From Pullman — Plenty of WSU news today as we've got stories on the seniors who are continuing to add to their legacy on the football team, a notebook on why the Cougars basketball practice are extra intense this week, and blog posts looking at a pair of new offensive line commits, recapping what we saw of practice and taking a look at some extra presents WSU players will receive for the holidays.
Don't forget we'll have an 11 a.m. chat to talk football, basketball, bowls and more here on SportsLink.
Links from around the conference, after the jump.
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered Gonzaga Prep's home game against Central Valley. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — Reports are coming in that a pair of high school offensive tackles have declared their intentions to play football at Washington State. Andre Dillard is a 6'5, 240-pound senior at Woodinville High School, while Brandon Evers is 6'7 and 275 pounds. Rivals.com says that Evers plays center, while Scout.com maintains that he will be an offensive tackle. We suspect that the latter recruiting service is correct, unless the former was making a comment about Evers' ability to contribute to the basketball team.
Neither prospect has been given any stars from the recruiting websites yet.
Barry Bolton has the scoop on Evers, who committed on Tuesday:
Evers has been a powerhouse for Enterprise High the past two season up front. Early on in his football career he played QB and WR before finding his true calling on the offensive line. He's blocked for standout running backs the past two seasons in Brad Woods and Izzy Matthews at Enterprise.
Evers had offers from WSU and SDSU, with Oregon, Washington and Stanford all showing varying shades of interest.
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered Gonzaga Prep girls win over Central Valley. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — The Cougars again practiced indoors, meaning that we who are banned from practice (everyone) only saw the first 15 minutes (media only). What we saw was an upbeat group of Cougars who seemed excited to be heading to their first bowl game even though many of them had yet to hear about the gifts.
The Cougars won't have as many extra practice as most team thanks to an early game and finals week. But they're making the most of them, albeit with a slightly disheveled schedule.
“Well it’s a real erratic schedule, in the end you’d like to have a little more time off this week then we’re able to have,” coach Mike Leach said. “But the biggest thing, it hasn’t been too bad, you just bounce the schedule around and it seems like every day we’re practicing at a different time. That’s to accommodate their academics which is important.”
More after the jump.
Gonzaga trailed by 10 four minutes into the second half, by eight with 8:23 left and by five with 7 minutes left.
Less than five minutes later, the Bulldogs led by 8. A 13-0 run, which included three 3s by Kevin Pangos, brought Gonzaga back and the Bulldogs went on to claim an 80-76 road win over West Virginia on Tuesday night.
This is the only road game we won't be at this season. We put together a game story, with the help of quotes supplied by Gonzaga SID Oliver Pierce. Read on for more on GU's fifth straight win.
The Spokane Chiefs and Everett Silvertips will meet for the first time in more than seven week on Wednesday night at the Arena. Everett has established itself as one of the top teams in the Western Hockey League since losing to Spokane on Oct. 5 and 18. Young talent is part of the reason, as this week's WHL notebook examines. Read story
From Pullman — Win or lose, college football teams that play in bowl games don't come home empty handed. Bowls are allowed to give up to $550 worth of gifts to each player, and taking a look at the swag has become an annual part of the lore surrounding bowl games. SportsBusinessDaily.com has a list of what every school receives. Here is what the Cougars will collect:
What is a gift suite you may ask? Jeff Nusser of CougCenter.com has the details, after the jump.
The season is just over a month old but Gonzaga is about to face its first true road game. The Bulldogs are in Morgantown to take on West Virginia, which will be out to avenge two lopsided losses to GU in the last 20 months. It'll be a tough test, made tougher by the likelihood that Kevin Pangos (toe) and Gary Bell Jr. (hip) probably won't be at full strength. Both are expected to play
A GRIP ON SPORTS
After the flood of news yesterday, the waters have receded a bit, leaving just the debris. And, of course, the worst of it is from the Mariners. Read on.
Talk about peaking at the right time: The unranked Jacksonville State Gamecocks have knocked off two straight ranked opponents in the FCS playoffs, and they'll try to do it again this week at Eastern Washington. Here's our first look at Jacksonville State, and here is the official release from Eastern. (And by the way, Eagle cornerback Ronald Baines is listed as probable this week after suffering a concussion against South Dakota State.) … Jacksonville State - soon to be known as “Jax” in my Tweets to save space - had a dominating performance last week at McNeese State, but head coach Bill Clark and the Gamecocks have plenty of respect for Eastern Washington. … Want more on Jacksonville State? Go to al.com, a Birmingham-based web site that covers college football like nothing you've ever seen. (It is Alabama, after all.) Here's their Jacksonville State page.
From Pullman — While there is no limit on the number of practices a bowl-bound team can take, Washington State won't be able to get many in before their Dec. 21 appearance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. With less than two weeks to prepare, the Cougars won't be able to devote many practices to the development of younger players. Complicating matters is the fact that it is finals week at WSU. So the Cougars will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off, and then return to the field and practice all weekend. With temperatures in Pullman well below freezing, it is likely the team will continue to make use of their inflatable indoor practice facility.
In the paper we have a look at each of the Pac-12 bowl games, and on the blog we examine just how much money the Pac-12 lost by not getting a second team in a BCS bowl. Neil Stover of SWX and I talked about WSU and the New Mexico Bowl last night … If you're having trouble justifying the expensive airfare to Albuquerque WSU may be offering an alternative … WSU opened as four-point favorites over Colorado State … Braulio Perez reports that WSU has another commit on the offensive line.
Neil Stover of SWX was kind enough to have me on his show again to talk about WSU and the New Mexico Bow.
From Pullman — On the one hand, it was a banner Invitation Sunday for the Pac-12, which saw a record nine teams punch their tickets to bowl games. Even more impressive — all nine schools played in the old Pac-10, with only Cal joining relative newcomers Utah and Colorado as conference deadweight. Indeed, if not for the hapless Bears from Berkeley, all the original members of the Pacific Coast Conference, Athletic Association of Western Universities and the Pac-8 would all be playing in the postseason.
Every Pac-12 team except Oregon State opened as the favorite in their bowl game, and the conference appears poised for a successful bowl season.
But in another sense, the Pac-12 athletic directors and commissioner Larry Scott likely can't help but feel disappointed. Oregon looked poised to play in the Sugar Bowl, giving the conference two BCS bowl berths along with Stanford in the Rose Bowl. By all the laws of God and man it should have happened. But not, apparently, the laws of the NCAA.
Despite the Pac-12's near-unanimous status as the second-best conference in the country, and despite the season-long hankering of college football fans to see Alabama's defense matchup against Oregon's offense, the Sugar Bowl chose the geographically closer Oklahoma Sooners as the Crimson Tide's opponent.
The spurning of the ducks had repercussions throughout the conference. We'll take a look after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Usually the typical Northwest sports fan has a Chicken Little quality to him or her. You know, when something bad happens, the sky is falling. Heck, even when something good happens, they usually expect the other shoe to hit them on the head. But following yesterday's loss in San Francisco, it doesn’t feel that way with Seahawk fans. The defeat didn't seem to set off a tidal wave of worry. Read on.
From Pullman — Washington State's long wait is at an end. After 10 years and a presumably nerve-wracking final week, the Cougars are headed to the New Mexico Bowl … They'll face the Colorado State Rams, who we take an early look at here … Tickets can be purchased from the WSU athletic department … The Seattle Times has a story as well … As does the Denver Post.
News from around the conference after the jump.
Athletic director Bill Moos told reporters this evening that 2,500 fans have already reserved tickets to attend WSU's bowl game, regardless of which bowl the Cougars were invited to. With the announcement that it will be the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque on the 21st of December, tickets are available for purchase as of 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Click here to buy tickets through Washington State University.
From Pullman — It's not official yet but all signs say Washington State will take on Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl. So let's take an early look at WSU's opponent. Like WSU, a second-year coach has led the Rams to their first non-losing season in years. Under former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, CSU (7-6, 5-3) is headed to its first game since 2008, when it defeated Fresno State, also in the New Mexico Bowl.
Follow the jump for some statistics that should shed some light on the Rams.
From Pullman — ESPN's Brett McMurphy tweeted that Washington State will play Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl, which is owned by ESPN. The game will be played on Dec. 21, in Albuquerque, N.M. Keep in mind that this is neither official nor confirmed, yet.
Washington State will play Colorado State in New Mexico Bowl, source said— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 8, 2013
UPDATE: The school has officially accepted an invitation to the New Mexico Bowl. Tickets are available through the school here, starting at 7 p.m.
From Pullman — Washington State will find out if, when, and where it will be going at some point today. Follow the jump for all of the final bowl projections, including my own.