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 …