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THE MORNING PAPER: Unless you're a student, plan on traveling to watch the Cougs

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So this is the price of being one of the worst teams in NCAA football history.

The Pac-10 released its television schedule yesterday, and the Cougars are on it ... once. One time. Uno.

Now, games will be added down the road; we'll get to that in a second. But as of right now, the only game you're guaranteed to see on TV is the Halloween matchup with Notre Dame in San Antonio on NBC.

Here's the way it looks to me:

  • Every team in the conference is guaranteed a minimum number of television appearances through its contracts with FSN and ABC. I'm not able to find the exact number, but I believe it is three. The first game that will be picked up -- guaranteed -- is the Sept. 26 game against USC. That means you'll see two other games, but you won't know which ones until a week or two before the game.
  • The flex games don't start until Sept. 26, so it's guaranteed you won't see the first three games of the year unless you're in attendance.
  • The Apple Cup looks curious to me right now. There's only one flex game on Nov. 28 -- a 12:30 p.m. slot on ABC. Notre Dame/Stanford and UCLA/USC are already on the dockett, leaving ABC to choose between the Apple Cup and Arizona/ASU. My guess is if ABC desides on Arizona/ASU, the Apple Cup would be made available on a regional broadcast on FSN, something they've done in the past.

The lessons?

  1. The Pac-10's TV contract still sucks. It's insane to think that in 2009 a major conference can't figure out how to get all of its games on TV.
  2. If you really want to see the Cougs play a particular opponent, I suggest buying a ticket and driving.
  3. Start winning more games and we wont have to worry about this.

Moving on ...

Art Thiel has a great column on Ryan Leaf, taking umbrage with those that would try to paint WSU with a large brush because of Leaf, saying that would be akin to doing the same thing with UW because of Jerramy Stevens. (I guess he forgot to mention Jeremiah Pharms and Curtis Williams, too, but I digress.) Unfortunately, he correctly notes that Leaf pretty much used up all of his good will.

We all need slack sometime. And Leaf at least has a plausible need for slack -- the drugs in question were painkillers. Anyone who suffers from chronic, long-term pain that can be relieved at least temporarily by oxycodone and other prescription narcotics will testify that that the ordeal can make for some crazy behavior.

But Leaf has irritated, aggravated and disappointed so many for such a long time that almost no one wants to hear anything from him that sounds like an excuse. His personal capital is as low as his TD/interception ratio in the NFL.

Elsewhere:

  • The WSU Football Blog continues with its awesome Spring Fishwrap previews, taking a look at Oregon State.
  • One national blogger agrees with me on my assessment of Cal as the Pac-10 basketball favorite, but says it's a little premature to crown them yet.