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A Sunday chock full of WSU Football news

Spring practice, recruiting commitments, scheduling ideas. This week had it all.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Good morning, Cougar fans. It was quite the little Saturday for the Cougs, as they picked up two verbal commitments and continued spring practice. There was also a baseball game, but we'll stick to football for this post because, well, you'll figure it out. There was also discussion this week about the future of Pac-12 scheduling, and we'll give our two cents on Jon Wilner's idea as well.

First, recruiting. Aaron Polevoi detailed a lengthy list of high school prospects who are visiting Pullman this weekend. This was almost certainly the most impressive collection of players WSU has had in town on Junior Day. Wouldn't you know it, WSU got a couple commitments, one from a quarterback and one from an offensive tackle.

While my excitement over such things is tempered by some scar tissue (See: Book, Ian, among others) quarterbacks tend to stick to their commitments more than any other position. Hopefully Neville goes about recruiting other players he sees throughout the camp circuit, etc. Getting a highly-sought QB early in the cycle will hopefully have a snowball effect with other guys WSU is recruiting.

Looking ahead to action on the field, Jon Wilner posited a new scheduling idea that could get more eyeballs on Pac-12 football. As we've become aware, the conference hasn't exactly garnered the best time slots for football viewing, with many of the best games ending after midnight on the east coast. Enter Wilner:

So the Hotline, the home of the Zipper Plan — remember that one during realignment? (splitting the Pac-12 divisions by natural rivals) — has come up with a radical solution.

In three words:

Labor Day Sunday.

That’s right: The first Sunday of the football season is an untapped exposure bonanza.

There are no NFL games; the regular season hasn’t started and the exhibitions conclude the previous Thursday.

And there have been a sprinkle of college games on Labor Day Sunday over the years, but nothing regular and nothing substantive (Louisville vs. Ohio, for example).

The Hotline is proposing something immensely substantive for the Pac-12: An annual Labor Day Sunday doubleheader of conference games.

Yes, conference games — two of them — on the first Sunday of the season.

On the surface, I love this plan. As he notes, that day is largely bereft of quality football. How cool would it be to have two conference matchups to watch? One of the greatest seasons in WSU history began with two conference games, when WSU beat UCLA and USC to open the 1997 season. Those wins became a springboard toward a Pac-12 title.

Some will argue that a conference loss out of the gate could serve to put a team in a hole relative to its peers, who are probably playing an FCS team. While that may be possible, the opportunity to notch a conference win before Labor Day outweighs the possibility of starting the season 0-1 in conference. Plus, it gets a nation of eyeballs on the Pac-12. It is no secret that the conference could use all the exposure it can possibly muster.

The Cougs also held another practice session Saturday, allowing all those prospects to get a first-hand look at how the team operates. Jacob Thorpe was there and provided all the details. Among other nuggets, Thorpe notes that Robert Barber has been one of the spring standouts so far. That is a big deal, considering the void left by Destiny Vaeao. This is Barber's final chance to win that Heisman that was all but guaranteed when he signed on. I like his chances.


New Washington State coach JaMarcus Shephard brings passion to game | The Spokesman-Review
Many football coaches coach with passion. Shephard coaches with urgency. In the brief seconds between plays he will run onto the field to talk a little smack to a defensive back, chide or congratulate one of his receivers and demand the player get back into position for the next play.

Freshman Jalen Thompson looking strong at safety for WSU Cougars | The Seattle Times
The Cougars might have another defensive wunderkind in the making this spring in Downey (Calif.) High freshman Jalen Thompson, an early enrollee who has quickly earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.

A look at Pac-12 pranksters and jokesters
There's no particular incident to speak of, but three Cougar players all said that Wicks would be their first choice when it came to identifying a prankster or funny man on Washington State's roster.


WSU lost to Arizona State by two touchdowns
The Cougars face Gonzaga in Spokane Tuesday at 6 p.m. on SWX.


Best beer(s) I had this week: Lots to choose from. I tried a Snake Handler IPA that was quite good. It's from a brewery in the South because of course. However, I also had a couple outstanding beers never disappoint. Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado Double IPA and Lagunitas Brown Shugga are two of the best beers around, I encourage all of you (over 21 of course) to try them if you haven't yet.

The Second Wave Sell-Off: Private Equity In The Craft Beer Market Spells Upheaval Within A Decade - Forbes
Despite speculation over eventual liquidations, most craft beer fans don’t know what it really means to sell to a private equity firm.


The Mystery of Why People Go Missing in Alaska - The Atlantic
Two families, two bodies, and a wilderness of secrets