Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

THE BEST QUOTE coming out of Pac-10 basketball media day was from Patrick Finley of the Arizona Daily Star. Noting that the event was held at the Nokia Theatre, in what he termed the Pac-10's latest "move toward Los Angeles razzle-dazzle," he marveled that only in L.A. "can you see Washington State coach Ken Bone stand on the very same stage where Lady Gaga wore a dress made entirely of raw meat."

To which I ask, do you think Coach Ken has any idea who Lady Gaga is?

As for her raw meat dress, I heard that it was washed off and donated it to a food bank. No kidding.

Speaking of beef, sources in Pullman tell me Cougar forward/center DeAngelo Casto, who is now tipping the scales at 255 well-sculpted pounds, looks to be loaded for bear this season. That's great, because the Cougs need a little more heft in the low post. Now if he can just stay out of foul and injury trouble, I think that No. 5 finish in the Pac-10 that the media picked for the Cougs might be a tad on the low side.

The Cougs open the season Nov. 6 with an exhibition against L-C State and then kick off the regular season Nov. 13 vs. Southern. Both games are at Friel Court.

IT'S NOT OFTEN THAT A POST on the message board can put a smile on my face, but I have to admit I was grinning ear-to-ear Wednesday night after reading a missive by Brian Walker of the WSU class of 1996. Headlined "Phoenix Rising," his post was about the text message he received from his brother Ben who was in Pullman for the WSU-Arizona game and weighed in with his thoughts and observations about the future of Cougar football.

Ben's text to Brian was so uplifting and so positive about the young athletes in the program that you damn near wanted to get up and sing the fight song after reading it. Based on the responses the post generated on the message board, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking that. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and take a read HERE.

SPEAKING OF GOOD READING, correspondent Chris Chancellor found a terrific piece on future Cougar linebacker Tana Pritchard that appeared on I'd never heard of this website before but am glad I found it. It's all about high school athletics. Here's a link to the piece on Tana: Q&A with Clover Park QB .

IN THE RECRUITING IS AN ART and not a science department comes an interesting nugget. The other day a friend sent over a link to a story that appeared in the Seattle Times four years ago this month. It had a big color picture of four high school football players and the headline "Drawing up a perfect QB class." The story was about how Kellen Kiilsgaard of Auburn, Kellen Moore of Prosser, Jason Munns of Southridge and Jake Gelakoska of Jackson were one of the best collections of QB prospects in state history.

Talk about not working out according to script. Moore, of course, has become the stuff of legend at Boise State, even though he was considered the low man on that prep totem pole back in 2006. Killsgarrd went to Stanford and quit football after one season to focus on baseball. Gelakoska ran into academic hurdles on the way to Oregon State and was never heard from again. Munns went to BYU for a year, took off on a mission for two years, and is now back at BYU where he appears set to carry a clipboard for Jake Heaps for the next three seasons.

THE RESULTS OF WSU'S 10-10-10 campaign were unveiled the other day. The campaign, launched a year ago on October 10, was aimed at boosting membership in WSU's Athletic Foundation (i.e. the Cougar Club) from approximately 6,100 to 10,000 by October 10 of this year. WSU said it now as 7,700 donors to "WSU Athletics." By using the term "WSU Athletics" rather than WSU Foundation, it suggests they counted in their total anyone who donated a dime to WSU in the last year, not just those contributing the $100 or more required of membership in the Athletic Foundation.

What that tells me is this: First and foremost is that WSU fans continue to be among the most tightfisted folks in the West; and second, that the 10-10-10 campaign was misguided. Yes, it's critical to set goals, but equally critical to set goals that are potentially attainable. Given the current economy, WSU's notoriously stingy fans, and the fact the top such club in the Pac-10, USC's, is just shy of 10,000 members, it probably wouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to predict the disappointing outcome. The campaign was launched under Jim Sterk so he gets the slings and arrows for this failed effort. But don't get me wrong, I like Jim a lot and only have to look at the resurrection of baseball and basketball and the success of women's sports to remind myself why.

SPEAKING OF JIM, CF.C'S executive editor chatted briefly with him a week ago. Things are going very well for Sterk at San Diego State, with the basketball team poised for a nice season and the football team having one of its best years in many years. Asked if his phone has been ringing with calls from the athletic directors at the Pac-10's four Northwest schools wanting to schedule games with the Aztecs at Qualcomm, Sterk said nary a call had come in yet.

The thinking is that San Diego State might be a popular road trip for WSU, UW, Oregon and Oregon State because with the new Pac-10 divisional alignment, they'll only get down to the L.A. Basin every other year rather than annually. Given the recruiting and alumni benefits of playing in southern California, San Diego would seem a logical place to play in some of those off years.

WHILE ON THE SUBJECT OF San Diego, there was a shocking pairing on 1090-AM radio in San Diego the other day. columnist Ryan Leaf teamed up with L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers to host an hour of sports talk. They bantered about everything from LeBron James' new TV commercial to Boise State's title hopes to the Pac-10 race to Dancing With the Stars. All went swimmingly.

So why, you ask, is that notable? Because Simers was Leaf's biggest detractor when Ryan was with the Chargers. The word "blistering" doesn't even come close to describing the beating Leaf took in print from Simers in those days. The two hadn't spoken in a dozen years until Simers called earlier this year wanting to do a story on Ryan's battle with prescription painkillers. The wide-ranging article was quite a good read and basically concluded with Simers saying Leaf had matured nicely. And then came the invitation last week for Ryan to serve as a guest co-host with Simers. The moral of the story? If these two can bury the hatchet, there has to be hope for Mideast peace and perhaps even a coming together of the Taste Great vs. Less Filling crowd.

MARK YOU CALENDARS: The Skagit Valley Cougar Club is holding it's annual "Rally in the Valley" dinner and auction Nov. 20 and the featured speaker with be WSU Hall of Fame running back Duke Washington, a fascinating guy who was a pioneer in race relations in the 1950s. The cost is $40. To register or for more information, call the WSU Alumni Association at 1-800-258-6978.

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