The morning cloud cover has burnt off, there is a slight breeze with an ocean scent on it, and the sun is shining. Just doesn't seem like football weather. Read on.
• Some of the Cougars are on the field here at Jack Mur … er, Qualcomm Stadium more than an hour before kickoff, and why not? It's not like it's November in Pullman. Former WSU athletic director Jim Sterk and assistant AD John David Wicker stopped by the press box to brag … er, talk. The Southern California weather seems to agree with both. … FYI, watching Jeff Tuel playing catch with a manager makes one wonder how long the junior will be out. His collarbone is scheduled to be x-rayed tomorrow back in Pullman and his recovery schedule should be determined a bit better from there. … The Cougars will be wearing crimson pants and helmets along with their white jerseys. The idea of wearing white pants on real grass makes the laundry folks cringe. … As for today, I am convinced this game will be decided up front. Both teams have skill position players who can make plays, that's pretty obvious. But whose big guys control the line of scrimmage, that should determine the outcome. The Cougar offensive line will go without starting center Andrew Roxas, replaced by junior college transfer Taylor Meighen, making his first Division I start. How that works out could be crucial. … The defensive line will be whole, though I'm not sure how often four d-linemen will be on the field together. One of those d-linemen, tackle Toni Pole, is playing catch right now with Sekope Kaufusi, so his sprained knee must be alright. He is wearing a sleeve on it. The Cougars like to use Pole as a defensive end in their 30 set, and it will be interesting to see if he can do that today with the knee. My guess is yes, though I expect to see Lenard Williams play more than he has this season. … So what will happen today? Who knows? One thing I'm certain of is WSU has to start fast. The Cougars can't tighten up, play tentative and fall behind by two touchdowns and expect to win. One thing Sterk said is he expects a near-record crown today, drawn by a winning football team and the fireworks show that will follow the game. Let that type of crowd get into the game and they will be like another player on the field. Other than that, we've covered everything else in the paper today, so now we'll get a soda, pull out the binoculars and follow along like you guys.
• That's all for now. We'll be back when we have our stories to share. Until then follow us on Twitter. …