Wulff a big fan of conference's new makeup

WASHINGTON STATE COACH Paul Wulff didn't hold back in talking about the conference's new revenue sharing plan, the geographic split when Colorado and Utah join the league next year, the Pac-12 championship game and more. He also talked a little Stanford, with the Cougs set to face the No. 12 ranked Cardinal on the road this week.

It is not just Washington State fans who are excited about the division split and equal TV revenue sharing plan announced Thursday by Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott.

"I can honestly say there's nothing I don't like," WSU coach Paul Wulff said during his Thursday teleconference. "I feel very good about that. I think it's a great day for Washington State -- probably the biggest impact on Washington State athletics ever."

As previously reported by CF.C, the Cougars will join their Northwest rivals and California and Stanford in the North Division when the conference expands to 12 teams next season. Each school will split revenues equally beginning in 2012 unless media earnings are less than $170 million. In that scenario, USC and UCLA will receive an extra $2 million in compensation.

Wulff, who graduated from Davis High in Sacramento, said he thinks California and Stanford make sense in the North. While it splits those schools from in-state rivals USC and UCLA, the division of views between residents in the northern and southern parts of that state frequently have been chronicled. For example, when Sports Illustrated featured every state to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2004, California was the only one it divided into two.

"When you think of Cal and Stanford, you think of them in the North," Wulff said.

But Wulff also wanted to maintain a presence in California with games there each season. Among the 24 players who signed with WSU in February, 16 were from the Golden State.

"It keeps us yearly in California," Wulff said. "I think that's very important."

SCOTT ALSO ANNOUNCED the Pac-10 championship game will be held at the school with the best conference record beginning in Dec. 2011. Wulff said he slightly prefers a neutral venue, but had no objection about the Cougars hosting that game in the future.

"I would love that," he said. "I think that would be a perfect way to do it. I know I've got a lot of players on this team that will be thinking that. I wouldn't put it past them to put themselves in that situation."

For now, WSU (1-6 overall, 0-4 conference) is preparing to face its third consecutive ranked opponent, and fifth in seven games overall, when they meet Saturday at 2 p.m. in Palo Alto. The Cardinal (5-1, 2-1) are ranked No. 12 in this week's Associated Press and Coaches' polls.

"They're very dominant with seniors on their o-line and d-line," said Wulff, adding that standout sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck also is a significant factor in Stanford's success.

The same cannot be said for the Cougars. As previously reported by CF.C, true freshman John Fullington will start at left tackle. Junior David Gonzales started there until he suffered a season-ending fractured forearm in Saturday's 24-7 loss against Arizona.

"John's done fine," said Wulff, referring to practices this week. "He started training camp at left tackle. It's not completely foreign to him."

Wulff said the North Mason High product's rapid ascension has not surprised him. Fullington started at right tackle last week in place of senior Micah Hannam (concussion), who is expected to play at Stanford.

"I had high, high expectations for him," Wulff said. "I thought he had all of the right ingredients to be a special player."

Another personnel move this week featured redshirt freshman Arthur Burns returning to running back from linebacker. Wulff said Burns was not comfortable at linebacker and he also needs to develop some depth at running back for 2011 because James Montgomery, Marcus Richmond and Chantz Staden all are seniors.

"Relying on first-year recruits is not a smart thing to do," Wulff said. "Not that someone brand new couldn't have an immediate impact."

Another change in practice this week has been scaling back live hitting. With injuries mounting and four more games before his team's first bye, Wulff said he felt it was necessary to cut back.

"I think it's more related to what we've been going through," he said. "It's time to pull back."

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