Good morning. As mid-July approaches, we now sit just 53 days from the start of college football season, and 55 days from Cougar Football. Giggity! Pac-12 Media Days will take place this week some place around Los Angeles, at which Larry Scott will greet the media and put out a bunch of spin on the fact that his conference is rapidly losing revenue ground to the Big Ten and SEC. He will then tell everyone that all is well with the Pac-12 Networks.
As an aside, I don't know whose bright idea it was to hold Pac-12 Media Days during the same week that SEC Media Days are taking place, but that person should be sent to work in the mail room. On the bright side, will Mike Leach wear a tux to the ESPYs? I do want to see that.
Once that concludes, the real fun should begin for WSU fans, as Mike Leach, Parker Henry and, most importantly, Gabe Marks will get a turn to answer questions from the assembled media. Something tells me that Gabe will have more than one quote that causes us all to do this:
What will be interesting, and pretty darn refreshing this year is that WSU is good enough to make people pay attention to the play on the field, and not just that "wacky swash-buckling pirate" coach Mike Leach. Personally, I don't pay any attention to coach interviews, because they're almost all boilerplate. Coaches are boring.
Leach is an exception. I know many of you probably disagree, but I like it when he talks about anything other than his football team because he always says the same things on that subject. He's one of the few coaches who is able to talk about a variety of subjects besides how many returning starters he has or whether a new defensive coordinator is going to "be more aggressive than that last guy we had who clearly wasn't aggressive enough."
Another big part of Media Days is the preseason media poll. A few writers have already released theirs, and they think highly of WSU, even if that means WSU is placed as far down as fourth. Jon Wilner, for example, slots the Cougs at number four, but has this to say,
In a nutshell: The North will be something to behold, with four teams capable of winning what should be one of the strongest divisions in the country.
Jacob Thorpe and Adam Jude think a little more highly of WSU than Wilner, which is something quite rare in these parts, as we're used to seeing WSU placed no higher than fifth on nearly every ballot. The theme at Media Days will almost certainly be that the North is the stronger of the two divisions, and anybody among Stanford, Oregon, Washington and WSU could win it. The full poll will be released on July 14.
Now, allow me to talk about a pet peeve of mine. I see many comments, here and elsewhere, that go something like this: "I like it when WSU is overlooked. We always perform better as the underdog blah blah blah." Well, for one thing, WSU is almost ALWAYS near the bottom of the preseason rankings. Why? Because by and large, they deserve to be there most seasons.
This year is different, as they are coming off their most successful season in over a decade, and return a very talented core. However, the one time in my memory when WSU was the favorite to win the Pac-10/12 was 2002. Guess what? They actually won the conference that year.
So can we please tamp down the "I prefer to be overlooked because WSU is better as the underdog" stuff? I know this is not endemic to the WSU fan base, but it's tired nonetheless. I think the Cougs are gonna be pretty damn good this season, regardless of where they are placed before one snap is taken. Ok, off the soapbox.
Here's to the start of the start of football season. In terms of September 4th, my thoughts echo those of Mr. Bart Scott.
Bernard Lagat defies time, storms to victory in the Olympic Trials 5,000 final | OregonLive.com
The crowd 22,847 exploded as Lagat came off the Bowerman Curve at full throttle and flew down the home straight to victory.
Bernard Lagat, Justin Gatlin bull their way into Olympics | The Spokesman-Review
"My daughter said, ‘I want you to win,’ " Lagat said, " ‘So I can go see gymnastics.’ "
Pac-12 football: The media day change - College Hotline
The coaches will attend the event on July 13 in Los Angeles — Watch out red carpet, here they come! — and then jump right into the standard two-day media festivities in Hollywood.
Larry Scott talks Pac-12 expansion, night games and more
As noted here, nine Pac-12 employees (excluding Scott) earned more than the second-highest paid employee at the SEC, which is generating approximately $100 million more in annual revenue.
Satellite camps bring college football recruiting close to home - LA Times
Satellite camps are a growing trend in college football recruiting; the practice is popular, and comes with warnings.
Best beer I had this week: Resident CougCenter beer expert Craig Powers piqued my interest a couple weeks back when he tweeted a picture showing four pint-sized cans of Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break. I'd always wanted to try this beer, but could never pull the trigger due to the $17 price tag for one 22-ounce bomber. As Craig pointed out, four cans were now the same price as one bomber, so I set out to get some.
One problem - I couldn't find it anywhere. Well, my long journey came to an end last Monday, as I discovered it (to clarify, my wife saw it after I passed by) at a local beer store near our new home in the Tampa suburbs. I couldn't pay for it fast enough. It is as good as I thought. The best news is that I still have three left!
Beer break-up: Reconciliation weighed after Colorado craft brewers’ rift – The Denver Post
The Colorado Brewers Guild is part of a split that offers a sobering picture of how global pressures are shifting an industry known for its camaraderie.
What Ever Happened to the Couch Potato? - The New Yorker
The record states that the first couch potato was named and affectionately shamed in Pasadena, California, in 1976, when Tom Iacino phoned his friend Robert Armstrong, a cartoonist and TV lover.