Believe it or not, this is the most important day of the year. Maybe not for you, maybe not for Washington State athletics, but for someone connected to this blog. If you're interested in whom and you want to get your daily fill of WSU links and notes, read on.
• Washington State: The important day? You'll have to wait to the bottom of this post to find out the answer to that. Now let's get to the Cougars. ... Today is the day for full pads and, as I peruse the stories from the Pac-12, it seems like so far WSU has avoided the injuries that have hit just about every other conference team – in some cases really hard. But the next couple days are crucial. Though the hitting has been ratcheted up incrementally, today with the pads on and tomorrow, the first two-a-day, can be shocks to a player's system. There is nothing worse than having to write about an injury. These are kids, college-age guys who love playing a sport. When an injury strikes, it's not only physically painful for them, it's also mentally debilitating. It's hard to see them go through that. Part of this job is to avoid rooting for anyone or any team. But I don't think there is anything wrong with hoping everyone stays healthy. ... We had our story today on the practice-habit turnaround evident in sophomore middle linebacker C.J. Mizell, who seems to have turned a corner. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick wrote about reserve defensive tackle Chas Sampson who has gone through fire (literally) to get to Pullman. ... We found this preview of WSU on Lindy's online site. Remember, though, it was probably written in June or July, so some things have changed. ... A list of the highest-paid public employees was released yesterday, and most of the top spots went to UW and WSU coaches and administrators. ... And finally, a basketball link for you folks who like, well, I was going to write something that could have been interpreted two ways, but since I like my job, I decided not to. ... And that's it for today.
• Around the Pac-12: ESPN.com's Ted Miller introduces the conference's two new coaches. ... Washington: Wednesday was all about Husky Stadium, as the university previewed more of what the finished product would be like - and cost. Bob Condotta has an interesting take on what the remodel should ultimately mean here. ... Oregon State: It seemed to be a day to write about the offensive and defensive lines and/or linemen. ... Oregon: The Ducks have a new middle linebacker. ... The more pads, the more hitting. ... Colorado: The Buffs are still trying to figure out who will man the corners. ... Utah: There have been some big injuries on the offensive line, but, despite not throwing yesterday, quarterback Jordan Wynn is said to be fine. ... California: It looks as if Willie Lyles supplied the Bears with legit information. ... Zach Maynard is ready to be their quarterback. ... Stanford: The Cardinal are still looking for a player to back up Andrew Luck, a guy the coaching staff hopes never will see the field. ... USC: The Trojans get some good news on the academic front. ... UCLA: The Bruins suffered their first serious camp injury. ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils have had more than their share of guys knocked out. ... Arizona: Quarterback Matt Scott hopes to redshirt this season, but to do that starter Nick Foles will have to get through the year unscathed.
• That's not all we have today. One more thing. Thirty-two years ago Kim and I were married in, as I remember it, a stifling hot non-air-conditioned church in Covina, Calif. Let me tell you, it takes a special, special person to put up with me for 32 years, that's for sure. And Kim is that type of person. Yep, sometimes you get lucky. And the luckiest day I ever had was Aug. 11, 1979. ... And if you just read that thinking, jeez, just write about the Cougs, will ya, thanks for understanding and letting me score some points (and when your job forces you to live 80 miles from your spouse, you always need to score points). Until later ...