Washington State Cougars

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Pac-12 Networks president denies schools were promised revenues like Big Ten, SEC ventures

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Ask any Pac-12 fan what their biggest source of frustration is right now and more likely than not ‘Pac-12 Networks‘ will be at, or near, the top of their list.

That can at times be the same response given by the league’s athletic directors as revenues from the venture fall further and further behind rivals like the uber-successful Big Ten Network and SEC Network. With those two leagues pushing conference payouts over the $50 million mark as soon as next year, the Pac-12 appears in danger of slipping further and further behind on the finance front.

Speaking to industry publication CableMax this weekPac-12 Networks’ outgoing president Lydia Murphy-Stephans understands that the balance sheet isn’t quite the same out West but parity with the two other conference networks was never something that was promised to schools when the channels were formed several years ago.

“There is a gap between what Pac-12 Networks delivers and the Big Ten Network and the SEC Network,” said Murphy-Stephans in a Q&A with the magazine. “What has to be factored in is the revenue specifically from Pac-12 Networks is only one part of the overall revenue each university receives from the Pac-12. I understand there is frustration, though no athletic director or administrator was ever told the Pac-12 Networks would deliver the same or more revenue than what its peer conferences are currently getting from their networks.

“I don’t think it’s fair in any way to call out Pac-12 Networks as the source of the deficiency the universities or maybe those particular athletic directors or administrators are citing.”

Not exactly the kind of comments that will thrill some around the Pac-12 when it comes time to pay for facility upgrades or to give a coach a raise but probably pretty on the nose as to what was said back when realignment was getting hot and heavy around the country. Murphy-Stephans is leaving her post in the not too distant future so it’s not like she will have to massage some of these comments with Pac-12 administrators like her boss Larry Scott will likely have to do in the coming days.

Wazzu adds future home-and-home with Houston

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Depending on how the coaching situations at each institution play out over the next couple of years, this one has offensive fireworks written all over it.

Washington State announced Monday that it has agreed to a home-and-home football series with Houston.  The first game will be played Sept. 14, 2019, in Houston, with the second coming Sept. 12, 2020, in Pullman.

“In recent years Houston has been one of the top programs in the country,” said WSU athletic director Bill Moos in a statement. “I believe our fans will enjoy having another quality non-conference opponent in Martin Stadium.”

The two Cougars have met three times previously, with the Pac-12 team with the feline nickname owning a 2-1 edge in the miniseries that was first played in 1959.  The last meeting was a Wazzu win in the 1988 Aloha Bowl.

Additionally, UH announced another home-and-home, this one against North Texas.  Denton on Sept. 28, 2019, will be the venue for the first game of that series, with the Mean Green traveling to Houston for the second on Sept. 23, 2023.

That series is currently tied at seven-all, for those who are curious.

Ex-Clemson WR Kyrin Priester dismissed by Wazzu a second time

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If Kyrin Priester is going to make it at the FBS level, it’s going to take the wide receiver getting a fourth strike from another football program.

Mike Leach confirmed to the Spokane Spokesman Review that Priester has, again, been dismissed from the Washington State football team. “Just generally violating team rules. Time to move on. We wish him the best,” a text from the Cougars head coach to the Spokesman Review read.

In August of last year, Priester was dismissed by Leach for, the newspaper writes, for “a pattern of contentious behavior, such as showing up late to meetings and confrontations with the coaching staff.” The receiver was given a second chance by Leach and participated in spring practice earlier this offseason.

Priester originally signed with Clemson in 2013, but spent that year at Fork Union Military Academy. He enrolled at Clemson in January of 2014 and played in one game for the Tigers, the season opener.  He was dismissed by head coach Dabo Swinney shortly after the opener for what was described as an “attitude” issue.

Wazzu announced in November of 2014 that Priester had transferred to the Cougars. After being granted immediate eligibility, Priester caught 34 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown in 2015.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2013 recruiting class, the 6-1, 190-pound Priester was rated as the No. 77 receiver in the country and the No. 54 player in the state of Georgia.

Eight-win season activates extension clause in Mike Leach’s contract

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After another successful season last fall, Washington State is keeping Mike Leach around for another season. Not just because they want to, but also because they have to.

As detailed by Stefanie Loh for the Seattle Times, an 8-5 campaign in 2016 extended an automatic 1-year extension as spelled out in Leach’s contract. He is now signed with the Cougars through Dec. 31, 2021. The 2021 campaign would be Leach’s 10th season at Washington State, when he would be 60 years old.

His salary is set at $2.9 million.

It’s actually the second straight season Leach’s automatic rollover clause has been activated. He’s led the Cougars to a 17-9 mark over the past two seasons, including a 13-5 mark in Pac-12 play.

Additionally, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has triggered a 1-year extension at a $600,000 salary, which will rise $25,000 a year thereafter.

College football spring games: Dates, TV times

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As the calendar flips from March to April, the rush of college football spring games commences in earnest.

On the Power Five side alone, there are nearly 60 spring games scheduled to be played in the month of April.  Last year around this time, Urban Meyer was urging Ohio State fans to show up en masse; the Buckeye faithful responded with a record-breaking turnout.  That six-figure record should be safe — maybe.

Channeling his inner Urban, James Franklin earlier this month very passionately challenged fans to attend Penn State’s spring game to showcase to recruits and the rest of the country that “football is a very, very important part of Penn State.” Texas seemingly has momentum, what with Tom Herman replacing Charlie Strong as head coach, and that hire could cause a spike in interest and spring butts in the seats.  Clemson, coming off its first national championship in three decades and with some question marks given key departures, will certainly see a surge in attendance, although the official seating capacity of 81,500 at Memorial Stadium would preclude them from doing anything other than (barely) cracking the Top 10 in all-time spring game attendance.

Alabama historically fares well in spring attendance — four of the Top 10 — although the last huge crowd was six years ago.  Coming off the first title-game loss under Nick Saban, don’t expect a big jump this year either.

With those storylines in mind, below is the complete slate of spring games for the next four-plus weeks.

Arizona, 9 p.m. ET

Northwestern, 11 a.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
South Carolina, noon ET (SEC Network)
North Carolina State, 1 p.m. ET
Michigan State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Texas Tech, 4 p.m. ET

Florida, 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

Ole Miss, noon ET (SEC Network)
Purdue, 1 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Auburn, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Iowa State, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma, 2 p.m. ET
Texas A&M, 2 pm. ET (ESPNU)
Clemson, 2:30 p.m. ET
Florida State, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
North Carolina, 3 p.m. ET
Wake Forest, 3 p.m. ET
Mississippi State, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
TCU (time still to be determined)

Indiana, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)

Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

Ohio State, 12:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Louisville, 1 p.m. ET
Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET
Utah, 1 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
West Virginia, 1 p.m. ET
Kansas, 2 p.m. ET
Missouri, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Nebraska, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State, 2 p.m. ET
Texas, 2 p.m. ET (Longhorn Network)
USC, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Stanford, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Arizona State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. ET
Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Iowa (time still to be determined)

Syracuse, 10 a.m. ET
Boston College, noon ET
Maryland, 12:30 ET (Big Ten Network)
Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m. ET
Baylor, 1 p.m. ET
Cal, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Georgia, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Kansas State, 2 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech, 2:30 p.m. ET
Alabama, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Penn State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Rutgers, 5 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
LSU, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

Arkansas, 1 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Oregon, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Virginia, 3 p.m. ET
UCLA, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

*Neither Miami nor Michigan will conduct traditional spring games.
*Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Oregon State and Vanderbilt played their spring games in March.