Says WSU football coach Paul Wulff: "I felt all along the best situation would be for the Northwest schools and the Northern California schools to be together. I felt that was best for Washington State."

PULLMAN — It’s not difficult to understand why Washington State coach Paul Wulff is happy the Pac-12 conference’s North Division will include Stanford and California. He has at least 20 reasons to smile.

There are 20 players on his 2010 roster that either grew up or attended school within four hours of the Bay Area.

“I think it’s a perfect fit for Washington State,” Wulff said. “It’s a huge part of this program. The players from there just identify with this place a lot.

“I felt all along the best situation would be for the Northwest schools and the Northern California schools to be together. I felt that was best for Washington State.”

The conference announced Thursday the makeup of the Pac-12 next season and WSU will continue to visit the Bay Area each year as part of the North Division.

This year’s visit is Saturday at Stanford, and it’s a big deal to many of those 20 players, including senior defensive tackle Bernard Wolfgramm, from nearby San Mateo.

“I have 17 tickets right now, but my mom and sister are asking for more,” Wolfgramm said.

With the number of players from Northern or Central California, including running back James Montgomery, quarterback Jeff Tuel and linebacker Sekope Kaufusi, the WSU section of Stanford Stadium should be packed.

“If you’ve paid attention to Cougar football for a number of years and you go back and you look at all the quality players that have been in this program, they’ve predominantly been from Northern California and the state of Washington,” said Wulff, who came to WSU as a player from the Sacramento area.

“We now are just going back into Northern California with the vigor that we should be.”

Notes

• MLB Mike Ledgerwood won’t play this week. He’s recovered from a neck injury but pulled his hamstring at practice.

• S Chima Nwachukwu (hamstring) and RB Chantz Staden (ribs) have both been ruled out for this week as well.