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Oregon St. At Washington A Night Game, and Injury Update

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The Beaver football team will be in the dark, literally, the next 2 Saturdays, as the Washington game will join the Arizona St. game as night contests.
The Beaver football team will be in the dark, literally, the next 2 Saturdays, as the Washington game will join the Arizona St. game as night contests.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

We don't and won't know when Oregon St. will kickoff against Washington for a while yet, possibly until after this coming weekend's games, but we do know it will be yet another night game when the Beavers make their first visit to renovated Husky Stadium on Montlake on Saturday night, Nov. 22.

The television schedule is partially set, but the fully distributed carriers are all waiting to hedge their bets on which games they will carry, and all 12 teams are in action on the same day. 2 of the 6 rivalry games are early, due to the Notre Dame affect, and will get 2 of the 3 well-distributed slots.

Which makes scheduling the 3 games relegated to the Pac-12 channel known, but only the day's opener, Washington St. at Arizona St. is set. The Cougars and Sun Devils will kick off just after 11 AM AST, which is 10 AM PST.

FOX has first pick, and everyone expects the over-the-air game at 4:30 PM PST to the USC at UCLA. It's the biggest market, and should Arizona St. stumble at some point, this game could also play into the Pac-12 South championship picture.

ABC/ESPN could choose the Big Middle Size Game, with Stanford visiting California, for their 12:30 PM PST slot, or they could let it slide to Fox 1, which might choose to push the start to 1 PM PST.

This is important because of the ABC window of exclusivity, unless they were to waive it, because it means the Colorado at Oregon game could start as early as 1:30 PM PST, which would allow enough time (a college game requires at a minimum 3 1/2 hours, and especially if Oregon is involved, anything under 4 hours is flirting with disaster) to start the Oregon St.-Washington game at 6 PM.

The game could also start at 2 PM, which would leave little time for the Pac-12's late afternoon studio cut-in. But if the exclusivity window is enforced, a start at Autzen as late as 3 PM is possible, which would force the game on Montlake back to the 7:30 PM window.

Either way, it will be the 7th night game in the last 10 for Oregon St., and 13th game played totally after dark in less than 2 seasons, totally discrediting Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott's comment that the burden of night games is being distributed equally.

Oregon St. hasn't played a true day game in Seattle in at least nearly a decade.

The Arizona at Utah game is probably going to be slotted for the ESPN late game slot at 7:30 PM PDT, which will be an 8:30 PM MST kickoff in Salt Lake City. In late November. Great idea.

In the meantime, Oregon St. has a late night home game this Saturday night against Arizona St. to get ready for, and they will do it without another offensive lineman, as Roman Sapolu has had to take a medical retirement from football, based on doctors' recommendations, after a head injury. Sapolu made the announcement earlier today.

The Beavers practiced without pads today in the Truax indoor facility, as Coach Mike Riley elected to take it easy on some bodies.

DT Jalen Grimble, who hasn't played or even practiced since suffering a knee injury at USC did go through drills with the D-line today though, and will be in pads with the group tomorrow. Riley said its possible Grimble could play this Saturday. It's probably a 50/50 bet at this point, and will depend on how the week's practice goes.

TE Kellen Clute, out since the Utah game, won't be ready though. After some delay, he's had knee surgery, and is done for the season.

RB  Storm Woods, who was again a game day scratch decision against Washington St., this time after a thigh bruise didn't respond well enough to treatment, returned to practice, and is expected to be available against the Sun Darkness Devils.

LB Jabral Johnson did not practice, and Riley wasn't specific as to why, but suggested Johnson may return tomorrow, depending on evaluation.

Johnson wasn't the only LB missing Monday, as Romel Mageo also wasn't on hand. Riley said he didn't know what was wrong with Mageo, which was disturbing to hear. In light of various recent episodes of team confusion, how can the head coach not know the condition of one of his players?

Riley has said that kicker Trevor Romaine will return after a 1 game suspension last week, and will probably handle kickoffs, but Garrett Owens, who has been solid on PATs and made 4 of 4 field goals against Washington St. may handle those duties. A decision will be made after tomorrow's practice, according to Riley.

Riley also addressed some of the breakdowns against Washington St., noting on one scoring play, Michael Doctor and Ty Zimmerman just ran into each other. Doctor said he wasn't aware of Zimmerman's presence on the play until the collision occurred.

On the touchdown play where the Oregon St. defense wasn't even lined up for the snap, and didn't have personnel to cover all the Cougar receivers, a defensive call had been signaled in, but many of the players didn't see it, and were still waiting for a signal, and no confirmation was made. And no one obviously thought about a time out. Which either way adds to the epidemic of game and clock management miscues that have defined the entire season.

At least we now know what happened, if not what measures have been taken to prevent a repeat of the event.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com