Boy, is there a lot to go over this morning. Last night we published Washington State's 2011 Pac-12 football schedule for you and this morning there is basketball news to go over. Let's get right to it. Read on.
• Washington State: We'll start with football and we'll start with next season. I don't believe the Cougars could have received a much better schedule from the Pac-12 – a couple tweaks might have made it easier – than what they got. The three non-conference games include just one test – San Diego State on the road – then there's a bye to fine-tune the system before opening the conference slate at Colorado. Sure, it is the Buffs first Pac-12 game (though there are some problems with Colorado's schedule), but this year the Buffalos are struggling and could be coming off a game at Ohio State, which has been on next year's non-conference schedule for a while. Two of the road games – Cal and the Apple Cup – won't be at on-campus sites while another – UCLA – is in a place WSU should be comfortable, having played there this season. If the Cougars are ready to turn a corner, this is the roadmap to do it. The schedule should be announced officially today or early next week. ... We also have a feature on Jeff Tuel's relationship with backup California quarterback Beau Sweeney, and a sidebar on Sweeney's relationship with Pullman. ... Before we leave football, CougCenter has a guide to the Bears game. ... And three WSU players, Micah Hannam, Chima Nwachukwu and Jared Karstetter, earned academic honors. ... Christian Caple from Moscow-Pullman has his Pac-10 picks. Typical UW alum. Picking the Huskies to lose big so if they give up, say, 125 points, he can write they exceeded expectations. I would never do that with UC Irvine's football team. ... On to basketball. The Cougars host Lewis-Clark State tonight at 6 in a free-to-the-public exhibition. The Warriors lost 59-39 last night in Missoula. ... We – as in the S-R – had our basketball preview section in today's paper, designed to resemble a Facebook page. Hope it gets more use than my page, which has the on-line equivalent of spider webs all over it.
• Around the Pac-10: The Times' Bud Withers explains the problem facing the Pac-10 and the Rose Bowl. ... He also has his picks for the week. ... San Jose's Jon Wilner also has his picks. ... ESPN.com's Ted Miller has his mailbag and stuff you probably did not know. He points out WSU's schedule is still consider the second-toughest in the nation. ... Washington: Steve Sarkisian is trying to set the record straight about rebuilding the Huskies' fortunes. ... The Ducks hope to play a kid from the North Pole this week. ... Oregon State: Both the Beavers and the Bruins have injury problems. So do most teams this late in the season. ... Oregon: Will LaMicheal James win the Heisman? ... George Schroeder has an interesting column on Kenjon Barner's return. ... More on kicker Rob Beard's perfection. It's the kiss of death I tell ya. ... Cal: Brock Mansion is ready for his first start. ... Stanford: The Cardinal have a tackling machine, or did against the Huskies. ... USC: A lot of ASU's stars have left Southern California. One high school in particular. ... UCLA: Can the Bruin defense tackle Jaquizz Rodgers? ... Arizona State: Another playmaker is emerging for the Sun Devils. ... Arizona: The Wildcats have never been to the Rose Bowl. They can take a big step in that direction Saturday. Unless the BCS intrudes. ... Another key player injured against WSU, defensive tackle Justin Washington, is back this week.
• That's it for now. We'll be back just before the Cougars' basketball game with more. Until then ...