NCF Nation: Jess Ward

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Top o' the morning to ya...

  • It's a make-or-break year for Washington coach Tyrone Willingham. Everybody knows that -- even recruits, apparently. The Huskies don't have any commitments yet -- every other Pac-10 team has at least four -- and recruiting observers are starting to wonder if something is amiss, according to the Seattle Times. Husky fans can take some solace in this: Garfield defensive tackle Deandre Coleman, the state's top recruit, told the Times that UW is No. 1 on his list. "I like Tyrone," Coleman said. "I would like [the coach] to be Tyrone. I like the way he runs the team."
  • Here's an optimistic take on Arizona. And, by the way, it's not unreasonable. Of course, this is the third consecutive year I've predicted a Wildcats breakthrough.
  • Bruins Nation looks at the Bruins uncertain situation at quarterback.
  • The LA Daily News reports that backup defensive tackle Jess Ward isn't 100 percent after offseason knee surgery.
  • Don Ruiz of the Tacoma News Tribune offers up his Pac-10 picks; he's got the Huskies higher than most at No. 6.
  • Will California's $140 million athletic training facility ever get built or will the Tree Sitters triumph? A decision may be getting close.
  • More on the Cal front from the Contra Costa Times: A year after his talented team imploded, Jeff Tedford has found a book that underscores the situation perfectly --  "Talent is Never Enough" by John Maxwell.
  • Speaking of talent: The Orange County Register caught up with USC super-recruit, quarterback Matt Barkley.
  • Oregon has set up a memorial fund for Todd Doxey's family. Doxey, a Ducks defensive back, drowned last weekend.
  • Is your team a favorite or an underdog? The Web site Vegas Insider will tell you with its point spreads for the opening week. Of note: California -7 over Michigan State; Oregon -10.5 over Washington; Oregon State -5 over Stanford; Oklahoma State -6 over Washington State; USC -17 over Virginia; Arizona -28 over Idaho. The UCLA-Tennessee line isn't posted yet, likely because of injury questions at QB.
  • The Bleacher Report offers up some predictions for 2008, including this nugget: "Jake Locker will be first-team All-Pac-10 in leading the Washington Huskies to their first bowl game in five years. And saving Ty Willingham's job."
  • Many are picking Washington State to finish last in the Pac-10. Well, one Web site thinks the Cougs are No. 1, at least in terms of logo design.
  • Finally... got the above link from my friends at the "WSU Football Blog," which is way more creative and entertaining than its name. They also said some nice things about this blog and then posted my old Seattle P-I mug shot -- a big, meaty face on display to keep me humble, I suspect. Then they issued this challenge:

"So, with that in mind, Ted, I offer you a one-of-a-kind cyber deal. We finish tenth in the PAC as you predicted and I will perform any reasonable act of self-humiliation and/or homage as you desire on this blog or through any feasible media outlet. However, if we finish seventh or better as I predict, then you come on this Blog for a Brinkhater exclusive."

Me say: You're on.

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