COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:30 A.M.; 11:20 A.M.
It's an interesting morning in Pullman but also around the Pac-10. Besides the Cougars turning to a true freshman at quarterback, there was also a freak injury of a USC runningback and some of the more typical occurrences. Read on.
• Washington State: As we first told you yesterday here, Jeff Tuel will start at quarterback Saturday. If you want to know why, it's really simple. As one of the coaches said yesterday, he's the guy who gives the Cougars the best chance to win. That's the bottom line. I do believe the decision was made sometime Sunday after the coaches watched the USC film but coach Paul Wulff wasn't about to say anything until the players were told. He didn't announce anything yesterday either, other than to say Tuel was starting while we talked for a while. He didn't say anything else for the record, however. Anyhow, here's our short story - and our first look at Oregon. By the way, we won't hear Tuel's thoughts this week about starting. Wulff has put him off limits this week. We've tried and will continue to try to get that decision changed, but as of now, Tuel will be silent until after the game. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick had this piece about Tuel and there's this from the Oregonian. ... CougCenter makes the case for starting Tuel. ... Finally, the Orange County Register has this column on Xavier Hicks, Jr., though some of the facts are a little off. UPDATE NO. 2: Wulff said Josh Luapo is out for the season with a torn ACL. He'll have surgery soon.
• Around the Pac-10: Ted Miller at ESPN.com wants to know if the Pac-10 is in transition. He also shares the players of the week. ... The Oregonian's Ken Goe ranks the conference teams. Guess who is 10th. ... Washington: The Huskies will be working on their tackling this week. ... Oregon State: There's no doubt ASU coach Dennis Erickson respects the Beavers. ... Oregon: It looks like the Ducks will be without standout cornerback Walter Thurmond III on Saturday. He has a ligament strain in his right knee. UPDATE: Thurmond is out for the season with his knee injury. ... They should get back safety T.J. Ward, though. He missed the Cal game. ... Coach Chip Kelly sees validation in these acts. ... Cal: The "showdown" with USC has lost its luster. ... Stanford: But the battle with UCLA has gained a new importance. ... USC: Washington State has been hit with its share of strange injuries the past two years. Now the Trojans are going through the same sort of spell, with running back Stafon Johnson injured in a weight-room mishap. ...UCLA: The Bruins will discover where they truly stand Saturday at Stanford. ... Arizona State: Quarterback Danny Sullivan struggled against Georgia. But he's still the guy and should be, according to this column. ... Arizona: The Wildcats' defense gets rewarded after last week's win in Corvallis.
• That's it for this morning. It's our busy day, with interviews all afternoon interrupted for just a while by practice. We'll be back this evening. Until then …