Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 9/18

THERE COULD BE A CONTROVERSY brewing in the Cougar locker room around the age-old debate: Is the leading receiver the person with the most catches or most yards? A quick look at the Pac-10 leader board this week shows Michael Bumpus atop the conference in receptions and Brandon Gibson No. 1 in yardage. And get this -- Gibson is second in the league in receptions and Bumpus second in yards.

There's no debating this: The Cougars have a dynamic duo at wideout. And no matter how you slice the stat book, they are the Pac-10 standard-bearers at this point in the season.

Michael Bumpus has a league-leading 22 catches, Brandon Gibson 20. Gibson has a league-leading 279 yards, Bumpus 273. And don't forget Charles Dillon. He's no slouch either, with 13 catches for 148 yards and one TD.

Not surprisingly, the guy throwing the ball to those sure-handed receivers, Alex Brink, is the conference leader in total offense and passing.

I COULDN'T HELP BUT notice in last Sunday's Seattle Times that two articles –- yes, 2 -– in the sports section used the name Jake Locker in the first paragraph with the name Heisman Trophy.

I kid you not.

One day after the Huskies were trounced at home by Ohio State –- indeed, one day after the 19-year-old Mr. Locker tossed three interceptions -– Times beat writer Bob Condotta and columnist Steve Kelley each saw fit to marry young Jake with the most famous piece of hardware this side of the Space Needle.

Subscriptions and ad rates are dropping throughout the newspapering world these days, but I had no idea the Blethen family had opened a new revenue stream at the Times: a P.R. agency. They should call it Hometown Homies, LLC.

Jake, by the way, ranks tenth in the Pac-10 in passing and eighth in passing efficiency. With those kinds of Heisman-esque numbers, I won't be surprised this Sunday if the Times' editorial page endorses him for governor.

THE LINE FOR SATURDAY'S Cougar game in Los Angeles against No.1-ranked USC is 24.5 points. Last year, USC was ranked No. 2 and the line was 18.5 points. That game went down to the final snap, with the Trojans prevailing 28-22.

Given the point spread this week, a Cougar win would have to rank as perhaps the second-greatest WSU upset of the modern era. Even when Timm Rosenbach quarterbacked the Cougs to that titanic win over Troy Aikman and No. 1 UCLA in 1988, the point spread was "only" 19 points. The biggest point spread I ever remember the Cougs overcoming was 26, back in 1982 when Jim Walden orchestrated the rebirth of the Apple Cup rivalry.

BASKETBALL PRACTICES on the Palouse begin in just a month and Seattle-area fans can get a first-hand preview of the Cougars' hardcourt prospects from Tony Bennett and June Daugherty on October 19 when the two head coaches come to town for their annual fall dinner. The event will be at the Bell Harbor Conference Center. Cocktails at 5:45, dinner and program at 6:30. The cost is $100 per person. Call WSU-West at 206-448-1330 to reserve your spot.

Bennett will be back in Seattle on Dec. 20 for the Cougs' annual Hardwood Classic at Key Arena. They'll be taking on The Citadel at 7:30. WSU is a consensus pre-season Top 10 pick this year.

IT DAWNED ON ME the other day that ballplayers no longer say "Hi Mom" on the sidelines when the TV camera zooms in. I used to love that. It was a staple of football-watching since the 1970s, but no longer. My guess is that the proliferation of affordable cell phone plans has made it possible for kids to say hi to mom directly every day.

IN THE NOBODY ASKED, BUT … category I have to raise this question: What the heck is up with Steve Raible? For the second straight season during Seahawks' broadcasts he never refers to Matt Hasselbeck as Hasselbeck or Matt. It's always Matthew. Every grating reference. Matthew drops back. Matthew scrambles. Matthew runs into Shaun Alexander.

Maybe Steve is working for Hometown Homies, LLC.


JEFF MCQUARRIE, PRODUCER of the marvelous feature film on the great moments and colorful characters in Cougar football history, tells us that the third and final installment of this DVD treasure is due out in October. Readers of CF.C may remember taking part in a poll here last year to help Jeff select the movie's choice for greatest Cougar team of all time. The "champion" will be crowned in this third volume. McQuarrie isn't hinting and who came out on top, but says five teams stand out from the rest. In chronological order, they are 1915, 1930, 1997, 2002 and 2003.

To order the third volume in the series – or to secure the first two volumes – click to www.LegendsOfThePalouse.com.


BannerFan.com, which sells oh-so-sweet Cougar banners perfect for home, tailgating or the stands, is offering CF.C readers free shipping this month. Just write "CFC" on the order form. Head to www.BannerFan.com to order.


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