COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:20 A.M.
Got up this morning and turned on the computer. No World Wide Net. Nothing. I blame the guys power washing the decks in the apartment complex. Don't know what that would have to do with it, as they hadn't even started yet, but if Steve Bartman and ESPN has taught us anything the past couple weeks, it's that we always need a scapegoat, right? Miraculously, an hour later no problems. Sun spots? My obesity? TCU to the Big 12? Have no idea what caused it. But we're back now and have a pretty full post. Read on.
• Washington State: Don't know what to add here, other than to say no one in the media, myself included, seems to be picking the Cougars to win this Saturday (you can see all my Pac-12 picks for the week here), so more than likely that means they'll breeze. If they played liked they practiced yesterday, that very well could happen. ... We have our story on the UCLA game last season serving as a catalyst for major changes in the WSU defense. ... Bud Withers posts on Marshall Lobbestael and the UCLA game from a few years back. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick has this piece on the offensive and defensive improvements through four games. ... CougCenter welcomes back Jared Karstetter.
• UPDATE: A couple of notes. ... Lobbestael was was named the Manning Award Player of the Week on Thursday morning for his performance against Colorado. Here's part of the release on the award:
"As a senior, Lobbestael had learned to accept his role as the backup quarterback on the team, starting only a handful of games throughout his career. However, he has truly stepped up to the occasion since Jeff Tuel suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener – this is the second time that Lobbestael has been recognized as a Manning Award Star of the Week and his first Manning Award Player of the Week honor."
Also, the saga of Rahmel Dockery has taken its final turn. Dockery is dropping the classes he's been taking at WSU, dropping the appeal and heading back to Tacoma. He has to pass one high school course to become eligible for the spring semester and that's his plan. That will make him a grayshirt and allow him to have five years to play four for WSU. Because he wasn't a full-time student, his eligibility clock didn't start.
• Around the Pac-12: As is his usual MO, ESPN.com's Ted Miller tells us what to look for this weekend. He also has his predictions and the news from the Pac-12 office about the title game. The PA announcer will be Paul Olden, who worked in Spokane when I was a young man. ... Jon Wilner ranks the Pac-12 teams. ... Washington: The bye week has afforded some young players a chance to get work, including backup quarterback Nick Montana. ... Oregon State: An interesting piece on when the Beavers' fortunes took a turn for the worse. ... Special teams need to pick it up, as does the defense. ... Oregon: Everyone wants to find out tonight if Cal has some magic formula to stop the Oregon offense. Josh Huff will try to make sure it doesn't. ... California: The game tonight (on ESPN) might be a modern retelling of the tortoise and the hare. ... Stanford: The Cardinal's punt returner really wants to break one. ... Colorado: Boy, I've seen this before. Buffs coach Jon Embree is cleaning house, with it looking like five players about to be shown the door. ... Utah: We went into this a bit in our Pac-12 notebook this week, but the divisional setup gives some teams in the South hope. No one benefits more than the Utes. ... USC: The bye is giving some players much needed rest. ... UCLA: Can the Bruins get to six wins? Is there anyone healthy enough to play safety? What's going on in the Rose Bowl? ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils may have two offensive linemen making their first start. ... Arizona: Mike Stoops has always been a defensive coach, in more ways than one.
• That's it for this morning. Paul Wulff has a short media call this afternoon and we'll pass along what he has to say. Until then ...