University of Washington

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1 What’s going on at Michigan?

Public opinion against Michigan coach Brady Hoke has never been stronger. Not only are the Wolverines off to an ugly 2-3 start, but now there are questions about whether Hoke left his quarterback Shane Morris in last week’s game after he suffeered a concussion. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon – against whom fans rallied on Tuesday – wrote in a statement that “a serious lack of communication” on the sideline led to Hoke mishandling the injury. And Hoke said he still doesn’t plan to wear a headset on the sideline during games. At the rate he’s going, there won’t be any headseats to wear.

2 Big-game week

There are four games on this week’s schedule between teams that are both ranked in the top 15 of The AP’s Top 25 poll, and five games between teams ranked in the top 20. Seven of the 10 teams involved are trying to protect unbeaten records (Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Nebraska), and three of the games are between SEC teams. Cupcake time is over.

3 “The colleges can do more”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently met with Texas coach Charlie Strong, reputed as a strict disciplinarian, to discuss the character dilemma facing the NFL amid high-profile criminal cases involving running backs Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Huskies coach Chris Petersen was asked about a college program’s role in preparing players for life after their college careers. “I really think that the colleges can do more,” he said. “Our whole theme of our program is, ‘Built for life,’ so we talk about life skills, life behaviors all the time.”

4 Faking is real?

Turns out Steve Sarkisian isn’t the only coach who gets publicly frustrated when he thinks his opponent is faking injuries. North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren apologized this week after accusing Florida State players of faking injuries – “crazy, fall down things,” he called them – during FSU’s 56-41 victory over the Wolfpack last weekend. N.C. State could just as easily be accused of faking a football game by playing Presbyterian the week prior.

5 Technically speaking

Washington State coach Mike Leach this week deviated from football-speak during his Monday press conference to give a lengthy diatribe on the evils of technology and online dating. Leach lamented all the button-pushing and screen-staring going on these days, predicting that our lack of human interaction will perpetuate until the human species is extinct. “That’s how it ends,” Leach said. Until it does, check out WSU in what should be a wild matchup this week at home against California.

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