The hitting is done. The game plan is in. All that’s left now for the Washington State Cougars is to fine-tune the mental aspect as they prepare for Saturday’s home opener against Montana State. For more, read on.
• Washington State: We made our Pac-10 picks yesterday, though I can’t find them on-line. So I have put them on the bottom of this section, just so we get on the record. Don’t want you to think I am hiding them or anything. … The more I research Montana State, the more I wonder if WSU couldn’t have picked a more compliant FCS school to play. The Bobcats have a senior-dominated offensive line, a lot of experience on defense and a quick, albeit young quarterback. Denarius McGhee, however, is a redshirt freshman who was good enough to beat out last year’s starter, Oregon transfer Cody Kempt. Saturday’s game probably won’t be the walk over disgruntled Cougar fans are demanding. … Now, on to the links. … We had some practice notes last night and our primer on tackling in this morning’s S-R. … And folks, try as I might, that’s all I could find today on the Cougars. … UPDATE: Oops, missed this column from Bud Withers on the Times site. Sorry.
• Here are our Pac-10 picks …
What a nice way to start the season. In fact, if I had restrained from picking teams from the state of Washington, it would have been a perfect weekend.
Darn those Huskies. And Cougars.
With conference play beginning this week and a bye, there are two less games to pick this week. Or two less games to miss, if you’re a pessimist like me.
As always, the listed line is for your entertainment purposes only. All games Saturday unless listed otherwise.
The Citadel at Arizona (no line): This Arizona team is going to be better than people thought. The Wildcats storm The Citadel … 42-14.
Northern Arizona at Arizona State (no line): Another chance for the Sun Devils to ease into the season. ASU, 35-17.
Colorado at California (Cal by 9): A future Pac-10 game, but now it’s just another non-conference yawner. Cal, 24-14.
Oregon at Tennessee (Oregon by 12.5): Chip Kelly isn’t all that excited about playing Neyland Stadium. One hundred thousand Vols fans will get him excited. Oregon, 42-24.
Stanford at UCLA (Stanford by 6): The Bruins have too many problems to hold off the Cardinal. And we will refrain from any luck puns. Stanford, 33-10.
Virginia at USC (USC by 20): The first home game of the Lane Kiffin era. It’s going to start badly. Virginia, 24-21.
Syracuse at Washington (Washington by 13.5): This is not going to be close. The Huskies will rinse the bad taste of BYU from their mouths with some crushed orange drink. Washington, 35-7.
Montana State at Washington State (no line): This is as crucial a game as the Cougars will play all year. They need to win and they need to play well while doing it. They will. WSU, 38-10.
Last week: 9-1 overall, 5-2 vs. spread; Season: 9-1 overall, 5-2 vs. spread.
• Around the Pac-10: ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has his predictions. I notice we only disagree on the USC game, and, yes, I know, my pick would be a huge upset. But no guts, no glory. … San Jose’s Jon Wilner has his conference power ratings in which he somewhat includes Utah and Colorado. … Washington: A bad day for the Huskies. Punter Will Mahan’s knee injury is so severe, he is out for the season. … A true freshman running back did all that was asked of him. Now more will be requested. … Oregon State: Coaches are paranoid. Sometimes they have reason to be. … A Beaver receives his star turn. … Oregon: The Ducks’ future schedule gives fans hope, according to Oregonian columnist John Canzano. … But the basketball team is starting to lose hope center Michael Dunigan is coming back, though he won’t tell coach Dana Altman his plans. … Cal: One Colorado assistant coach wasn’t able to recruit his son to Boulder. He’s Bear defensive back Darian Hagan. … Stanford: This will be the first big test for two-way starter Owen Marecic…. USC: The defense is expected to be better. It better be. … UCLA: Quarterback Kevin Prince is expected to play Saturday. … Arizona State: Sometimes not thinking is the best thing a player can do. … Arizona: Middle linebacker Derek Earls: From small town to big contributor in the Wildcats’ opening win.
• That’s all for this morning. Paul Wulff holds a short press conference this afternoon which we will summarize for you, then it’s off to practice. Until then …