Tomorrow marks the opening of football season when training camp kicks off in the Palouse. I thought the offseason would be full of boredom and a lack of writing material this year, as it is almost every year. I couldn't have been more wrong. Here's what I learned.
- Expansion to 12 seemed like a done deal heading into the offseason, with the Pac-10 expected to quietly add Utah and Colorado. Then, Larry Scott dangled a carrot in front of everyone and threw a wrench in the process. Boy were we spoiled for about a week.
- The Pac-16 would've been great. All the members would've been rolling in dough and WSU would have taken a giant leap up in the revenue department. The Pac-12 is still pretty swell, though. Utah and Colorado fit the mold of the conference while expanding the footprint.
- Texas is the devil. Ok, maybe not the devil but the Longhorns sure know how to maneuver for money. Dance, Big 12, dance.
- I'm convinced that Texas will indeed secede from the union someday soon and form their own college athletics governing body. The TCAA (Texas Collegiate Athletic Association) sounds about right. UT will preside over the peons, and Texas A&M, Baylor, TCU, Houston and Texas Tech will bow to their wishes.
- If we extrapolate the limited impression we have of Larry Scott, he's going to cure cancer, solve world hunger, facilitate peace in the world, and bring eleventy billion dollars to each Pac-12 school.
- The jump from 10 teams to 12 is way more complicated than any of us envisioned. Divisions, scheduling, and revenue sharing are all dictated by the egos and interests of the schools involved. The behind the scenes work in conferences everywhere is ugly.
- Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is still a moron.
- Only one conference with numbers in their name can count. To recap, the Big 12 will have 10 members, the Big Ten will have 12, and the Pac-10 will also have 12. The Pac-12 will be the only conference that won't be engaging in false advertising.
- As a refresher, when reading news from a "reporter", be a good news consumer (as Nuss likes to say). Who would the reporters sources be? Why would they leak the information they did? What does their respective institution have to gain? The Texas saga should have made this all clear to everyone.
- Chip Brown -- a reporter for OrangeBloods.com -- made a name for himself off his sources within the Texas athletic department. Then, when everyone realized what was going on and that he was a one trick pony, he faded back into oblivion. Used and abused by the Longhorns, Chip.
- OrangeCrips > OrangeBloods. Big ups to Grady.
- The Big 12 is held together by hope, dreams, and fear. Seems stable to me.
- At WSU, no news is good news. In the offseason, if there's noteworthy items coming from the football team, it likely means a serious injury, an academic problem, or an arrest. In terms of WSU specific news, this offseason was rather slow (good thing!).
- We did lose two players to the CFL, another to a potential boxing career, another to track (last year) and a few more to injuries and academics. I can't think of another school where early entry to the CFL has been so prevalent. On the plus side, we can say we send players to the pros.
- The football team is going to be better. They just have to improve. The bar is literally so low, that anything is an improvement right now.
- Paul Wulff got cropped out of the ESPN media day picture in Times Square. ESPN is still a terrible "news" organization.
- Bill Moos and Larry Scott could form the ultimate "thinking outside the box" superhero. Then again, I don't think that's really a superhero.
- Backup point guards do grow on trees. Athletic big men do not.
- Remember when most of us (including myself) worried about the lack of balance between classes on the basketball team? Woopsie.
- Bacon is awesome.
- Arkansas looks like a great vacation spot, especially if the dugout dancers bring me drinks all day.
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- Chip Kelly lost control of the Oregon football program.
- For the first year in a while, WSU is not in the running for the Fulmer Cup down the stretch. On the other hand, a Citadel player ROBBED HIS OWN COACH AT GUNPOINT, an FSU player went on an epic Fulmer Cup streak, and Tennessee got their brawl on. The Fulmer Cup is easily the best part of any offseason.
- Eastern Washington decided to one up Boise State in the turf department. I hope this is the end of colored turf because OH MY GOODNESS IT BURNS.
- Speaking of BSU, Idaho and Boise State got into a little potato war, with some verbal mortar shells launched from the BSU president towards Moscow, ID. Your WAC rivalry is cute, but call me when your team loses to a controversial call and the fans pelt the opposing players and opposing athletic director with glass bottles. That's how we do in the Palouse!
- BSU fans moved to the top of my "worst fans in the land" list.
- I started a drinking game for Paul Wulff's press conferences. Any time he uses the word "improved" or says "surprise some people", I take a drink. I need to stop watching Paul Wulff speak for my livers' sake.
- The NCAA punished USC for something Reggie Bush did. Now, they're on a rampage that feels more like a PR blitz than actual solution. What happens when the organization that provides oversight is incompetent?
- The Reggie Bush investigation also exposed flaws in the system. The administrators, coaching staff, and player that took benefits are all gone, yet the punishment hurts the current players that likely weren't around when it all was happening. Bush himself is making millions in the pros. Retroactively taking away awards doesn't seem like enough to stop the underlying problems.
We saw record numbers in readership this offseason, a time that's typically quiet for college sports websites. The best thing I learned is that Coug Center has some awesome readers that provide thoughtful insight and commentary to create a great environment. For that, I thank all of you.