What is it with dogs and squirrels? No reason, and no relevance, but just wondered if you knew of some longstanding war between the two species. Our dog, Yogi (named after a certain catcher) and the gray-white squirrel that lives in our maple tree, don't like each other much. And the expression of that dislike can be quite jarring in the morning. Anyhow, that's what awaited me this morning as I began to write this daily post, one that has special relevance. Read on.
• Washington State: Not a lot of Cougar news. They are in the Spokane Arena this afternoon at 3 to face an Oregon State team that's also 0-1 in Pac-12 play and badly needs a win. But not as badly as WSU, which doesn't want to open conference play being swept in two of the precious nine home games. … Freelancer Howie Stalwick has this preview. … There's also a preview in the Corvallis paper. … Brian Floyd has this update on the football coaching staff on CougCenter.
• Around the Pac-12: You excited about Monday's Rose Bowl? Well, if you are, there is plenty of news for you about the matchup between Wisconsin and Oregon, a lot of it centered around UO freshman De'Anthony Thomas. … There was a report on the Net yesterday that Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt was gone, but no one was able to confirm it. Still, the Times' Jerry Brewer believes it has to happen after three tough years for the Husky defense. … Utah's defense will have to step up against Georgia Tech for the Utes to have a shot. … After the Fiesta Bowl, it will be rebuilding time at Stanford and coach David Shaw. … California is in that mode right now. … UCLA's bowl game is a chance for Jim Mora, Jr. to see his new charges in person. … On the basketball side of things, Arizona and Arizona State begin Pac-12 play against each other today, so there are still a couple of conference previews to pass along from that neck of the desert. … USC has its free-throw troubles while UCLA is struggling whenever it shoots the ball. … Both Oregon and UW are trying to start the conference season 2-0. … A nice story on Cal's Jorge Guitierrez.
• That's about it for this morning. We'll be back before this afternoon's game with some thoughts. The special relevance of this post? Well, after seemingly 1.73 million of these in the past five years, it's our final morning post as Cougar beat writer. Come Tuesday morning we'll be back here but in a bit different role. We'll still have links to key WSU news, but they'll be joined by the other Northwest newsmakers. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for the post's name. I was thinking of calling it “A Morning Cup of Joe” as my real first name is Joe (it was my dad's name and no one, not him, not me, wanted me to be a junior, so I've always gone by my middle name of Vince), but I'm open to other suggestions. Just put them in the comments. And, just so you know, “A Steaming Pile” of anything would be inappropriate. Until later …