HOT COUGAR ACTION: UCLA Pregame Links

With the game more than 12 hours away, consider these pre-pregame links. Whenever the Cougars play a night game, I always get excited at first. It's rare and usually means the game will be on a TV channel I've heard of before. Then the Saturday arrives and I immediately regret ever being excited for a night game. I don't want to wait 12 more hours, I want them to play now! In order to help you pass the time, we have an extra large assortment of links after the jump.

Rick Neuheisel focuses on present against Washington State - latimes.com
A year ago when these schools played football, UCLA and Washington State were trying to stay out of the conference cellar. On Saturday, the winner will be on a path toward respectability. UCLA needs a win to improve its chances of qualifying for a bowl game. Washington State hasn't won four games in a season since 2007. Staff writer Chris Foster examines the game's issues and matchups:

Football for masochists: Washington State takes on UCLA - Moscow-Pullman Daily News: Sports: coaches on the hot seat, washington state football, paul wulff, rick neuheisel, ucla football
At the beginning of the year, tonight's contest was circled for must-see viewing only by college football masochists, as the game was likely to determine which of the two coaches on the hottest seats in America - UCLA's Rick Neuheisel or Washington State's Paul Wulff - would be let go.

Pregame Guesses: Washington State Edition - Bruins Nation
The last time I wrote a Pregame Guesses: Washington State Edition was November 2009.  We were 4-5 at the time with games left against the Cougars, Arizona State and USC. I wrote how "Neusheisel was in a good mood" during a radio interview, confident that we were going to win two of our last three and go to a bowl game.  We did, we beat WSU and ASU, lost to SC and then won the Eagle Bank Bowl. For the record, we may soon look back on this stretch of games as the high water mark of the Rick Neuheisel era.

No pushovers: UCLA Bruins realize they don’t have Washington State to kick around any more - The Washington Post
PASADENA, Calif. — Although UCLA has struggled for a large portion of the past three seasons, the Bruins could always take comfort in knowing they weren’t Washington State. The Cougars undeniably were the worst team in the conference for the past three years, getting pushed around almost every Saturday while winning exactly five games.

WSU's Marshall Lobbestael becomes a big name
The depth chart placed him a notch or two behind his teammates, and he moved up only when there were injuries. But this season, when Washington State's Marshall Lobbestael was given first-string status after starting quarterback Jeff Tuel broke his collarbone, the fifth-year senior was ready to shine. And he has.

Lobbestael Leads Cougars Into Pasadena With Last Year in Mind - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA
When the Cougars hit the field Saturday at UCLA, they will do so behind the leadership of an honored quarterback. Marshall Lobbestael, who has stepped in wonderfully for injured starter Jeff Tuel, received the Manning Award Player of the Week this week.

Hoffman-Ellis plays a leading role for Washington State " Ventura County Star
Alex Hoffman-Ellis wanted the responsibility from the start. The Washington State linebacker didn't need to be asked. He didn't need to be elected. He didn't need to reach a certain status.

Former WSU baseball coach Brayton released from hospital " Kitsap Sun
Bobo Brayton, the "father" of Washington State baseball in the hearts and minds of many Cougars fans and players, returned home Thursday after spending nearly two months at Pullman Regional Hospital.Brayton, 85, suffered various injuries — including a 9-inch gash on his head — when his ATV collided with a tree on his beloved ranch outside Pullman on Aug. 9.

Cougar Baseball Alumni in Arizona Fall League - The Washington State University Official Athletic Site
PHOENIX - Former Washington State University baseball players Travis Webb and Paul Gran are participating in the 2011 Arizona Fall League. The league is traditionally a haven for Major League talent with each of the six teams assigned players from five-different MLB organizations. In the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, 41 players were alumni of the Arizona Fall League.

Cougars | WSU at UCLA matchup box | Seattle Times Newspaper
The setup: The Cougars, already with their most victories since 2007, try to capitalize on the momentum gained in a comeback victory at Colorado. UCLA tries to reverse course after a disappointing start.

Pac-12 "Predictions" - WSU Blog articles - MyNorthwest.com
WSU @ UCLA - 7:30pm This one will simply come down to WSU's ability to stop the run. Do it, or at least slow it down, and they've got the offense to win. Don't do it and watch the UCLA running backs continually grind out yards and long drives and trouble ensues. The Cougar D-line isn't terribly deep and that depth will be tested. In their win against OSU, UCLA ran the ball 49 times and threw it only 12. That'll wear you down. On offense, the Cougs need to continue where they left off in Boulder by testing the UCLA secondary. UCLA is out two key DBs and Lobbestael (or Tuel, who I'm not ruling out) needs to take advantage. The Bruin D-line was supposed to be a strength this season but hasn't shown much, so the Cougs should have time to throw the ball. I'm worried about that UCLA run game, but there's no way I'd pick The Ricker to win. Cougs 27, UCLA 25 Go Cougs!

Last Man Standing?...
Hello Cougar Nation and my (no-longer beleaguered) Brinkhater Army! Don’t know about you all, but I am ready for some fricking college football, Cougar Style! As reported here last week, I have managed to fight my way out of the Kennel and therefore back onto the pages of the blog that I helped to build.

Howard has WSU D-Line playing with confidence - WSU Football Report - Oct. 7, 2011
PASADENA – Saturday night’s game is not really a homecoming for Washington State coach Todd Howard, but when you spend five seasons working in a building, it has some of those earmarks. For those five years, Howard sent the UCLA defensive line out to do its work on the Rose Bowl turf, first for head coach Karl Dorrell and then for Rick Neuheisel.

WSU en route to Los Angeles - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Oct. 7, 2011
We're moving, which as George Clooney once said in a movie, is living. But it's also nice to take the time to read as many stories as possible about Washington State and college football. We've done that, now you can as well. Read on.

College Football Week 6 Preview: Match-ups and Upset Picks | AthlonSports.com
9. When the Pac-12 schedules were released, the Washington State-UCLA game was circled as a meeting between two coaches on the hot seat. Through five weeks, it’s fair to wonder whether its now a matchup of two programs headed in the opposite direction. The Cougars are off to a solid 3-1 start, while UCLA is 2-3 with wins over Oregon State and San Jose State. Washington State coach Paul Wulff has only eight wins during his tenure, but has a chance to get bowl eligible this year. Although the Bruins have a lot of young talent, they have yet to put it together under Neuheisel. Neither coach should feel secure about its chances to return in 2012, but a win on Saturday would certainly help move closer to bowl eligibility.

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