Originally posted on WSU Football Blog  |  Last updated 12/18/12
Greetings Cougs, and a happy Tuesday morning to you and yours as we head down the stretch towards the big X-mas holiday a week from now.  How in the WORLD is X-mas a week away?  Unreal.  It's true, kids, what all the old adults told you growing up - it really DOES go faster, each and every year, the older you get.  Enjoy it and live in the NOW! So there isn't a ton of Coug-links and such floating around, but as always there are a few points of interest out there.  So let's take a look..... I know this probably isn't a great comparison to our own Jeff Tuel, pictured above with his family on Senior Day prior to the Apple Cup.  But news broke last night that Cincinnati's starting QB, Brendon Kay, just found out he was granted a sixth year of eligibility. Now, I say it probably isn't a great comp vs. the Jeff Tuel situation, as Kay spent most of his entire playing career on the sidelines due to injuries.  Per ESPN, Kay had a couple of knee injuries, so extreme that at one point doctors suggested he quit playing football.  But Kay stuck it out, and finally this year in what looked like his last season of eligibility, he started the last four games of 2012 while appearing in just six games in his career coming in to this season. So does this help Jeff Tuel's situation in any way?  Is this a sliver of light that maybe, just maybe, Tuel's appeal is going to succeed and he'll be granted that extra year?  I would like to be optimistic on this, I really would.  But it at least seems that these two situations are different, and that it will still come down to the interpretation of Jeff Tuel's playing time in 2011 and how that works within the letter of the NCAA "law" if you even want to call it that? I know this is probably "review" for many of you, but let's go there, shall we?  It all boils down to two things for Tuel and the hardship rule:   1) The player played in less than 30% of the season in question. 2) The injury occurred prior to the first game of the second half of the season. So, looking at 2011 as the year in question: 1) Tuel only played in three games in '11, and only one game from beginning to end (Stanford).  So he clearly satisfies the less-than-30% threshold.   2) HOWEVER, Tuel DID START game seven of the '11 season, in Seattle vs. Oregon State.  Tuel did get knocked out of that game halfway through and was done for the year at that point.  But, that Oregon State game was technically the first game of the second half of the season.  So there's the rub with this whole damn thing. But it also has to be said that Tuel started just two games in the season in question, and, he only played about a game and a half of the whole year in true playing time (knocked out after a few plays vs. Idaho State with the broken clavicle, played the whole game vs. Stanford, and just the first half vs. OSU.  On the season he threw just 45 passes). I don't know if they'll put more emphasis on the less-than-30% part of it, or if they'll shake their head based on one half of football played in game seven?  Of course as a homer-idiot-fan-blogger-etc, I'm hoping that they'll say "It's cool man, take your sixth year and play one more season", and of course that the Tuel family gives the thumbs-up as well!  But it's the NCAA we're talking about, and well.....you just never know.  I guess we'll probably find out sooner rather than later?  At least they've ruled on an NCAA QB in Cinci's Brendon Kay, so, maybe Tuel is getting closer to the top of the stack??  Moving on, Phil Steele released his toughest schedules played for the 2012 season.  As usual, Steele weighs a lot of factors in trying to figure it all out, such as opponent's records, but more than just that.  He looks at power rankings, level of opponent like FBS/FCS, etc.  And in the end he had the Cougs come in at #26.  So THAT'S WHY WE WENT 3-9!......Anyway, some other interesting things include Notre Dame with their top-10 most difficult schedule as we probably would have thought going in, just given on how they really don't duck anyone when it comes to scheduling.  But kind of surprising that Alabama and the big, bad SEC champs came in at #37?  Hmmm.  Also for a quick jab at our friends on Montlake, UW did a lot of talking about how they had the toughest schedule in the country this year.  But at the end of the day, well, not really.  UW's schedule was tough, but it came in at #22, or just four spots ahead of WSU at 26. Speaking of schedules, Ted Miller wrote about this a few weeks ago and I know that I missed touching on it before.  But Miller raises a great point in that when you look around the country, you notice one big thing - the other big-time power conferences out there in the BCS, like the SEC, ACC and Big 10  - play just EIGHT conference games, even though they have at least 12 teams in their conferences (SEC now at 14 with Mizzou and Texas A & M).   Meanwhile the Pac-12 insists on playing nine conference games, or better yet, just one more opportunity to lose a flippin' game.  And as Miller says, it basically means the Pac-12 is playing from behind from the get-go.   We all know the SEC is loaded with talent, there is absolutely no arguing that.  But when you look at the impact of 1) all that SEC talent, and 2) eight conference games with the SEC, is it any coincidence that the SEC has played in six straight BCS title games, and have won five of them??  I mean the SEC title game has basically turned into a play-in game for the title, and that becomes the ninth conference game if you look at it that way.  But of course, that game is played at a neutral site and has a bowl game/playoff feel to it, so it's not the same as having to go to Eugene or Arizona or something like that.   Anyway, just kind of food for thought, but some excellent points raised by Miller as to why the Pac-12 should seriously consider going to eight conference games.  With a BCS type playoff on the horizon, it might be a good thing to examine the whole idea.  And it could mean one or two more bowl teams from the conference and some better W/L records from top to bottom, and that can only be viewed as a good thing all throughout the conference. Finally, CougCenter and Cougfan have some recruiting updates, CougCenter here and Cougfan here(premium). If you had been following it over the last few days, the news hasn't been great in terms of de-commits (Demarcus Ayers) and guys going elsewhere (Chris Martin), but give the links a read for the details. All for now.  Enjoy your morning, and of course, GO COUGS!
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