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Friday Morning Links

From San Francisco — It's that time again. The coffee is brewing, the birds are chirping and there's a new set of links for you to peruse. The kids are still asleep, and this solitary hour is for you to treasure. I won't keep you. 

Yesterday was Pac-12's Basketball media day. The conference is expected to be much improved, even if the Cougars aren't … The football team is traveling down to Eugene to face the juggernaut that is Oregon … The Ducks have found a way to introduce a new helmet that isn't obnoxious … Oregon's coach isn't overlooking WSU … Nobody panic, the Ducks have another budding superstar … A penchant for interceptions may not be WSU quarterback Connor Halliday's biggest problem.

How was that? Getting settled in? Immerse yourself, after the jump.

Pac-12 Power Rankings, week 8

 

From Pullman –After laying dormant the past few weeks, the Pac-12’s depth asserted itself this week. One of the conference’s made men was iced by an underling, and some middle tier teams emphasized their superiority over the bottom feeders. It’s pretty obvious who the king of the hill is, and who is destined to remain at the bottom of the heap. But there are a number of teams scrambling over each other to get to the top, and it’s anyone’s guess how they stack up. What is clear: The Pac-12 is an exceptionally deep conference.

Tuesday Morning Pac-12 Links

The Washington State football team has quite a challenge  this week, traveling to face Oregon in unfriendly Autzen Stadium. The Ducks lead the conference in both passing and rushing, and have a fearsome defense. That means the Cougars won’t have any time to sulk  over their disheartening loss to OSU on Saturday. But CougCenter gives us a look back  at that game. Here’s our first look at that game. 

In case you missed it, we tried out a new feature  on the blog yesterday … And Ken Goe had a controversial column  about Cougar coach Mike Leach … De’Anthony Thomas may not have practiced  on Monday, but still hopes to play against WSU … Marcus Mariota is getting a lot of well-deserved praise, and handling it well  … Greg Bishop of the New York Times has a good read  on the Ducks.

Continue reading for more links from around the conference.

Sunday night WSU practice

Washington State postponed its Sunday night football practice until 9 p.m., but didn't officially get started until 10 p.m. That was when the coaches and a number of starting players arrived at Martin Stadium. Most of the team arrived at 9 p.m. and participated in drills that were overseen by graduate assistants. Once everyone was accounted for the practice lasted around 40 minutes.

Unofficially, the players that arrived at 10 were:

Offense: Quarterback Connor Halliday, receiver Gabe Marks, running back Marcus Mason, center Elliott Bosch, offensive tackle John Fullington, offensive lineman Joe Dahl, offensive tackle Gunnar Eklund and receiver Kristoff Williams.

Defense: Linebacker Darryl Monroe, linebacker Justin Sagote, safety Deone Bucannon, cornerback Damante Horton, defensive linemen Xavier Cooper, Toni Pole and Ioane Gauta.

Practicing at cornerback was Nolan Washington, who warmed up with the wide receivers before Saturday's game.

After practice we had our first chance to speak with defensive coordinator Mike Breske since the OSU game. More on that after the jump.

Friday Morning Links

Happy Friday, everyone. USC's 38-31 victory over Arizona last night  was a fun start to what should be a great weekend of football in the Pac-12. Prepare yourself for your Saturday sports binge by scouring these links.

Here's my Pac-12 picks, so far I'm off to a decent start … WSU's Kalifitoni Pole is coming into his own … In case you missed it, here's our recap from Thursday Night Football … Expect OSU to use a lot of sub packages on defense … OSU's offensive line is almost back to normal.

Links from around the conference below.

Thursday Morning Pac-12 Links

It's Must Win Week in the Pac-12. A number of teams are playing do-or-die games. WSU against OSU has the feeling of a game that will determine whether or not each teams season is good or mediocre. UW has it's best chance in years to knock off Oregon, and on College Gameday no less. Arizona needs a bounce back win against USC, but who knows how the Trojans will respond to the recent coaching change? Is Utah legit? They've got a chance to prove it against Stanford.

Here at the S-R, we've got a story on opposing quarterback Sean Mannion, and save yourself the trouble of scrolling down by clicking here for our Wednesday practice notes.

More links from around the conference after the jump.

Tuesday Morning Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — If you're following the fallout of last week's Emmitt Su'a-Kalio arrest, Scout.com has named the alleged victim, while also disclosing his medical information. We shan't be following suit, but advise that nothing has been proven nor confirmed. 

In lighter news, Mike Leach had reporters rolling at his weekly press conference, which highlighted topics such as the Cal game, the upcoming OSU game, and preferred dog breeds … here's our notebook following the presser … the Beavers know they've got something special in Brandin Cook … OSU is expecting a challenge from WSU's passing game.

More links after the jump.

Monday Morning Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — After a 44-22 win at Cal in which the teams combined to pass for over 1,000 yards, expect more of the same this week. Sean Mannion and the Beavers didn't play last week, but the talented quarterback still leads the conference with 2,018 passing yards. The Cougars were able to win on Saturday despite giving up a lot of passing yards, but that's an area where they need to improve.

There wasn't a lot of news on Sunday, but we have a few links from around the conference after the jump.

Morning after links

The Cougars improved to 2-1 in conference play on Saturday afternoon, and 4-2 overall. Connor Halliday bounced back from the Stanford game by throwing over halfway to 1,000-yards in a single game, 521 to be exact.

Here's our story on the game… a couple of defensive linemen who have been contributors for awhile still managed to have breakout performances … over on Sportslink we've got postgame  video … and here's a column on Halliday's performance from the indefatigable Bud Withers.

But that's not all that happened on Saturday afternoon. Follow the jump for links from around the conference.

WSU Gameday Links

From Berkeley, Calif. —Today at 1p.m. the Cougars will take on California in what could easily be WSU's most important game of the season. We detail what they'll need to do to win here … If Cal wins, blame the socks … Not helping matters is the revelation that a WSU football player was arrested this week … The San Francisco Chronicle has a video preview of the game … A Cal safety decided to turn in his mouth guard. More links from around the Pac-12 after the jump.

Friday Morning Links

In case you missed it, Utah and UCLA kicked off this week's Pac-12 play last night. Entering the game, Travis Wilson and Brett Hundley had similar stats. That certainly wasn't the case during the game, as Hundley found three different ways to score a touchdown while Wilson found six different occasions to throw interceptions.

In WSU news, here's our story for tomorrow's paper, as well as our report on Thursday Night Football … The story that wouldn't die has made its way to Mashable of all places … Mark Sandritter asks how confident WSU fans are. Why don't you go tell him? … Will Cal's running back break out against the Cougs? … Links from around the conference after the jump (don't actually jump).

… 

Thursday Morning Links

Good morning! The Cougars had a fine practice yesterday. Connor Halliday highlighted the evening with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Marks. The team had a mixed special teams session, as Feddie Davey ran into punter Wes Concepcion and Alex Jackson fumbled while running back a kickoff. 

In other WSU news here's our story on the relationship between WSU head coach Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes of Cal … In case you missed it, here's our Pac-12 Power Rankings … Basketball is just around the corner and we've got a first lookHere's more on WSU basketball from The Daily Evergreen … The San Francisco Chronicle has an interview with some idiot reporter … Samuel Becker says the Cougars needed an attitude adjustment … Some good stuff here from Golden Bear Lair … 

More links from around the conference below.

Pac-12 Power Rankings

 

From Pullman — As this is the first iteration of my Pac-12 power rankings, there has been no movement from the previous week. I promise it won’t happen again. Keep in mind that these are merely snapshot of how these teams matchup on Wednesday morning, not a predicted order of finish. They take into account injuries, recent firings, and anything else that could affect on the field performance in Week 6. With that, the rankings:

Wednesday Morning Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — As you wrack your brain in search pertinent of questions for the live chat we'll be holding on SportsLink at 11 a.m., why not prep by reading our Pac-12 notes? … The basketball team got some bad news with the suspension of a post player … The San Francisco Chronicle has a First Glance at the Cougs.

Read on for links from around the conference.

Colorado avalanche deaths stun Colorado backcountry snow goers

Saturday's avalanche was deadliest in Colorado in more than 50 years

On Saturday, five men participating in the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash on Colorado's Loveland Pass were killed by an avalanche, the deadliest in the state since 1962. 

The Backcountry Bash was a fundraiser for the area avalanche center. —Denver Post

Day after Colorado (and day of UW)

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have our usual next-day recap of our coverage of Washington State's basketball game against Colorado on Saturday, as well as a look around the Pac-12. And today, we'll be in attendance to see whether the WSU women can end their losing streak against UW. Read on.

Tale of the tape: Colorado 58, WSU 49

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another loss that felt too familar for Washington State. The Cougars led in the second half, engaged in some back-and-forth, then wilted down the stretch before falling 58-49 to Colorado on Saturday night. We recap the loss. Read on.

Thoughts before WSU plays Colorado

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A tense homestand for Washington State concludes tonight with another important game, this one against Colorado. Read on for some thoughts.

Did anything happen yesterday?

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — If you picked yesterday to stay in bed all day with your phone, television and Internet turned off, you've got a lot of catching up to do. You're also our target audience this morning. Sort of. Read on.

No Costumes For AMC Batman Shows

Theaters across the country were on high alert Friday for the regular screenings of Batman’s “The Dark Knight Rises” following the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., where 12 were killed and dozens more injured. Earlier today, Regal Movie Theaters released a statement saying the chain will “continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.” AMC theaters across the nation are not allowing any movie-goers into theaters with “face-covering masks, costumes that make guests feel uncomfortable or fake weapons,” according to a corporate news release/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here. (AP photo: Brittany Diemer shows the ticket stub for the Dark Knight Rises Friday morning in Aurora, Colo.)

Question: Are you more/less reluctant to see "The Dark Knight Rises" as a result of the Colorado massacre?

Shooter Was Neuroscience Student

Federal law enforcement officials say the suspect in last night's deadly shooting in Colorado is James Holmes, a 24-year-old American. Officials believe Holmes killed a dozen people when he fired into a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb. He was wearing a gas mask and set off an unknown gas in the theater. Holmes is in police custody, and the FBI says there is no indication that incident is tied to any terrorist groups. Holmes was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school. University of Colorado spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery says Holmes was a student until last month. Montgomery says Holmes enrolled in the program in June 2011 and was in the process of withdrawing/AP. More here. (AP photo: Tom Sullivan, center, embraces family members outside Gateway High School where he has been searching franticly for his son Alex Sullivan who celebrated his 27th birthday by going to see "The Dark Knight Rises," movie)

DFO: Now this is getting strange as all get out. Sounds like this guy was enrolled in the same neuroscience PhD program in same UColorado/Denver medical center as my son. He entered program in 2011. My son left for UFlorida in 2009. I met many of the professors of that neurosurgery program during my son's doctorate dissertation. Shudder.

Thoughts?

High Noon: Should Movie Be Pulled?

The Dark Knight Rises' once-bright, perhaps-historic box-office prospects have clouded in the wake of the shooting at a Colorado theater that left at least 12 dead. "Nothing like this has ever happened," Exhibitor Relations' Jeff Bock said Friday. The Christopher Nolan Batman epic grossed $30.6 million in Friday midnight screenings, Warner Bros. estimated, a staggering debut that was the second-biggest such take on record, but felt beside the point as the news from the Rocky Mountain state sunk in. "i'm at a loss for words, which is rare," said Hollywood.com's Paul Dergarabedian, an always reliable sound bite on the box office. The loudest silence was at Warners, the studio behind the final chapter in Nolan's comic-book trilogy/Joel Ryan, E!. More here.

Question: Should Warner Bros. pull "Dark Knight Rises"?

Eyewitness To Horror

Eyewitness Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning today in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

Question: Should Riverstone and other local area cinemas beef up security in view of the Aurora massacre?

Shooter Kills 14 In Movie Theater

Tom Sullivan, center, stands with family members outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning after a gunman opened fire at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises Batman movie today in Aurora, Colo. Sullivan later pleaded with the media to help find his missing son, Alex Sullivan, who attended the movie to celebrate his 27th birthday. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver theater at a midnight opening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 14 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. Moviegoers didn’t know what was happening and some thought the attack was part of the show. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd. “I told my friend ‘we’ve got to get out of here,’ but then he shot people trying to go out the exits,” Jennifer Seeger told NBC’s “Today.” She the shooter made his way up the aisle, shooting as he went, saying nothing. Some of those injured are children, and victims are being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. The shooter, a man in his 20s, was arrested shortly after the attack at 12:30 a.m. MDT at the multiplex theater at a mall in Aurora/AP. More here.

Question: Why do these massacres happen at intervals in American society?

Obama, Romney Pull Negative Ads

President Obama called for “prayer and reflection for the victims” of the Colorado shooting Friday, cutting short a campaign swing through Florida as he pledged federal support for state and local officials. “There are going to be other days for politics,” Obama told a crowd of several hundred supporters on hand to see him at the Harborside Event Center here. Obama said he had spoken earlier in the morning with the mayor of Aurora, Colo., the Denver suburb in which the shooting had taken place and with the state’s governor, John Hickenlooper, and that the federal government would assist in any way possible with local law enforcement efforts. … Before the event, campaign press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Obama campaign had asked television stations in Colorado to pull “contrast” ads critical of Republican Mitt Romney off the air for the time being. Romney campaign press secretary Andrea Saul announced shortly afterward that the GOP campaign would do the same. SuperPacs supporting the two candidates said they also had pulled their advertisements in the state/L.A. Times. More here. (AP photo: President Barack Obama walks down the steps after speaking about the Aurora, Colo., shooting at an event at the Harborside Event Center in Ft. Myers, Fla., Friday)

Question: Does angry political discourse affect the public?

Is There Link Between Film, Shooting?

With the deadly shooting in Aurora, Colo., inside a packed movie theater showing “The Dark Knight Rises,” questions are being raised as to whether there is any connection between the killings and the movie’s plot and the character of Batman. In “The Dark Knight Rises,” a masked villain leads a murderous crew into a packed football stadium and wages an attack involving guns and explosives. It’s just one of the more haunting scenes in what was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, if not the year. It’s unclear whether the shooter’s motives had any specific link to “The Dark Knight Rises.” The shooting happened at 12:30, not far into the midnight screening that marked the film’s opening day. Violent attacks on the public by villains are key components of most superhero movies, including “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-man,” both in theaters now. By Hollywood standards, the Batman movies are more grim than bloody/AP. More here.

Question: Do movies, like "The Dark Knight Rises," prompt marginal individuals to act out in murderous ways?

He-e-e-e-re Comes Santorum

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum claimed a surge of momentum and fundraising on Wednesday, a day after his shocking sweep of nominating contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri that dealt a blow to front-runner Mitt Romney. Even though Romney holds strong advantages in financing and organization, his campaign will have to refocus to fight the challenge from Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania known for his socially conservative views. "We definitely are the campaign with the momentum, the enthusiasm on the ground," Santorum said on CNN/Reuters. More here. (AP photo: Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a primary night watch party Tuesday in St. Charles, Mo.)

Question: What happened to Romney?

Santorum Looking Good Tonight

As the Republican candidates play out their presidential nominating bids in three states on Tuesday, predictions are mounting that Rick Santorum (pictured) will have a good night after pulling ahead in Midwestern polling.
But Mitt Romney still has the line on Colorado, which like Minnesota, is holding caucuses on Tuesday night that won't commit delegates but should provide some insight into the trajectory of the candidates. Missouri is holding a non-binding primary that sets up the standings for the delegate-awarding caucuses in a month from now. According to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, Santorum is leading in Minnesota, 33 percent to 24 percent for Romney. Newt Gingrich is at 22 percent and Ron Paul is at 20 percent/Fox News. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Is it healthy for the Republicans that the primary race continue on as long as possible?

Cross-Country Cat Finds Way Home

Willow, a 6-year calico cat that went missing from her Colorado home during a renovation 5 years ago, sits in a cage at her temporary home on Wednesday in New York's Animal Care and Control (ACC) facility. Willow, found as a stray in Manhattan and brought to ACC, had been tagged with an identification microchip and will soon be reunited with her owners. Story here. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Question: Why do you love cats more than dogs? Or vice versa?