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Washington State Cougars open 2018 fall camp today

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HAPPY FOOTBALL DAY!

USC v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

At last, FOOTBALL IS BACK. Well, sorta.

The Washington State Cougars open up their fall camp* today with a helmets-only practice in Pullman, and at roughly 2 p.m. PT, we’ll be able to check off another box on our march toward the 2018 season opener on Sept. 1 at the Wyoming Cowboys.

*Aside: Vince Grippi, erstwhile WSU beat reporter for the Spokesman-Review, used to find the fact that it was called “fall camp” irksome, given that it occurs in August. But wouldn’t it sound super weird to call it “summer camp”? Headline: “Cougs open Summer Camp.” Subhead: “Activities scheduled include singing songs by the campfire, wakeboarding on the lake and the annual capture the flag tournament.”

Related: Full camp schedule

As I get older, I find that I actually get less excited for this sort of stuff than I used to; mostly, I just want to get on with the games. But if any camp was going to get me excited, it would be this one: There will be tons of new faces fighting for starting spots, and a real-deal quarterback battle is the epitome of preseason camp drama.

At least, it would be the epitome if it wasn’t for the fact that someone else should already have the job in hand. And that’s never going to be far from my mind — certainly through camp, and likely through the entire season. It’s tempered my enthusiasm for football quite a bit, and it makes me wonder how far it will be from the players’ minds, who are still going to try and play the game at the highest level after some tremendous upheaval in the offseason.

I’ll probably feel different as we inch closer to the season. Heck, I’ll probably feel different once the first practice video is posted later tonight.

WSU Football Links

Maybe reading about Mike Leach talking about the opening of camp gets you fired up. In that case, Michael covered the coach’s teleconference with the media yesterday. Here are some other versions of the same story, along with a few other links.

Transcript: Washington State coach Mike Leach pre-fall camp conference call | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State coach Mike Leach held a conference call with reporters to preview the Cougars’ fall season. Leach talked about the quarterback competition, noting he’d like to name a starter at least 10 days before fall camp, and addressed the team’s depth at wide receiver, among other things.

WSU's Mike Leach previews fall camp, upcoming 2018 season - KXLY
Washington State Head Football Coach Mike Leach previewed fall camp and the upcoming 2018 season Thursday afternoon during a conference call with local reporters.

Job 1 for Washington State Cougars: Pick a starting quarterback | The Seattle Times
Four are in the competition to replace the prolific Luke Falk at quarterback. Coach Mike Leach would like to make his pick about 10 days before the season opener Sept. 1 at Wyoming.

Washington State football: Mike Leach gives timeline for naming Cougars' starting QB
PULLMAN – The frontrunners for the starting quarterback position will be quickly identified during the start of fall camp by Mike Leach and the Cougs coaching staff. "We will look at all four of them and channel it toward the top two as quickly as we can," Leach said during a teleconference on Thursday.

Five questions heading into fall camp: Washington State Cougars | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Good luck trying to find a college football team in the country more eager to slip on pads and strap on helmets this week than Washington State. OK, well, maybe Ohio State. But that’s it.

Top Pac-12 2018 preseason NFL Draft prospects: Justin Herbert climbing up board - Pacific Takes
11. Andre Dillard Sr. T Washington State - Another great athletic pass blocking tackle for the Cougars. Expect Dillard to follow after Dahl and Madison and be a solid NFL Draft pick.

Washington State football: The file on Wazzu wide receiver Tay Martin - Cougfan.com
He’s already overcome a mountain of adversity at a young age.

College Football

The USA Today coaches poll dropped yesterday. Not surprising: WSU is not ranked. Surprising: WSU got votes! I have no idea what that/those voter/voters was/were thinking, but hey — still kind of cool. Three Pac-12 teams begin the season ranked: Washington Huskies (6th), Stanford Cardinal (13th), and USC Trojans (15th). Oregon (28th) and Utah (29th) just missed out in the “others receiving votes category.” WSU picked up seven points, while Arizona also picked up a couple of votes.

Amway Coaches Poll: Top 25 college football team outlooks - USA Today
The preseason Amway Coaches Poll, with outlooks for the top 25.

2018 college football rankings: preseason Coaches Poll has Alabama No. 1 - SBNation.com
The Tide start at No. 1, as expected. Here’s the full top 25 in a poll that doesn’t matter but is still fine to care about.

How to feel about preseason college football rankings - SBNation.com
Here’s how each spot in the rankings should determine your outlook on your team’s season.

USC still is College Football Playoff contender after major losses
USC lost quarterback Sam Darnold and its top running back and receiver, but Trojans coach Clay Helton thinks his team is College Football Playoff contenders.

Of course, there’s one story on everyone’s mind right now.

What Ohio State would have to defend in order to keep Urban Meyer - SBNation.com
For nine years, a since-fired assistant coach was accused repeatedly of domestic abuse, all of which is now becoming public.

Urban Meyer and the New Era of College Football: Winning Isn’t Everything - The New York Times
The remarkably successful Ohio State football coach is learning that tolerance for off-the-field problems is at an all-time low.

It's Your Job To Know | mgoblog
It doesn't matter whether Urban Meyer knew what Zach Smith did to his wife.

Jason Gesser on the Dusty Grain Elevator isn’t on this list. For shame, SB Nation.

Best Heisman Trophy campaigns, from toy cars to billboards and beyond - SBNation.com
Cardboard ties, ugly websites, billboards thousands of miles away, bobbleheads, toy race cars, and more!

WSU Stuff

Cougar Rowing Adds Six More for 2018-19 - Washington State University
PULLMAN, Wash. – Six prospective student-athletes have committed or signed National Letters of Intent to row for Washington State University beginning next season, head coach Jane LaRiviere announced, Thursday.

Cougars Sign Tennis Standout Yang Lee - Washington State University
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State Tennis Head Coach Lisa Hart announced Monday that Yang Lee has signed a Financial Aid Agreement and is expected to join the Cougar Tennis program this fall.

Cougar Tennis Receives ITA Academic Award - Washington State University
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State women's tennis team has been honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for its academic achievement during the 2017-2018 season. Additionally, student-athletes Michaela Bayerlova and Aneta Miksovska were also recognized for their academic accomplishments.