Not only does Saturday's football game with Arizona start the second half of the season, the men's basketball season officially starts around the nation tonight – and in Bohler Gym. The Cougar men and women will hold a Midnight Mayhem exhibition at 8 p.m. (that's midnight in the Bahamas, right?) featuring contests, autographs and scrimmages. But that's tonight. This morning, we have your football links and notes, so read on.
• Washington State: We looked at the Cougars halfway through the season in this morning's S-R. The tone of the comments is upbeat, but, as you know, college football is a week-to-week enterprise. With Arizona coming to town this weekend, all that could change in one four-hour stretch Saturday afternoon. We'll have more tomorrow, but this is starting to feel a lot like the week of the Oklahoma State game. ... CougCenter hands out first-half grades to the offense and offers its weekly tailgaters' guide, this one on the Wildcats of UA. ... From Tucson, another story on James Montgomery's comeback.
• Around the Pac-10: The big news around the conference came from USC's new athletic director Pat Haden, who answered a question on the Pac-12 with some pretty detailed comments. ... Besides that, ESPN.com's Ted Miller answers other questions and asks us what we know. ... Bud Withers makes his picks and gives his conference power rankings. ... Washington: The Huskies are trying not to drop out of the bowl race, but a lot of dropped passes aren't helping. ... Jake Locker returning to practice certainly will. ... Oregon State: It's Mother's Day in Corvallis. Stephen Paea wants to go high in the NFL draft so he can help his mom (and dad), while James Rodgers' mom says James will be back at OSU next year. ... Oregon: Senior cornerback Chad Peppars shows the good side of college athletes. ... Cal and Stanford: Nothing today. ... USC: The porous defense earns a talking to, from one of its own. ... UCLA: The Bruins' offensive line couldn't protect the quarterback last week. ... Arizona State: Nothing today. .... Arizona: The Wildcats' kicking game isn't hitting on all cylinders.
• And that's it for this morning. We'll be back later today with football and basketball news. Until then ...