COUGARS • UPDATED: 8:45 A.M.
We're in the airport after a solid four hours sleep, so if we mess something up, please forgive us. We're going to get this Sunday morning started with a few notes and all the Washington State links. Then we'll add the rest of the Pac-12 links and a few WSU and UCLA quotes later. Read on.
• Washington State: Sitting high above the Rose Bowl field during WSU's 28-25 loss to UCLA, I realized this loss told us more about the Cougars turning a corner than the win at Colorado last week. Yes, I picked WSU to lose by two and the margin was three, but the way the Cougars lost makes me think they can win the three games needed to become bowl eligible. And yes, I know UCLA isn't all that good, certainly not as good as Oregon or Stanford or Arizona State and probably not as good as Washington. Don't care. For the first time in three-plus years, I saw a WSU defense that went out and executed a game plan and took away a good running team's ability to move the ball consistently on the ground. Sure, Kevin Prince came off the bench and made some big throws. And big Nelson Rosario made a couple of circus catches. But the Bruins didn't gash the Cougar front consistently. The 28 points WSU gave up should have been enough to win. The offense just "sputtered" in the red zone, as Paul Wulff said afterward. And that should change in the next couple weeks when Jeff Tuel returns. With that in mind, it seems as if WSU can play with everyone left on its schedule. Now the chances to win against Stanford and Oregon are slim, but everyone else, Oregon State, California, Utah, Arizona State and Washington, all of those games are in the toss-up category. Win three of them and WSU is spending its December in New Mexico. Oh joy (and yes, that's sarcastic). Would the road have been easier with a win Saturday? Sure. But that's no longer a possibility. ... We'll be back in a bit with some more facts and figures. ... Here's our game story from the S-R this morning, along with a short notebook, our keys, scoring and statistics. ... The Seattle Times' Bud Withers had this column and notebook. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick put together this story for the News Tribune, which also had this summary. ... From the LA Times, Chris Foster has this game story and notebook. ... There is this story from the Daily News.
• UPDATE: We're back with more. Before we get too far into the links, here are highlights of the game, courtesy of Washington State's athletic video department. ... By the way, due to lateness of the game, we just dashed down the stairs – and slowly walked back up them – to gather a few quotes last night, so we can't pass along the usual lengthy ones. We do have these two links, however, including summaries of Paul Wulff's and Rick Neuheisel's quotes along with some game notes, all from UCLA. ... Here are the highlights ...
• Around the Pac-12: So what did we learn this week? Ted Miller tells us on ESPN.com, along with passing out helmet stickers. No Cougars this week. ... Washington: Bye week. ... Oregon State: The Beavers had an exceptional second quarter and that resulted in a 37-27 victory over Arizona. ... Oregon: With LaMichael James out for a while, Darron Thomas and others have to step up. ... California: Nothing today. ... Stanford: Ho-hum. The Cardinal name the final score against Colorado. It was 48-7. ... Colorado: Not only were the Buffs without a bunch of suspended players in the loss to Stanford, receiver Paul Richardson is out for a few weeks. ... Utah: So the Utes wanted to be in the Pac-12? It hasn't worked out so well just yet, thanks to their inability to hold on to the ball. ... USC: Bye week. ... UCLA: See above. ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils forced a bunch of turnovers in their 35-14 win over Utah, many of them by a revamped secondary. ... Arizona: Things are getting a bit ugly in Tucson.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back this evening with Wulff's next-day thoughts about the defeat. Until then ...