwick has a preview and some notes. Other than that, you’ll have to wait until you get to the USC section. There’s more there. Some other notes … Backup quarterback Kevin Lopina will not play today. His calf injury hasn’t healed enough for him to suit up. That means true freshman Jeff Tuel is the backup, with, I think, Dan Wagner, next on the depth chart. … Expect Logwone Mitz to play. He was at practice Thursday, though not suited up, and was talking to enough players to let me know his fever was gone. … Other than Kevin Kooyman, the defensive side of the ball is pretty healthy, minus the two safeties (LeAndre Daniels and Tyree Toomer) that are out for the year. Expect to see a rotation of defensive linemen to combat the heat and the size of the USC line. … Tonight’s game marks the beginning of a schedule-devouring road stretch. Next week, the Cougars travel to Autzen to face Oregon. After that, they have homecoming against Arizona State, get a bye, then play three consecutive road games: at Cal, Notre Dame in San Antonio and at Arizona. One game between now and mid-November in Martin. … Tonight’s captains will be Dwight Tardy and Xavier Hicks.

• Around the Pac-10: Surprisingly, kind of blah here as well. San Jose’s Jon Wilner has a few notes and that’s about it. … Washington: The word of the day around the Huskies: letdown. They Dawgs swear there won’t be one today at Stanford. So, just how will they respond? … Oregon State: The Beavers need to start the Pac-10 season right this year. … Oregon: Finally, the Ducks get a true chance to put the season-opening debacle at Boise State in the rear-view mirror. … Cal: The Bears’ Mike Mohamed, who is emerging as a dominant linebacker, hails from Brawley, one of California’s most out-of-the-way places – and I know from personal experience. … Stanford: Last year the Cardinal knocked Jake Locker out. This year, they’re just trying to knock him down. … USC: With a conference game on the slate tonight, we thought we would pass along just about every story on the Trojans we could find. They all have the same main theme, though. USC has issues. Here’s a bunch of notes, a look at USC’s defense, a reason to watch tonight’s game, the Trojans’ biggest question mark and some of the most interesting letters you’ll ever read. Talk about spoiled. …UCLA: The Bruins don’t play today. But we do have this feature on running back Christian Ramirez. … Arizona State: The Sun Devils have one of their best nonconference road tests ever at Georgia today. … Arizona: With conference play starting in Corvallis, the Wildcats pin their hopes on Nick Foles.

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• That’s it for this morning. We’ll be back before the game with our usual thoughts. Until then …


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