It's game day, the best day of the college football week. For many fans, the only day. For the players, the day they take their test. Read on.
• Washington State: No, we don't mean the academic folks are administrating exams today. In college football, each week seems like five days of classroom work followed by a quiz to see where you stand. And tonight's test for the Cougars is a tough one. They are on the road. They are running up against a team desperate for a win. They are a bit nicked up. They are coming off an emotional win that could have drained their tank. They are playing their first night game of the season. All of those things are conspiring to make it a difficult weekend for WSU. We'll see how the Cougars play tonight in the Rose Bowl. I'm not going to go into much more here – I save that for the pregame post – but I will add one thing: If Washington State wins tonight, this could be a special season. ... Lots of stories here, starting with our piece on Todd Howard returning to the Rose Bowl, where he coached for five seasons. ... We also have our keys to tonight's game. ... Bud Withers has some of those as well. ... The Cougars are still pulling up to the proverbial corner. They haven't turned it yet. ... CougCenter exams WSU's linebacker play and has its tailgater guide to the game. ... Jim Moore takes a look at his favorite Washington team of all time. ... Finally, local boy (sort of) makes good.
• Around the Pac-12: It's time to pass along Ted Miller's mailbag on ESPN.com.He also has what to watch today. ... Washington: Bye week. ... Oregon State: It's desperation time for both teams in Corvallis this afternoon. ... Oregon: LaMichael James has been through this injury before and the Ducks have dealt with losing a star before. ... California: The Bears couldn't handle Oregon's speed this season, especially in the second half. ... Stanford: With all the focus on the quarterback, the running back is under the radar. As are the Cardinal most Saturdays. Shayne Skov isn't, and he has his radar set for 2012. ... Colorado: The Buffs expect today's game with Stanford to be physical. ... Utah: Kyle Whittingham has asked his team to step up today, especially on defense. ... USC: With a bye, the Trojans spend time on California. ... UCLA: If the Bruins dump Rick Neuheisel, who has never lost to WSU in eight tries, who should they hire? ... The Bruins, including offbeat tight end Joseph Fauria, know this WSU team is better. ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils have yet to win on the road. Of course, this is only their second game there this season. ... Arizona: It's desperation time for both teams in Corvallis this afternoon.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back this evening with our pregame blog post, when we'll update Jeff Tuel's status along with other notes. Until then ...