From Spokane, where the beer is flowing like wine and the absence of humidity is manna from heaven. We've officially entered the dead period on the college sports landscape. This is the part of the year when no news is good news. Outside of possible recruiting commitments, the only headlines generated are likely negative, such as player arrests or suspensions. Lord knows we don't want any of that around here. Luckily, our friends at SB Nation College Football headquarters are here to help us out.
A couple weeks ago, Scott Creswell wrote about the golden age of WSU Athletics. The opinions were varied, obviously, given the fact that WSU hasn't exactly had a sustained run of success in the major sports. Today we have a couple different sets of rankings, the first of which puts the Cougs atop the conference, but not in a good way. Ryan Nanni of EDSBS ranked the saddest times and places to be a college football fan, and wouldn't you know it, the Cougs ran away with the conference title. We went so far as to earn the national "title" for three straight seasons. The only thing I can say is, at least we didn't go to Duke in the 2000s, I guess.
The mother ship also conducted a decidedly non-scientific experiment, in an attempt to discern which schools had the largest amount of non-alums as fans. Granted, this methodology is just a weeee bit flawed, but it seems to bolster our perception of the fans who root for our neighbors to the west. WSU showed out pretty well among the Power Five schools, as 26% of fans on Facebook identify themselves as alumni. That's good for a 16th-place tie overall and a 4th-place tie in the conference.
A result that should surprise absolutely nobody is Oregon's 7%, good for last in the conference and 63rd overall. Equally unsurprising is Washington, which finished 39th overall and 10th in the Pac-12. Again, this likely isn't very precise, but it's funny that perceptions of certain fan bases appear at least somewhat accurate.
Finally, in what was clearly the most important of the three articles, Jason Kirk did God's work, as he ranked each school by its distance from the nearest Chipotle. Not only is this critical information for perspective college football players, this could well play into the decision-making process of nearly every burrito-loving future student throughout America. Since there isn't a Chipotle in the Pullman-Moscow metropolis, WSU didn't fare well in the rankings, placing 124th among FBS schools at a whopping 77 miles. On the bright side, you can throw this on the pile of reasons why Washington is better than Mississippi. Also, suck it, Hawaii.
Pac-12 basketball: Updated projections for the 2015-16 league race (Arizona: move aside) – College Hotline
The Cougars exceeded expectations in their first season under Ernie Kent, but look for the momentum to fade. While Josh Hawkinson is a solid starting point, the supporting cast simply isn’t in place for another seven-win season. WSU will be a factor in the conference under Kent, just not in ’16.
Pac-12 basketball: All-conference projections for 2015-16 – College Hotline
There weren’t many additions in the late-spring window, but at least two could be classified as significant: One in Eugene, one in Berkeley.
Luzina Named to Pac-12 All-Academic First Team - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Luzina, from Moscow, Russia, recently completed her Cougar career third on WSU’s all-time singles victories list with 105. Playing mainly at the No. 1 singles position, Luzina posted a 26-22 singles record and reached a high of No. 66 in the collegiate rankings this season.
Non-Conference Opponent Previews
SB Nation's Bill Connelly somehow publishes extensive previews of all 128 FBS teams every season. Here are WSU's two opponents, Rutgers and Wyoming.
What should Rutgers football's standard be in the Big Ten? - SBNation.com
For Rutgers, expectations have changed, but it's hard to figure out where the bar is at this point. The Scarlet Knights have been to nine bowls in 10 seasons and have won nine or more games four times, and their success (and strategic location) earned them a spot in a bigger conference.
The big 2015 Wyoming football guide: Patience is a virtue - SBNation.com
Bohl knew what he was getting into, and while the offense should keep the Cowboys in some games, Bohl is still a couple of years away from getting this defense to where it needs to be.
Don’t believe Coors and Budweiser, colder isn’t better.
I’d ordered the beer at a well-meaning restaurant with a respectable beer selection, but the beer was stored too cold and worse, poured into a frosty mug. Sipping it was pointless, disrespectful even. A new, room-temperature glass and stoic patience on my part slowly defeated the chill and renewed the beer.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: My Father’s Kidnapping - NYTimes.com
MY father was kidnapped in Nigeria on a Saturday morning in early May. My brother called to tell me, and suddenly there was not enough breathable air in the world.