Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

WASHINGTON STATE played the sixth-toughest schedule of 2014, according to Phil Steele. Based on his early analysis, 2015 won't be quite as tough for the Cougs but it certainly won't be a walk in the park.

Steele has only released his 10 toughest schedules to this point. WSU isn't on that list but with five Pac-12 teams are in the top 10, thus suggesting it's a pretty good bet WSU will be high up when Steele's fills out his complete list.

Steele's top for 2015 breaks down this way: 1. Alabama; 2. USC; 3. Arkansas; 4. California; 5. Washington; 6. Auburn; 7. Texas; 8. Utah; 9. Stanford; 10. Kansas.

His choice of Alabama for the toughest schedule is an interesting one. The Tide's schedule features three cupcakes at home in Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Monroe and Charleston Southern. In addition, they play seven games at home, one at a neutral site, and four away. Clearly Steele is pointing to the SEC slate when it comes to strength of schedule. But wouldn't that also mean an abundance of other SEC teams would make his top 10? Instead, the SEC is represented by three teams while the Pac-12 has five.

WHOMEVER IS THE NEXT baseball coach at Washington State will have a good foundation to build on. This is not Paul Wulff coming into an empty football cupboard.

Donnie Marbut's freshman class was leaned on heavily in the just-concluded season and helped produce a winning record on a team that had only six seniors. The incoming class, Marbut said before he was dismissed, might be even better.

Of note: 17 of the Cougars' baseball games this season were shown on the Pac-12 Networks' national or regional feeds (Pac-12 Washington, etc.)

COULD THE PAC-12 NETWORKS end up on Netflix? The San Jose Mercury Times reports the Pac-12 Network is received by 11 million homes. A similar report by FOX Sports estimated the subscriber total at 12.3 million. Whatever the number, it's well below the 60 million homes the network is technically available in. In contrast, the Big Ten Network and SEC Network are both right around the 60 million subscriber total. Unlike the Pac-12 Network, which is fully owned by the conference, the Big Ten and Sec networks are owned by Fox and ESPN.

Some have said Netflix could be an out-of-the-box option for the Pac-12 Networks. Netflix threw some cold water on that idea this week.

“I will never say never, but I would say that where we sit today, I don’t think the on-demand to sports is enough of an addition to the value proposition to chase,” Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos told NBCSports.com. “I think the leagues have tremendous leverage in those deals, so it’s not like we’re going to get in and de-leverage the leagues. We’re going to go in and overpay like everyone else does, so it doesn’t get me that excited. Not to say that it wouldn’t someday, down the road, make sense.”

THE NFL NETWORK THIS WEEK came out with its 100 must-see college football matchups. Not one of them features Washington State. Really? Central Florida and Cincy is more compelling than, say, the Apple Cup?

By the way, go down this list from Fox on its top 25 college coaches and it's a pretty good bet you'll find some you disagree with: CLICK HERE

THE COUGARS BEGIN COMPETITION at the NCAA Rowing Championships today. The event runs through Sunday, May 31 at Lake Natoma at Gold River, Calif.

WSU's women's team is rated No. 9 in the nation.

Juniors Jordan Watson and Nicole Hare earned first- and second-team all-region honors, respectively today. Watson is the 15th Cougar to be named first-team all-region. Hare and Watson were also among seven women’s rowing team were named 2015 National Scholar-Athletes, along with senior Sarah Wu, juniors Tori Gerken and Katrina Tarrant and sophomores Mihaela-Teodora Berindei and Jessi Howe.

SPEAKING OF THE SEC, this won't help the conferecence's detractors: an SEC rule says graduate transfers aren't eligible if they've been the subject of university discipline at a previous school, such as Everett Golson’s year-long suspension from Notre Dame for academic reasons.

But players who have been previously arrested and/or dismissed from a previous school are free to transfer into the SEC. (Neither do other conferences, it's left up to the school, but the SEC is getting heat because they have the rule in place on university discipline).

The SEC has been talking about changing the rules in the league's meetings this week. Georgia's athletic director has asked to make it improper for SEC schools to accept transfers disciplined for domestic assault.

There's a lot of self-serving chatter disguised as "for the good of the game" speeches in the offseason. The leveling of the playing field is this year's theme. Kevin Scarbinsky nicely encapsulates it here: CLICK HERE

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