I can't remember when we had so much news to pass along this late in December. There are so many links, we're going back to our football-season format, which lists each school individually. Yes, there is at least one story for each. And quite a bit from Washington State. Read on.
• Washington State: The Cougars open Pac-12 play tonight in Spokane with the Oregon Ducks. Just one quick thought. Tonight and Saturday are crucial for WSU. In a conference with so much parity, holding the home court advantage will be important when it comes to seeding for the Pac-12 tournament. And pretty much everyone is playing for the tournament title, because that's the only way about nine of the 12 teams have a chance to make the NCAA tournament. The better the seed, the better the chance. If you hold serve at home, you are at the very least middle of the pack. Of course, tonight's game may not feel much like a home game, being it's in the Spokane Arena and the crowd may not be huge. But it is what it is. And the fans that do show up will make as much noise as they possibly can, I'm sure. ... We take a peek at WSU's depth at guard with this story, along with the weekend ahead and a short on Charlie Enquist's revival (third item). ... Elsewhere, freelancer Howie Stalwick has this preview of WSU's opener.
• Around the Pac-12: Yesterday's news about the Pac-12 and Big Ten strengthening the bonds between the two conferences was a big deal around the country and in the West. ... With conference basketball play beginning tonight, there is a preview or two available. ... Washington: The Huskies could use a signature football win, and with Baylor, led by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III on tap tonight, they have their chance. Here's what you want to look for and what they have to do.... UW is looking for a do-over in basketball starting with OSU tonight. ... Oregon State: After an impressive nonconference won/loss record, the Beavers try to start conference play off the right way. ... Oregon: The Ducks are still looking for an identity going into tonight's conference opener in the Arena. ... The football team's defense has been maligned recently, but mainly it's just been overshadowed. ... A Duck's quick thinking helps a restaurant customer. ... California: It wasn't a pretty night for the Bears in San Diego, losing to a pretty average Texas team 21-10. ... At least the basketball team is one of the conference's favorites. ... Stanford: The aptly named Andrew Luck is getting ready for his final game as a Cardinal by looking forward. ... Is Stanford's basketball record a mirage? ... Colorado: The Buffs prepared for conference play Saturday with a 92-34 rout of New Orleans. ... Utah: Star Lotulelei has a tough name to say and an even tougher game. ... The bowl will be a sad day for coach Kyle Whittingham in one way. ... USC: Well, there is an exception to every rule. ... UCLA: Both the Bruins and their bowl opponent Illinois have interim coaches. ... Arizona State: The new coaching staff is hitting the home state hard.... Arizona: Though we had this news a week ago, it was what we could pass along from the Wildcats.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back this evening with a pregame blog post. Until then ...