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Morning links: WSU bowl possibilities

Washington State will have to wait to find out where it will spend the holidays. That's the thrust of our story in today's paper, which explains some various bowl games scenarios.

In the paper we also have this story from Kevin Dudley about the men's basketball team's win over Texas Southern. Kyle Bonagura reports that the Cougars are likely headed to the Foster Farms or Holiday bowls, depending on which team wins the Pac-12 championship game. Brian Floyd isn't too choked up about WSU's Apple Cup loss.

USC, the Pac-12 preseason favorite, is just one win away from living up to the hype. And may have already found its new coach. … Stanford kept a sliver of a playoff hope alive by beating Notre Dame last night. … California won a wild nightcap over Arizona State. … Fittingly, Colorado came up just short one last time against Utah.

Final stats and game book

Courtesy of WSU Athletics.

Morning links: Getting ready for the Apple Cup

It's almost time for the Apple Cup. Here are some links.

Here is my story in advance of today's game that will, for better or worse, be decided by the Washington State passing offense, as well as these four other keys to a Cougars victory. The confident Cougars are eminently relevant as a successful season, but anything can happen in the rivalry game.

The other northwest schools are holding their rivalry game today as well, the annual Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State. The Ducks have won seven consecutive matchups with their rival. That streak probably isn't going to end today.

Pac-12 Turkey Day links

Don't you have something better to do today than read about football? You don't? Well, by all means …

My story today is about Gabe Marks, Washington State's star receiver. But the question on everyone's mind is: Who will be throwing Marks the ball? John Blanchette spoke to a physician who has worked with Olympic athletes who says there's no way Luke Falk should play. The Seattle Times had a Q&A with a WSU physician answered some of the pressing questions about how the Cougars handle head injuries.

I've also got my Pac-12 picks, CougCenter has its Pre-Snap Read, Don Ruiz writes that the Huskies are focused on more than just WSU's passing attack and Adam Jude  profiled an impressive UW walk-on. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is up for a prestigious award.

Here's yesterday's live chat and a post explaining the punishment for Cougars who refuse to hit the books.

Now go enjoy your day.

After you read Vince's post.

What happens when the Cougars don’t emphasize academics

In this week's two-part look inside the Washington State football program we explain how the Cougars keep up with their classwork during a busy season. Yesterday we examined how the Cougars keep their grades up. Today we explain what happens to those who fail to do so.
Last semester's grades weren't what Washington State coach Mike Leach was hoping for after a few years of steady improvement. But at least the Cougars weren't failing out.

The WSU coaching staff has a safety net in place to motivate any student who is in danger of failing to meet the NCAA's academic eligibility requirements.

"The biggest thing is it's all pretty simple – you want it more convenient to go to class than not," Leach said. "The quick answer is, really you can't make anybody do anything they don't want to do. But you can certainly make it more convenient to do one thing than another. So we try to ensure that it's more convenient to go to class than not."

First, the coaches make the players accountable to each other by splitting them up into two academic teams, introducing a sense of competition to their studies. The coaches also join the academic support staff in doing attendance and homework checks to make sure assignments and classes aren't falling through the cracks.

Should that fail, Leach makes them accountable to strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo. Only about six total players have had to participate in one of the two "Tower of London" workouts with Loscalzo this semester, and it's easy to see why they would want to avoid the extra conditioning.

The players will meet Loscalzo for the workout and he runs them around campus. Past coaches who have done the workout for Leach have peppered the players with historical facts and questions.

"Sometimes there's props," Leach said. "Anything from ropes, to tires, to cinder blocks."

Alex Grinch up for Assistant Coach of the Year

First-year Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is one of 34 nominees for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant in college football.

Under Grinch, the WSU defense is giving up 27.4 points per game, an improvement of 11.2 points over last year. The defense has also snagged 20 turnovers in 11 games, after accumulating just eight takeaways in 12 games last season. Grinch came to WSU from Missouri after a lengthy coaching search to replace Mike Breske, who was fired at the end of the 2014 season. Although Grinch had no previous coordinator experience, head coach Mike Leach has said he liked the secondary's coach's clear message and ability to communicate with and energize his players.

Morning links: Getting to know Peyton Bender

Peruse today's Washington State news before joining our live chat at 11 a.m.

Yesterday was a busy day on the WSU beat, and that's good for me because I had plenty to write, and good for you if you like reading that sort of thing. In the paper we have a feature story about quarterback Peyton Bender, my Pac-12 Power Rankings and a game story from the men's basketball team's win last night. Jim Allen wrote a story about the women's basketball team's overseas connections. And we also ran this Christian Caple story about Washington's impressive defensive backfield. Adam Jude wrote about UW's secondary as well.

On the blog we have a story about how WSU's players manage to focus on academics and football and a post about Luke Falk's nomination for the Burlsworth Trophy. We also have some postgame videos of Ernie Kent, some WSU players and the box score from the basketball game. Stefanie Loh wrote about the Pelluers and their ties to both UW and WSU. Gabe Marks is not a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, and does not seem particularly pleased about that.

Ernie Kent after CSULA

Ernie Kent

Opening Statement:

Our focus going into the game without Josh was to just play a solid basketball game and have a game where everybody could play, played that hard and played that well. It was getting Conor an opportunity to really play and get on his game, and I'm so pleased for him that he's worked so hard to get his weight down, to get his conditioning, to get his body stronger and I thought he had a phenomenal game.

He and Val give you just a great one-two punch down there at that position. I thought we played well. I thought Ike played particularly well. I challenged those guys to rebound and he had seven rebounds, he makes up for Josh not being there. Just a good balance game for us, a good game for us to go to he break on.

Did Josh Hawkinson's absence make it easier for Conor Clifford to have a big night?

I don't know about Conor because they're different positions. Whether Josh was there or not, that ball was going to go in to Conor a lot to get him on his game. But what it did as a team was it allowed you to figure some things out, without your best player on the floor, and that's always a good things. Because you take 14 points 10 rebounds off the floor, and a guy who knows how to play so well, I thought we struggled out of the gate the first three or four possessions but then we got into a rhythm. The passing was phenomenal between Que and Conor and Junior on that baseline was the big point of the game. Now when you bring him back to the mix again, I think it makes us that much better.

Is this team able to make its own energy even with a sparse crowd?

They create their own energy because the competition is so good. When you have a team this deep – we try to talk to opposing team coaches. And the best compliment we got fro ma coach was you have no drop off when other players come into the game, and that guy in the middle makes you a lot different than last year, talking about Val. Without even seeing Conor on his game. I think the fact you have so much competition and it's so completive in practice, it just carries over to the game, whether you have people here or no, this is a group that is mentally conditioned to play hard, get out and do some things.

The guards are willing to feed the post?

Well, he's a huge target and if he gets the ball down low it's very difficult to stop him because he has such great hands and such great touch, whether with the right or with the left. And I think they had felt confident enough in practice with his ability.

Before he went down, about a month or so ago, he was just phenomenal in practice. You just could not stop him. You saw a taste of that tonight and he can get better.

How do you mix he and Josh into a rotation together?          

Well again, it isn't Josh because Josh will sub in at the four spot, Conor's at the five spot. So when you've got Conor, Val, Josh and Junior, that's a really good four-headed monster sitting in there, you just rotate those four in and out. Most of your better teams will have four big guys, well we've got another one sitting there in Robert Franks whose got a skillset that’s really, really good. And then we can play small and put Brett Boese there, put Derrien King there. We're just developing this bench. We don't need to blow people out by 30 and 40, we need to develop and get guys the opportunity to see footage of themselves and what they're doing right, what they're doing wrong and get them on their game, get them in a rhythm, get then in different combinations. And so when Josh comes back, he just makes us better. It just give us more weapons, more guys you can turn to over the course of a game.

Would you like to keep seeing different players take over?

You know what, we've talked about that before, that we have the ability to do that. Because it's a team that's so evenly balanced, one night it could be Renard. You saw him in the exhibition game, he had that monster game. Then came Viont'e. Ike has a career night. Then Josh does his thing. Here comes Val. Here comes Conor. I'm looking forward to the night where they're all on their game at the same time, that's going to be something to behold and that's what we're striving to do – to where everybody is on their game. Any combination you put on the floor, I'm getting their best game out of them.

Do you anticipate having Hawkinson back by Gonzaga?

I'll know more on that over the next few days but I would hope so. I hope he'll be back by Saturday.

Were the 17 turnovers too many for your liking?

There were. There was a negative, I thought we were a little precarious with the ball, and I didn't think we had enough assists, either. So we'll look at tape and figure out where that came from. I thought we had like a 10-point swing in the game at one point in time late in the second half after we were up (27), I'll look at tape and figure out where that came from. But we're going to have, the way we run, 12, 13 turnovers I can live with. 17, 18, 19, 20 turnovers, that's too many. We're not making the right reads or we're being careless with the ball when we have those kinds of turnovers.

WSU 74, CSULA 57

Courtesy of WSU Athletics.

Cougars emphasize academics

In this week's two-part look inside the Washington State football program we explain how the Cougars keep up with their classwork during a busy season. Today we'll examine how the Cougars keep their grades up, and tomorrow we'll explain what happens to those who fail to do so.

When the Washington State athletic department spent $61 million on a brand new football operations building, the idea was to build an athletic citadel in the middle of campus. It was to be a glitzy home where the football team could focus on football and football only.

And yet, two years later, at times it seems like the expansive edifice is just one more academic building on the college campus.

Stroll through the football operations building at certain times of day and you'll find study groups in the position unit meeting rooms, and tutoring in the training table cafeteria. One of the larger offices on the top floor has been given over to academic staff. The sounds of weight training and locker room banter give way to the solemnity of students studying.

The studying that is happening in the once football-only building is just the latest illustration of how the athletic department has merged its goal of producing a winning football team and graduating players.

And WSU's coaches play an important role in monitoring athletes and making sure they are keeping up on their studies. According to Pam Bradetich, a senior associate director of athletics, Mike Leach invites academic support members to his weekly planning meeting on Thursdays and requests frequent updates for him and his staff in the form of written reports, emails and text messages.

"Mike Leach is definitely more of a texter," Bradetich said.

The academic support starts when players first arrive on campus, when they are required to attend weekly academic planning meetings with a member of Bradetich's staff.

"From there we can assess individual student needs, based on those planning meetings," Bradetich said. "We are expecting our new freshmen to be in that study options program, where they must be able to account for at least 10 hours of studying in a structured environment. Maybe with a tutor, maybe in guided study, that we can document and verify the work was completed."

The Cougars have guided study sessions from Thursday through Sunday in which academic support staff, who are familiar with the players' individual needs, are available to assist their studies.

Bradetich is big on targeted assistance. Players who need more assistance might meet with an academic support staffer every day. Other players who meet certain GPA and study standards may be given total independence in their studies.


"The 10-hour option kick-starts them into 'oh, this is the amount of time it takes to earn the higher grades in the classroom,'" Bradetich said.

Even the players who don't need so much help managing their time are given academic support, however. Take Kristoff Williams, a wide receiver who graduated last season and is now at California-Berkeley's prestigious law school, never needed much tutoring to keep up with his studies.

Instead, Bradetich and her staff helped Williams with LSAT prep and the law school admissions process. Other athletes benefit from resume-building and career-prep  and placement services. Bradetich and her staff put together a portfolio of resumes of all the seniors she can convince to participate, and sends it out to prospective employers to help the students find work after football.

"The resources we commit to the academic services area has certainly been enhanced since (athletic director) Bill Moos arrived," Bradetich says. "It isn't just about building the buildings, Bill Moos has supported all of our student services tremendously since he's arrived. So the academic area has benefited from that, also."

Many football players graduate in fewer than four years because they are expected to be on campus during the summer, and the athletic department spends about $1 million on summer school for athletes.

Thanks to those efforts, WSU's graduation rate of 71 percent ranks No. 4 in the Pac-12. That figure includes players who transfer or leave school entirely. Among those who stay the graduation rate is about 93 percent, says Bradetich.

Luke Falk is Burlsworth Trophy finalist

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk is a finalist for the award given to the best player in college football who began his career as a walk-on. The other finalists for the award are Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib. The Springdale Rotary Club winner announce the winner on Dec. 7.

Falk did not have any scholarship offers coming out of high school, just the opportunity to pay his own way at  Cornell (the Ivy League does not give athletic scholarships). We wrote about his journey to WSU in this profile. Falk has thrown for 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions while leading the Cougars to an 8-3 record. His status for Friday's Apple Cup remains uncertain since he was knocked out of last Saturday's win over Colorado.

Morning links: All about the Apple Cup

Coaches, players and media organizations are getting ready for the annual showdown between Washington and Washington State.

Our coverage begins with our weekly WSU notebook, our First Look at the Huskies and don't forget, there's a basketball game tonight. The Cougars held their Apple Cup press conference yesterday, and here are the videos of Mike Leach, Dom Williams, Gunnar Eklund and Jeremiah Allison. Ernie Kent also addressed the media. Here are the game notes.

Although Mike Leach does not speak about injuries, athletic director Bill Moos hinted Cougars quarterback Luke Falk suffered a concussion against Colorado. Todd Milles wrote this profile of wide receiver Gabe Marks. Jeff Nusser also wrote about Moos' comments, and Craig Powers examines WSU's history in the Apple Cup as a ranked team.

Chris Petersen's team could make a bowl with an Apple Cup loss, but the coach doesn't love the idea of 5-7 teams in the postseason. The Huskies have noted the improvement in WSU's defense. If you're traveling Husky Stadium for the game, get ready for increased security and weird bus service.

The Cougar landed another offensive line recruit. Howie Stalwick at SportsPressNW notes that it doesn't seem likely Gonzaga and WSU will keep playing an annual basketball game.

Huge high school offensive lineman chooses WSU

Christian Haangana, a 6-foot-6, 347-pound offensive linemen, announced his decision to accept a football scholarship from Washington State on Twitter.

Haangana, a senior at Milpitas High in California, is the fourth offensive lineman in the class of 2016 to publicly declare his intention to play for WSU. He reportedly also had scholarship offers from Oregon State and San Jose State, and is listed as a two-star offensive guard by Scout.com. The Cougars now have 18 committed recruits in the 2016 class, who will sign letters of intent in February.

Here is some highlight tape of WSU's newest recruit:

Mike Leach Monday press conference

Video courtesy of WSU Athletics.

Question: What would you consider a good team grade-point average?
Mike Leach: If you make it, if you get somewhere between 2.9 and 3.0 you'll lead the country. When we did, that's where we were at, somewhere between 2.9 and 3.0. In the past, when I've led the nation, that's where it's at.

Q: As the team is rewarded for its buy-in on the field, have you noticed players buying in more in areas like academics?
ML: Well, we'll know more at the end of the semester. We'll have a better idea at the end of the semester. I think we've done better academically, it seems. The other thing that's kind of a moving target is we're a really young group so sometimes GPAs are tougher to come by the first two years than the last two. I'm curious, though. We've generally elevated our GPA from one semester to the next. I was disappointed in last semester's, though. We'll see.

Q: How did it come about that the Football Operations Building started getting used for academic support?
ML: Well, I think, first of all there's a ton of room. I think, I don't know exactly where it originally started, but they go right from dinner to study hall. And so then, right down the hall we had big, empty meeting rooms that can accommodate plenty of people, and so they started meeting in those meeting rooms. And then also, we had a bunch of office space on that top floor and so we've got sports information, we've got the cafeteria and we've got academics up there. And some of that just has to do with space and it's convenient for everybody. This building fills out pretty well, until you get to the top floor. Then you have to get kind of creative to figure out how to use that much space. Nobody wanted a lopsided building so we wanted a full floor up there. Well, so we added another kind of board meeting room, which we do scout teams there, made the offices real big but after awhile they were getting too big. We put the coaches' locker room in there and still had additional space. A bunch of office space, which as I said is utilized by the training table people. A portion of sports information and academics. And the academic thing has worked out real well because our guys come and go, and they'll see them in the hall and study on that floor and all the rest.

Q: Does the short week present any challenges?
ML: Well, we've got a practice today and also have to get the game plan in earlier. So a lot faster pace to get the game plan in.

Q: Have you watched film on UW and what stands out?
ML: Yeah, quite a bit. They're big, strong, physical, you know just really aggressive. Their defensive line I think is really strong and then, yeah just good, solid players, really.

Q: What does the Apple Cup mean to you?
ML: Well, I think all the games are meaningful so we need to worry about just playing the best we can, improving another week and being the best team we can be out there.

Q: How do you keep the players from getting too amped up?
ML: Focus on improvement. Because that's really all you can control and that's really all we've been doing up to this point, just make sure together as a team we get a week better.

Q: If Peyton Bender starts at quarterback does that limit the offense at all?
ML: Not a lot. Not really. He may have a play or two that he likes or he's good at.

Q: What impact has Jeremiah Allison had and is he one of the best leaders you've ever coached?
ML: He's a good one. On and off the field, kind of a lot of character off the field in addition to his efforts on the field. So yeah, just a good, solid person. One from our early classes that I think has had an impact on others around here for a while.

Q: What did you see in Alex Grinch and have you taken chances on coordinators before?
ML: I've done a little of both. The biggest thing is he was part of a really good defense and kind of had a proven track record. And then he was at a point in his career that I knew he had not only earned the right to be a coordinator, but was hungry and capable to do it and I think he's done a really good job of it.

Q: Have you seen more of a next man up mentality this year?
ML: Yeah, I think everybody's worked extremely hard together. I think some of it is even though we're extremely young, we're a little deeper. But you know, I think as time's gone on this season, I don't think this has been the case the whole season, but as time's gone on we've developed into kind of a focused team, where you focus on the task at hand, and what counts and what you can control.

Q: Was Elson Floyd a mentor to players other than Jeremiah Allison?
ML: Several, I'm sure. But Jeremiah, early on when he got here was going through some personal issues and I think that Floyd really took him under his wing. I think some of that also had to do with the fact that Jeremiah was a high academic guy that has talked about potentially careers in public service, law and those type of things. I think he kind of gravitated toward (the Floyds) as advisors and examples. He's always been one of those guys  — and I don't have a list of them – who've been involved in a whole bunch of different things, all the committees. He's involved in all the stuff I avoided when I was his age, which are good things, and he's the guy to do it. Part of the reason it would be good for me to avoid it is so it's in people's hands like Jeremiah.

Q: Is it unusual for a school president to take such interest in a football player?
ML: Not really with Dr. Floyd. He was a special guy that was kind of hands-on. Because it was a team effort between Dr. Floyd, Bill Moos, me and all the coaches to try and build this program, and the other thing is he would meet with our recruits. He would talk to our recruits when they came on campus, and I think that's when they initially became familiar with each other. Obviously not everybody but he definitely got to know some individuals. And I think Jeremiah served on some campus type of committees and things where they got to know each other further.

Q: When did you decide on a starting QB?
ML: It was in camp. Shoot, there's a room full of people here if they go through their notes could probably tell you because I got asked every day. I don't know, probably about the time, just before we left Lewiston.

Q: What swung the decision in Luke Falk's favor?
ML: Just his ability to manage the offense and to run the team. A portion of it I think has to do with his experience and just kind of a more complete overall performance in practices.

Q: Would you like to have answered your question after the Colorado game in which you said Falk was healthy and resting differently?
ML: Not really, because I think it's ridiculously foolish to ask me anything that relates to injuries, given the fact I never answer questions on injuries. The idiocy of asking me about injuries goes even several layers deeper when you consider the fact that I have virtually no input on it, the doctors handle it and they don't ask me anything about it. So I guess I would turn that question back to you. If you had to do it over again, would you ask a better question than that or would you stick to that foolish question?

Q: I would stick with it. Has getting more information about head injuries affected your approach to coaching?

ML: No, because it's always been in the hands of doctors and trainers. If they're there and they're cleared, I coach them. If not, I don't.

Q: Could you explain your policy of not addressing injuries?
ML: Well, one, the fact that (other coaches) violate HIPAA doesn't mean that I'm going to. Two, I'm not qualified to talk about injuries, that's something doctors and trainers should have the expertise for. Three, I don't see any sense in giving the opponent any additional information. Four, how am I able to predict what a guy's going to be able to do physically or not, given that if you refer to one, it's in the hands of the doctors? Five, somebody's going to play that position no matter what, and the last thing we're going to do is create a distraction for our team and sing the blues and act like somehow we're working our way out of a hole because someone else is playing that position, because the other person playing the position may be just as good or better than the last one. And I quite frankly don't understand coaches that are constantly talking about injuries because, to me, it smells of hiding behind trying to generate an excuse in case they need one after the fact if the game doesn't go the way they hope it does.

Q: When are you going to make a decision who will start?
ML: I don't think I'll share that, either. Game time. We're going to make that decision 27 seconds before kickoff.

Q: Did you notice a breakthrough for Gabe Marks with how he got through the lows of his career?
ML: A bunch of stuff hit him at once. I think he just continually, gradually battled through it. The biggest thing is he just sort of stuck with it and then, oh I think about a couple months in he just really dedicated himself to improve his skills as a player, just to work really hard as a player, to really focus on his ability to improve, ways that he could improve, ways that he could get better. Had an offseason where he was just extremely hungry for improvement, worked out, I also think that example rubbed off on others, as well.

Q: If you had a message to the voters who ranked you behind Oregon, what would it be?
ML:  I don't have any control over that. I've got too many things to worry about. The things I have control over, there's more of those than I can address. So I worry about that.

Q: What differentiates Bender from Falk?
ML: Very competitive guys. Ball comes off Peyton's hand quick. Both just really good players.

Q: What are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?
ML: Yeah, we'll have an activity and a dinner. I think that's on Wednesday. These guys just be sensitive to the fact that they're here this week and keep them occupied. Of course we'll be plenty busy with practice and meetings, too.

Q: What's your philosophy for rivalry games?
ML: I think your team's typically already motivated for it, you know? I think your team's already typically quite motivated and you just keep them focused and on track as far as their job, technique and things. I think with rivalries teams are already inclined to be motivated.

Q: What is the difference in Bender and Falk's demeanor?
ML: Peyton's calm, Peyton does a good job being calm. And then some of it's just Luke's got more experience. I'd say Peyton's calm and is pretty much kind of in attack mode. Luke's calm but kind of analytical.

Q: How was building a WSU foundation different than the Texas Tech foundation?
ML: Similar in some ways. Tech started out with a little better core of players, kind of a distribution between the classes although I definitely felt we upgraded the talent as time went on. Here we were pretty depleted. And even still we're pretty top-heavy freshmen, sophomores. We had kind of a semblance of a defensive line at Tech, we built it here. O-line, in both places we had to build that up and the better we got the O-line the more things started to improve. Tech had either barely made a bowl or been close to a bowl before we got there, here they weren't even close to one. I think further to go here. As far as recruiting, both places once people get there are excited about it, like what they see and all those things. But they don't have an initial visual most times because they haven't been there. People in Texas haven't been to Lubbock and on the west coast, generally positive impressions but they haven't been to Pullman. Too often they ask if it rains all the time here. And clearly, no, we're in the foothills of the Rockies, we're not over there in the cold swamp, you know. So then once they see it, and this is like the ultimate of college towns, you know. So it's similar that way. You can actually get, more places can get here quicker because there are direct flights. Like L.A. is really only a couple hours away. So I guess it's similar from that standpoint, that there's an isolation thing. But the biggest thing they have in common is just trying to get everyone's energy in the right direction so people are duplicating each other's efforts. Initially there will be a couple selfish guys who are more interested in what's best for them than the group, so you try to eradicate, change or eradicate them. In both places we had to do those things.

Q: What are you thankful for this year?
ML: Oh shoot. Turkey, you know? Family, the opportunity to work with this team. Your team develops into kind of a family and we've had the opportunity to accomplish some things and have more things to accomplish. That's the biggest thing and that's what occupies most of my attention right now.

Apple Cup game notes

Apple Cup game notes, courtesy of WSU Athletics

Morning links: WSU eyes northwest championship

Washington State heads into Apple Cup week ranked No. 20 in both major polls and has a chance to win the northwest crown for the first time since 1983.

The Cougars have already blown out the Beavers and have upended the Ducks. Now they just need to beat the 5-6 Huskies to be the undisputed kings of the Pacific Northwest hill (or out here we should probably call it a mountain).

WSU will cross the Cascades for Friday's game, but will starting quarterback Luke Falk travel with them? That's the big question, and the reason no line has been set on the game. It's also the subject of our story in today's paper.

Brian Floyd of CougcCenter explains why there may not be much clarification about the nature of Falk's apparent head injury.

Adam Jude and Stefanie Loh combined to preview the game for the Seattle Times. Christian Caple's story from Washington's win over Oregon State touches on the high stakes in Friday's game.

And here are some bowl projections:

— SB Nation still has the Cougars in the Sun Bowl.

— As does one of ESPN's two prognosticators.

— Jerry Palm joins the other in picking WSU to play in the Foster Farms Bowl.

WSU No. 20 in AP poll

Washington State moved up four spots in the AP Top-25 poll after beating Colorado 27-3. It's the highest the Cougars have been ranked since they finished the  2003 season ranked No. 9.

WSU moves up in coaches poll

Washington State moved up to No. 20 in USA Today's survey of college coaches' rankings after beating Colorado, 27-3 on Saturday. The Cougars debuted in the coaches poll at No. 23 last week.

There was an initial hiccup with WSU's ranking, however.

Morning links: WSU wins but Falk injured

Here is our story from yesterday's game. We also have these keys to the game. Here on the blog you can find the final stats, postgame notes, and videos of Mike Leach, Gabe Marks and Taylor Taliulu, and Dom Williams and Jeremiah Allison.

Stefanie Loh has a notebook from the game, Howie Stalwick was at the game and wrote a story and CougCenter's Jeff Nusser wrote a recap. Kyle Bonagura wrote about the game for ESPN and Deadspin.com has a post about Luke Falk's injury. Here is the AP story. Here is a recap from the Colorado perspective.

Stanford locked up the Pac-12 North with its Big Game victory over California. … Washington trounced Oregon State in Corvallis. … UCLA shut down the Utes in Salt Lake City. … Arizona State emphatically won the Territorial Cup. … Vernon Adams and the Ducks demolished USC.