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July 29, 2011

The Pres' Palouse Park Bench - A Love Letter To Larry



I wonder if it's the policy of conference news makers to do absolutely nothing for a number of weeks and then say, "Quick! Everything all at once!" Although I would infer that's the more effective method given you can inundate the media with news on the conference and if that was Larry Scott's goal then congratulations sir, you've done it.

But let me clarify: it's with all good news. The Pac-12 had its media day this week and nothing new really came from it except the media poll (more on that later). But later in the week, Scott made an absolutely bombastic announcement, one that literally changes the landscape for the conference for its entire future.

The Pac-12 Networks. The center of everything Pac-12 will become a broadcast network beginning in August of next year. Not only that, but Scott has already signed on with four cable providers and is negotiating with the satellite providers to carry the network. This is a far cry better than the Big Ten Network which had to literally scratch and claw their way onto various cable and satellite providers. If I recall, lawsuits, hurt feelings and calls to various parents were involved. Not so with the Pac-12 Networks. The airspace has already been secured, a big step over a year in advance of the network's premiere.

Not only will every football and basketball game be on TV, Scott included what I think makes this deal go over the cliff from great to "holy crap this deal is beyond amazing" and that is the inclusion of regional networks. Pac-12 Washington, Oregon, NorCal, SoCal, Arizona and Mountain. It's brilliant. Not only can you broadcast shows that increase the academic profile of those institutions, Scott says the local networks will be broadcasting nearly 500 sporting events throughout the year. This only does incredible things for WSU. It means women's soccer games, volleyball, baseball, women's basketball and possibly even track and field, rowing, swimming and tennis can all be broadcast for the entire state and region to see.


Before today, my love for Larry Scott was pretty strong. But now, it's almost to stalker like levels. This man has done more for the conference than I think anyone could have ever dreamed. He completely understands how to increase the conference's national profile and he works passionately to make all sporting events as accessible as possible. Meanwhile, Tom Hansen is left asking what the internet is.

Seriously, think about that for a minute. Can you fathom how much worse off we'd be with Hansen still at the helm? We sure wouldn't have added Utah and Colorado - and the new media deal wouldn't have been nearly as lucrative given Hansen's seeming satisfaction with mediocrity.

I love you Larry Scott. Please, Pac-12 Accounting Department, I don't care what the man's salary is. Give him a raise.

Now, the Pac-12 media released their annual poll on how they think the conference will finish and now we only have further proof that our distinguished panel at CougZone is beyond intelligent. The only difference is they put a little less faith in California than we did. But the polls are virtually identical except for the ties we're expecting in both divisions and frankly, I'm more apt to put faith in our poll because it demotes Washington to a tie for 4th with Oregon State.

I can't help but hammer home this point: I really think WSU could surprise. Oregon State and California are certainly weaker this year than in years past, especially Cal who, for all intents and purposes, doesn't have a quarterback and they don't really have a home game all year as they'll play at AT&T Park. Oregon State lost their one big offensive weapon in Jacquizz Rodgers and because Oregon State may as well not have a quarterback to throw to James Rodgers, they are hurting at that position. Don't forget about the depleted defensive line.

Offensively, WSU is fine. Great wide outs, great quarterback, good running backs. The only question mark is the line. But when the defense trots out onto the field, count me as amongst those that will still be incredibly worried. The offense had notable, tangible improvements last year. But the defense was stale. In fact, it might have gotten even worse. I'm sick of promises that obviously aren't being delivered on that side of the ball. I still think this team has the talent to really surprise in the North Division. But it'll really be up to the defense to step up and help take the reins of that division because the offense is already most of the way there.


Who Cares Pick of the Week: No pick this week, I wanted to say this: THE MARINERS WON A BASEBALL GAME! WOOOOOOOOOOO!


Dunderhead of the Week: A melancholy dunderhead to Rick Kaminski - better known as Rick the Peanut Guy - who passed away this week at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, Washington. Rick was one of those constant, good figures in the Mariners organization and he always treated the fans with respect and always greeted you with a smile. I always got peanuts from him whenever I could. It always seemed like he knew everyone. A true man of the people, may you rest in peace Rick. You will be missed.





+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++

The 2011-12 athletic season is nearly here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Baseball, track and field and rowing, just to name a few, are playing their 2011 seasons. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.


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