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This week in athletics: Football success, XC to host Pac-12 Championships

Junior+Steffie+Pavey+pulls+ahead+of+a+Seattle+University+runner+during+the+Sundodger+Invitational+in+Seattle%2C+Sept.+20%2C+2014.
Junior Steffie Pavey pulls ahead of a Seattle University runner during the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Sept. 20, 2014.

Junior Steffie Pavey pulls ahead of a Seattle University runner during the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Sept. 20, 2014.

Junior Steffie Pavey pulls ahead of a Seattle University runner during the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle, Sept. 20, 2014.

From staff reports

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The gridiron alone has generated quite the buzz around Washington State athletics. In the span of a weekend, Cougar fans watched their team beat Arizona in Tuscon and had high hopes – now gone – that GameDay would come to Pullman for the game against Stanford on Halloween.

Monday morning’s edition of Cougar Calls brought together WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos and co-host Derek Deis, as well as the Cougar Athletic Fund’s Assistant Director of Development Jason Gesser to break down the hype surrounding a surging football team and discuss other topics related to Cougar athletics.

Cougars beat Arizona but can’t win over College GameDay

The Cougars left Tuscon victorious this weekend after an intense game led to a 45-42 victory over the Wildcats.

Washington State fans went into the game hoping it would be the deciding factor in whether or not ESPN’s College GameDay would be making its first visit to Pullman for the Cougars’ game against Stanford on Saturday.

Despite the heart-pounding win this weekend, College GameDay announced Monday morning that the wait for it to broadcast in Pullman would continue, as they decided to go to Temple in Philadelphia for the undefeated Owls’ matchup against No. 9 Notre Dame instead.

“They are going to come and it will be at the right time,” Gesser said. “If we keep winning it will take care of itself.”

The nationally televised game against Stanford will still be a great opportunity for the Cougars to prove their prowess, as an upset win over the No. 8 team in the country would put Washington State just a half game back in the race for the Pac-12 North Division crown.

“The moment isn’t too big for them,” Gesser said. “They love the moment.”

The Cougars have now won three consecutive games. With the program growing and the players gaining confidence, the team has come quite a long way from its opening week loss to Portland State.

A big reason behind the Cougars’ resurgence is redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Falk, Moos said. His ability to keep cool and lead the team is something the Cougs are able to feed off of, and it influences them in a positive way.

Cross-country to host Pac-12 Championships

WSU will host the 2015 Pac-12 Championships this Friday at the Colfax Golf Club.

The team is coming off of a strong weekend in Louisville, Kentucky after the women’s team won its race at the Pre National Cross-country Invitational, and the men’s team came in 13th in theirs.

At the upcoming Pac-12 Championships, the women will run a 6k and the men will run an 8k on their relatively smooth and flat home course — which the teams hope will give them an advantage.

Head Coach Wayne Phipps joined the show and said runners like sophomore Michael Williams and senior CharLee Linton could make some noise at the conference championships.

The men’s race is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. and the women will take the course at 11:15 a.m. on Friday.

Reporting by Payton Dineen

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This week in athletics: Football success, XC to host Pac-12 Championships