Media Day reflections

WITH THE DAYS NOW IN SINGLE DIGITS until fall camp begins at Oregon State, there weren't a lot of new revelations from Mike Riley at Pac-10 Media Day. Still, some big questions remain -- the status of Simi Kuli and how Jeremy Perry is doing coming back from injury, for starters. Meanwhile, Tom Hansen's "poignant" final year as Pac-10 commish has begun, and fans probably couldn't be happier.

Junior-college transfer DE Simi Kuli is expected to play a significant role and challenge for a starting position right off the bat. His status remains the same as it was earlier this month.

Kuli has not yet been academically cleared by the powers that be and when Kuli will actually touch down in Corvallis is pending -- it could be the first day of fall camp on Aug. 1, but it could also be later. Mike Riley continued to sound optimistic on Thursday.

"That is a waiting process for us that we feel good about. That's all I can say about that," said Riley.

As for Jeremy Perry, the uber-talented offensive guard who has endured injuries throughout his career, the news was positive on the front as well.

"Jeremy told me not long ago that his leg feels better than it has in a year. He does feel good so that's a good sign, at least going in," said Riley.

THIS OFFSEASON HAS been notable in that Riley has been more outspoken about the Beavs' prospects than usual, saying in June that Oregon State is "very capable of making a run to win the conference championship."

On Thursday, Riley echoed the thoughts of ASU's Dennis Erickson and Washington State's Paul Wulff, in noting the gap from No. 1 through the tenth team in the Pac-10 is smaller than ever.

"If other teams in the conference didn't grow, you'd be left way behind," Riley said. "I think our conference is more competitive top-to-bottom than ever."

Whether Stanford's shocking victory over USC last year is a sign of more to come in '08, who knows. But it probably does mean that nobody gets an easy gameweek and a team seventh in the standings can knock off one sitting in second place, at any time.

Polls mean little to coaches, and such was the case with the Pac-10 beat writers slotting Oregon State for a sixth place finish.

"We're still in some aspects digging out of the past," Riley said. "I could care less. I kind of like it."

OVER AT, Ted Miller continues to get it wrong. Miller, a longtime beat writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before heading to ESPN this offseason, was known for UW homerism during his Seattle days and also continually mentioning that he used to cover the SEC.

"It's becoming obvious to me that Oregon State fans are tired of their team being considered merely scrappy and overachieving," writes Miller in his wrap up on media day.

No, Ted. Oregon State fans are tired of you being wrong each year -- and on so many fronts -- and never spending as much time on that particular fact as you do authoritatively stating what's what before (and sometimes during) the season.

TOM HANSEN is retiring this year and the commish, in the top spot since 1983, won't be embarking on a farewell tour.

"It'll be poignant, doing everything (this year) for the last time," Hansen said. "But I don't feel bad about it. I'm ready."

Given the television contracts, the way other conferences came out on top over the Pac-10 when there was a question on which team would go to a BCS bowl, along with so much more, I think it's safe to say the fans are ready, too.

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