From Pullman — Tied with Oregon State and Arizona for seventh in the Pac-12 conference, Washington State will likely be competing with those programs for a place in the New Mexico Bowl, which selects last among the Pac-12 affiliated bowl games. The other two teams will have to hope for a spot as an at-large team in a bowl game affiliated with a conference with an insufficient number of eligible teams.
But there is another possibility for the Cougars. They could end up playing in the Fight Hunger Bowl, which picks a slot before the New Mexico Bowl. Find out how, after the jump.
From Pullman — The slow march towards Sunday's bowl announcements took another step forward on Thursday, as the Cougars returned to practice for the first time since the Apple Cup. It was a skeleton coaching staff, however, as all the coaches but head man Mike Leach and defensive coordinator Mike Breske are still on the road recruiting. With the basketball team not playing until Saturday, “dead week” seems to be an appropriate term for what's (not) going on at WSU right now. We've got our practice report up on the blog, and a story about what the Cougars have been up to for the past week … Will you be traveling to a bowl game if the Cougars are invited? The folks at CougCenter want to know.
If you're itching for more info, on Saturday we'll have a morning chat to talk about the bowl situation, the Pac-12 championship game and who knows what else.
Links from around the conference after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 8:15 A.M.
We had something all set to write about this morning, then breaking news gets in the way. And it's about the University of Washington and the Seattle Mariners of all places. Read on.
A special player? That would be Eastern Washington special teams standout Bo Schuetzle, an all-Big Sky selection and the subject of this feature story. We also had a live chat yesterday, and here's a partial transcript. … A public service announcement: it's getting even colder, and the wind-chill factor will put Saturday's game at about zero, so please dress warmly. Eastern will open Reese Court at halftime for those who need a break from the cold; Eastern also has this official preview of the game.
From Pullman — The Cougars practiced inside their indoor practice bubble for the first time this season, meaning that us reporters were unable to see what happened after the first 15 minutes. We did see players tricking out of the facility throughout practice, however. Find out why after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
We are only a couple of days removed from the NFL's most recent “Game of the Century.” And just a couple of days from the next one. Read on.
Friends, it's been two weeks since we had a chance to chat. so let's get together, say today at noon, right here at SportsLink. Until then, here's my weekly notebook, focusing on the FCS rushing leader, South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner. … Want more on the Jackrabbits? It's all right here. And by the way, if you think SDSU will be fazed by the cold weather here, check out the conditions in Brookings, S.D. The Jackrabbits also are pretty tough up front on both lines. However, should the Eagles advance, they will host either McNeese State (where the forecast high today is 72 degrees) or Jacksonville State (a high of 65 today) in a quarterfinal next week, so the Eagles have that going for them. Also, here is the official release from Eastern. Meanwhile, Montana could have a ridiculous weather advantage on Saturday, as the Coastal Carolina players will trade the 79 degree high in Conway, SC, on Friday for the +5 degrees expected in Missoula (Good luck, Chanticleers, whatever that is). On the other hand, Coastal Carolina has a pretty good running back.
The Washington State coaches are back from recruiting and today the Cougars will take the practice field for the first time in over a week. WSU will have three practices before the bowl invitations start to come out on Sunday, and continue to practice if they're given a bowl berth … With the coaches on the road and the program in limbo while waiting to hear its bowl fate, it wasn't an especially eventful week for the WSU football program. Still, we came up with some odds and ends from the past few days … WSU defensive coordinator Mike Breske is named by Steve Vorel as a possible candidate for the vacant head coach position at Wyoming … Oregon State's athletic director says the Cougars will probably go bowling … Jeff Nusser of CougCenter responds to Jerry Palm of CBS who doesn't think WSU's fans travel well enough for a bowl game.
Links from around the conference after the jump.
The Spokane Chiefs remain one of the highest-scoring teams in the Western Hockey League, but you wouldn't be able to predict that by looking at their last three games. Read story
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Spokane Chiefs vs. Saskatoon Blades game. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
The Washington State football team returns to practice tomorrow to begin the first of what could be many bowl practices. Or, it could just be the first of three. The Cougars will take the field on Friday and Saturday afternoon, and then again on Sunday morning. Beyond that, whether or not they practice again depends on if the Cougars secure a bowl invite.
Not a whole lot can happen on that front until after Saturday's conference championship games. Still, I've been talking to coaches, bowl directors and WSU athletic director throughout the week to try and see where the Cougars stand. Not everything has made it in the paper, obviously, so I've put together a few news nuggets after the jump.
The Western Hockey League is well represented in the latest Canadian Hockey League Top 10 poll. Kelowna (20-3-0-2) is ranked third, Portland (21-5-2-1) fifth and Everett (20-5-4-0) sixth. There's a new team at No. 1: The Erie Otters (23-4-1-0) of the Ontario Hockey League moved from second to first. Read story
Austin Rehkow plays football for the University of Idaho. And he may soon play basketball for the Vandals, too. Rehkow, a freshman punter and kicker, will spend the next week to 10 days with the UI basketball team and then decide if he wants to become a hoops walk-on.
Good morning (barely) everyone, sorry about the lateness of these links. There were some issues with the website on my end last night that didn't get resolved until recently so I'm just now getting to these. If you haven't seem then already, we've got stories today with reaction from two Pac-12 coaches to their colleague Steve Sarkisian's decision to leave UW for USC … An update on athletic director Bill Moos' efforts to get Washington State a bowl invitation … And our final Pac-12 Power Rankings of the regular season.
For bowl projections and links from around the conference, follow the jump.
The Zags have had a day or two off since Sunday's rout over Coppin State and they're preparing for New Mexico State's visit Saturday.
You can be sure rebounding drills will be fairly high on the coaching staff's practice script. This isn't a surprise. The list of preseason worries for Gonzaga centered on three things: Interior depth, defense and rebounding, and that list remains intact through the season's first eight games.
A deeper look into GU's rebounding here.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's cold here in Spokane. Really cold. Single-digit cold. But that's OK. We have a hot stove to keep us warm. Read on.
It was a bit chilly Tuesday afternoon at Roos Field as Eastern Washington prepared for a second-round FCS playoff game against South Dakota State. (And by the way. it was 10 degrees colder back in Brookings, South Dakota, so the Jackrabbits will be used to this.) Here's our practice report, along with some big news for Eagle quarterback Vernon Adams. We can discuss all of that and more in Thursday's live chat, but let's move on to the links … Here's a preview of the game from Eastern, but nothing yet from South Dakota State, though here are some stats. … Meanwhile, Montana faces an intriguing opponent in Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia.
If Don Verlin and the Idaho Vandals sign a high school player, chances are he's from the Northwest. That trend continued Tuesday when UI announced the signing of Arkadiy Mkrtychyan, a 6-foot-7 forward from Portland. Mkrtychyan has spent the last two years in Portland, but he's not a born-and-bred Northwest native. He originally hails from Moscow, Russia, and played his sophomore year in Honolulu. before transferring to Portland’s Columbia Christian High, where he had to sit out his junior season.
Verlin compared Mkrtychyan to Stephen Madison, Idaho's leading scorer and a Portland native, in terms of his versatility.
“He’s a multi-position guy who can play both forward spots, small and power forward,” Verlin said in a statement. “He has had extensive experience overseas. We saw him this summer and I really liked his ability to play around the basket and away from the basket, and he really fits into our system.”
Mkrtychyan joins Jake Straughan of Colton, Wash., as Idaho’s early period signees. “The things we’re excited about are his size, his ability, his ability to play multiple positions and getting another good, young high school player from the Northwest,” Verlin added.
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the LC girls basketball game against G-Prep. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.