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HOT COUGAR ACTION: More Random Thoughts

Since it worked well yesterday, let's do it again today. Truth be told, I can write one of these out in a few minutes. Gathering links and creating a post around them takes more time than I, or any of us, have right now. Instead, I'll give you a few news tidbits and thoughts, both about WSU and the Pac-10.

Three days until Cougar basketball (or 11, depending on what you consider Cougar basketball).

LCSC, the traditional exhibition game for the Cougs, comes to town this Friday. The game is at 6 p.m. in Pullman and is, I believe, the first chance to see the Cougs play against another team. If that doesn't do it for you, WSU opens the regular season Nov. 13 against Southern in Pullman. Should be a tough early test.

The Cougars are getting healthy, with one major exception.

Jared Karstetter rolled his ankle in practice yesterday and was on the side icing and elevating it. It's impossible to know how bad it is, but let's all hope he can recover and play this weekend.

Outside of Karstetter's new injury, the rest of the walking wounded should be ready for this weekend's game. Sekope Kaufusi is still in question with a banged up shoulder, but Chima Nwachukwu, Mike Ledgerwood, Anthony Capenter and the rest of the injured should make a return. We need it.

Kevin Riley is done for the season.

We figured it would happen, but the official word finally came down. Riley's season is over and, since it's not likely he's going to play at the next level, his career is also done. Tough break for a kid who is, by all accounts, a great guy. International sensation Brock Mansion will take the reigns. I know nothing about Brock Mansion except that he has a sweet name.

Jake Locker is preparing to return for Washington's game against UCLA.

Who knows if he'll be able to handle the pain by then, but a well-scheduled bye week gives Locker three weeks to rest and heal. It's a smart move by Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian. Yes, Locker's ribs are broken, but this is essentially punting the Oregon game to get his quarterback healthy for the stretch run. I don't doubt that Locker is injured badly enough to be unable to play, but the kid has toughed it out plenty of times before. Saving him, resting him and hoping he'll survive the last three games is a good call.

It's just a game.

Nick Bell, a 20-year old defensive end that played for Mississippi State, passed away today. He had been battling skin cancer that spread to his brain, suddenly causing his condition to deteriorate. Bell had played for the Bulldogs this year, even starting two games, before he was diagnosed with the aggressive form of cancer. Just an incredibly sad, horrible story.

Football is just a game. No matter how crappy we may feel as fans after living and dying with our team, it's just a game. There's bigger things in life and the events of the past week -- Declan Sullivan's death and now Bell's -- illustrate that.

I'll be back with more later. I'm putting together some thoughts on "coming out flat" and am working on a feature-type piece on a football standout.