HOT COUGAR ACTION: Welcome To Gameday

After a nine month wait which felt more like nine years, the 2012 season is finally here. That's the good news, the bad news is you still have to wait 13 more hours.

Fortunately, there are enough links today to keep you reading for that entire 13 hour stretch. With over 30 links, yes 30 links, it would be impossible to highlight them all so instead I'll just focus on the USA Today story on Mike Leach.

The story covers Leach's history and path to WSU well, if somehow you weren't aware already, but there are also a few other interesting notes. Personally, I'm looking forward to getting invited over to coach's house for movie night.

On the bottom level of his new five-bedroom house, Mike Leach has been adding some finishing touches to his home movie theater.

Two statues of pirates stand on the floor. A few feet away, two framed photos of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne lean on the ground. In front, a movie screen covers an entire wall, blankly waiting for an audience.

While there are a few fun quotes, there is also some noteworthy information tucked away.

"I've been around a long, long time, and I have never seen the energy that we're seeing now in our fan base," says Bill Moos, Washington State's athletic director and former co-captain of the team in 1972.


Since Leach's hiring, more than 3,200 new season tickets have been sold, up to about 13,400. All 21 stadium suites sold within 10 days of Leach's hiring, Moos says, at a price of $30,000 to $50,000 per season. Donations to WSU athletics are up more than $3 million from last year, with the number of donors increasing from 4,123 to 6,000-plus.


Players are feeling it, too.


"It's such a change in the level of confidence around here," quarterback Jeff Tuel says.

There are nearly 1,500 words below the jump, so enjoy that. We'll be back with plenty more throughout the day leading up to kickoff at 7:15 p.m. PT.

Football

Matchup: Washington State at Brigham Young | Cougar Football | The Seattle Times
The setup: After a two-year hiatus from coaching, WSU's Mike Leach returns to the sideline with a pass-heavy offense against a BYU team expected to be one of the best in coach Bronco Mendenhall's eight seasons.

BYU football: Gameday glance vs. Washington State | Deseret News
For Washington State ... the Cougars are kicking off the Mike Leach era, and they would like nothing more than to win their first game on national television — at Leach's alma mater.

Washington State vs BYU Betting Preview: Cougars Will Win - SBNation.com
Seldom can you approach the sportsbook window in Vegas and say with 100% certainty: the Cougars will win this game.

College Football's Top 15 Breakout Players for 2012 | AthlonSports.com
Gabe Marks, WR, Washington State

Leach ready for alma mater BYU in 1st game back - seattlepi.com

Before he has even coached a game, Mike Leach has already rejuvenated Washington State's football program and produced some restless nights for opponents.

Washington State vs. BYU: Matchup breakdown and predictions : BYU Sports News from Cougarblue

Wilson will score at least once for Washington State and the BYU offense will go through a couple of dry stretches, but the BYU defense will be too much for the visitors in their first game running the "Air Raid" offense. Some WSU turnovers will provide a couple of easy drives for BYU. BYU 26, Washington State 14

Washington State's Mike Leach era starts with a tough game at BYU | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times

A Washington State fan on a message board asked a thought-provoking question awhile back:

Pac-12 preview: Leach, WSU in the spotlight | HeraldNet.com - Sports

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, having spent two years away from the game while frequenting the beaches and laid-back bars of Key West, Fla., is on the other end of the country, and the proverbial world, now that he's leading the Washington State University football team in Pullman.

Bronco not irked by interruption, understands fan's angst | BYU Sports | The Salt Lake Tribune

For about a half-hour last Saturday, Washington State coach Mike Leach entertained reporters on a teleconference with tales of his days as a student at BYU, how he met his wife there, and more.

Washington State coach Mike Leach has only begun to entertain | Jerry Brewer | The Seattle Times

It's impossible to ignore the awkward charisma of Mike Leach. He captivates in the strangest manner. He's perhaps the most compelling football coach in our pigskin-obsessed country, and he doesn't even talk about football that much.

BYU football: Cougars host their own late night show vs. Washington State | Deseret News

This is the type of scenario BYU officials had in mind two years ago when the school announced it was signing an exclusive deal with ESPN and the football program was going independent.

Meet your quarterback: Washington State - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN

There were six quarterback competitions in the Pac-12 this year. Some came about by the departure of some outstanding quarterbacks. Others just needed new life infused into the offense.

Preview: Washington State Cougars at BYU Cougars - CBSSports.com

Watchability: Find a TV and get in front of it. Mike Leach is back on the sideline for the first time since 2009. Now Craig James probably won't be watching, but if you're a college football fan and its not past your bedtime, you'll probably want to tune in.

Across the Cougar sideline: Scouting the Washington State Cougars | ksl.com

Thursday night marks the beginning of BYU’s 2012 football season. The expectations are high for the BYU Cougars as they enter their second year of independence and prepare to face the Washington State Cougars.

BYU Cougars vs. Washington State Cougars: The matchups | Deseret News

It’s Cougars taking on Cougars Thursday night, with BYU welcoming Washington State to LaVell Edwards stadium to kick off the season. Offensive guru Mike Leach has taken the reigns of the WSU program while Bronco Mendenhall enters his eighth year at BYU.

Leach gets first chance to see what Cougs can do - Spokesman.com - Aug. 30, 2012

PROVO, Utah – If you’re wondering what to expect out of the Washington State football team when it opens its season against Brigham Young this evening, you’re not alone. Mike Leach is right there with you.

Mike Leach a good fit at WSU with "just do your best" mantra - Spokesman.com - Aug. 30, 2012

PULLMAN – The conference table is covered with lunch fixings – meat, side dishes, dinner rolls. Help yourself, Mike Leach says, sipping his coffee, depth charts and notes and printouts scattered before him.

WSU football live chat, 1 p.m. - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Aug. 29, 2012

OK, we're here and ready to answer your questions. Fire away, and such.

Washington State Coach Mike Leach makes his debut Thursday – USATODAY.com

On the bottom level of his new five-bedroom house, Mike Leach has been adding some finishing touches to his home movie theater.

5 questions: WSU at BYU - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Aug. 29, 2012

To get a better idea of what Washington State will be facing tomorrow in Provo, we're joined today by Brandon Gurney, who covers BYU athletics for the Deseret News. He was nice enough to answer five questions for us about the game. You can read them below.

Random answers to random questions with Mike Leach – USATODAY.com

Mike Leach has read the Bible several times. So he knows a few things about truth, justice and instability in the Middle East.

Cougars freshman Marks teams with WSU's All-American Wilson | Sports - KXLY.com

Freshman Gabe Marks calls himself... "Consistent", Marks said. "Consistency always wins so that's what I try to do." All-American Marquess Wilson, simply calls Marks... "Amazing."

BYU football: Washington State’s tall, fast receivers will test BYU’s secondary | The Salt Lake Tribune

The only defender among BYU’s projected starting 11 against Washington State on Thursday night who has not started or played significantly in a college football game is Jordan Johnson, the redshirt sophomore from Springfield, Mass., who BYU basketball legend Danny Ainge helped steer to BYU.

Washington State prepares to open the Mike Leach era on Thursday at BYU - The Washington Post

New Washington State football coach Mike Leach declined to reveal Tuesday whether veteran Jeff Tuel or sophomore Connor Halliday will start in Thursday night’s season opener at BYU.

Chat: Chat with Kevin Gemmell - SportsNation - ESPN
We're one day away from kickoff. Get your game faces on...

Matchup: Washington State at Brigham Young | Cougar Football | The Seattle Times
The setup: After a two-year hiatus from coaching, WSU's Mike Leach returns to the sideline with a pass-heavy offense against a BYU team expected to be one of the best in coach Bronco Mendenhall's eight seasons.

Basketball

Cougars to Appear on Television at Least 31 Times - The Washington State University Official Athletic Site

At least 30 of Washington State University men's basketball's 31, 2012-13 regular-season games will be televised, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced Wednesday, along with the Pac-12 men's basketball television schedule.

Pac-12 releases men's basketball TV schedule - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Aug. 29, 2012

For the first time, you won't have to worry about hunting down grainy live-feeds of Washington State basketball games that aren't broadcast on television. The Cougars will have at least 12 non-conference games and all 18 conference games televised this season, mostly on the Pac-12 Networks.

WSU Athletics

Meet the Director of Athletics candidates :: John Johnson - GoGriz.com - The Official Athletic site of The University of Montana Grizzlies

The four finalists for the Director of Athletics position at Montana will be on campus this week, and GoGriz.com will be providing an inside look at each candidate the same day he is on campus. Today we feature John Johnson, now a senior associate director of athletics at Washington State under former Montana AD Bill Moos.

Cougar Soccer Tries to Stay Undefeated in a Pair of Road Matches - The Washington State University Official Athletic Site

THIS WEEK The Washington State (2-0-0) soccer team faces a pair of foes when it takes to road for the first time in the 2012 season...competing in the USC Futbol Classic, the Cougars will come face-to-face with San Diego and Duke in Los Angeles...at McAlister Field, Washington State will take on the Toreros, Friday, Aug. 31 at 1 p.m., followed by the Blue Devils, Sunday, Sept. 2 at 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Tim Riley Named Cross Country Coach - The Washington State University Official Athletic Site

Dr. Tim Riley was hired by Washington State University to coach the men's and women's cross country teams Aug. 28, 2012, after serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Cougars' program for the past three years.

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