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Sports Illustrated previews Pac-12 Football

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The folks at the famed magazine/website don't think too highly of WSU this year.

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Good morning, Coug fans. We are now just 13 days away from the 2015 lid lifter for Cougar Football. As excited as I'm sure we all are, I really hope the fires and their associated smoke have been eliminated from the area. Here's to all the brave men and women who are working around the clock to put those fires out and save the homes and livelihoods of strangers.

Back in the football realm, Sports Illustrated's online arm previewed the Pac-12 Friday, and let's just say they aren't exactly bullish on the Cougars. They do forecast a great start to the season, with a 3-0 run through non-conference play. However, it's pretty much downhill after that, with Leach's team stumbling to a 1-8 Pac-12 record and a 4-8 finish.

It isn't a stretch, as one of our authors pointed out in the season preview, to think that this team could finish anywhere from 2-10 to 7-5 or even 8-4. More than one author in that same CougCenter preview predicted the same 4-8 finish. The SI preview is a contrast to what the Pac-12 Networks crew forecasts for 2015, as both Yogi Roth and Nigel Burton predicted a bowl game for WSU when their camp tour stopped in Pullman. To be fair, I get the feeling that Roth and Burton are high on every team they visit, which is every team in the conference.

If that wasn't enough, SI also pegs Mike Leach as the coach on the conference's hottest seat:

He’s not going anywhere just yet (he’s signed through 2019), but Leach’s shtick is wearing thin in a town hungry for football success. It’s nice that his offense led the nation in passing yards in ’14 (477.7 yards per game), but that’s easily forgotten if you’re home during bowl season. Leach is funny and interesting and will answer just about any question posed to him—including inquiries on dating and war generals—but he has yet to bring success to the Palouse. His success at Texas Tech seemed to indicate he could win anywhere. Well, it’s time he proved it. The Pac-12 isn’t getting any easier.

While I agree that we need to see more positive results soon, I don't think we've arrived at "hot seat" discussion time yet. Also, this is summer, the time for hope and optimism, so we'll try and table this discussion and hope it's never an issue. There is no question that the entire conference, save for maybe one or two exceptions, is improving right along with WSU. That has made this rebuild all the more difficult. But again, this is August, and this hot seat talk is gonna be the furthest thing from our minds when the Cougs are playing in a bowl game.

/crosses fingers

Go Cougs.

Football

Our man Aaron Polevoi was at Martin Stadium to witness the scrimmage Saturday, and provided a great recap. Jacob Thorpe also provided his usual excellent work, so I won't attempt to rehash what happened. However, one thing stuck out while watching the practice video from the WSU website. Nearly every time a ball carrier was being tackled, at least one defender was trying to rip the ball out. That isn't something I recall seeing in the past. That tactic alone could result in quite a few turnovers in 2015, which we all know is vital to team success, and would be a drastic improvement on what we saw last season.

Cougars Trade Big Plays in Second Scrimmage - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The offense scored five touchdowns and the defense tallied eight sacks Saturday.

WSU football: Nailing down technique emphasis for defensive backs - Spokesman.com - Aug. 22, 2015
This is the first of eight position previews looking at WSU’s position-by-position prospects for the upcoming season. Today: Defensive backs.

WSU practice notes: Cougars scrimmage again | The Spokesman-Review
Prior to Saturday's scrimmage, the Cougars spent about 50 minutes bouncing around, warming up and doing some drill work. None of it was particularly interesting from a spectator-perspective, although it does appear that Zach Charme is rounding into form at punter.

Campus Scoop with Mike Yam at Washington State | Pac-12
One of the main things that stood out about Washington State this year was the athleticism of a lot of their wide receivers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have so many playmakers, but one of their newcomers - Kyrin Priester - just stands out when you take a look at him up close.

Gerard Wicks' LAPD mom insisted on WSU - Washington State - Scout
Signing day for football letters of intent was just four days away in 2013 when Gerard Wicks, a highly coveted running back who had committed to Washington State, received a scholarship offer from a UCLA assistant coach. "He called me on my birthday of February 2nd," Wicks recalled. "He said he had a present for me."

Volleyball

Greenys Receive Walk of Fame Plaque - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Cougar volleyball coaches Jen and Burdette Greeny were presented their Walk of Fame plaque at a ceremony in downtown Pullman Saturday morning as part of the 27th Annual Lentil Festival.

Steve Gleason

Steve Gleason, Pete Frates issue ALS challenge to Saints, Patriots fans
Former athletes and renowned ALS advocates Steve Gleason and Pete Frates are teaming up this weekend to turn their friendly New Orleans Saints-New England Patriots rivalry into a good cause.

Beer

New craft beers: Pop-Tarts and Count Chocula flavors - Fortune
Two of the things I love most in this world are cereal and beer. A combination of the two is as close to Nirvana as I'll probably get.

Non-Sports

Jerry Heller Expresses Himself "
The legendarily controversial N.W.A manager talks about never being consulted on ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ why he still defies the accusations of financial malfeasance, and what he really thinks about Ice Cube.