Well, summer is almost over. What's that you say? It's still as hot as a feverish St. Bernard outside and the kids won't be out of your hair for another month? Sure, I guess it's still summer for those of you who base your seasons on the public school calendar, the life cycles of various flora or the proximity of the sun to the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
But over here we like to align our seasons to the thumping of pads and the dribbling of basketballs. So with Washington State's fall camp set to begin on Saturday, let's consider that summer is coming to a close. I hope it was a good one.
We'll get ready for camp after the jump.
*Note: We will have a live chat on the blog tomorrow at 11 a.m. to preview camp. These chats will continue every Wednesday until the end of the season.
In a repeat engagement of Beau Baldwin’s head coaching debut at Eastern Washington, the Eagles will play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.
The game will come nine years after the Eagles lost to 49-24 in Lubbock, Texas, to current Washington State coach Mike Leach. The Eagles finished 6-5 that season, while Texas Tech finished 11-2 and shared the Big 12 title with Oklahoma and Texas.
Eastern now has games against FBS foes scheduled for every year through 2019. The Eagles will play at Washington on Sept. 6, in just the second meeting with the Huskies, then will return to Seattle on Aug. 31, 2019.
Next season, Eastern will play at Oregon on Sept. 5, 2015, in the first meeting between those two schools. The Eagles also have scheduled games against Washington State for Sept. 3, 2016 and Sept. 15, 2018.
Including a season-opening 20-3 win at Idaho in 2012 and a 33-21 loss at Toledo in 2013, Eastern is now 9-22 all-time against FBS teams.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It hit late last night. No, not the muscle soreness from playing golf in almost 100-degree heat. That was expected. No, it was an unexpected reaction I had while watching, of all things, a professional soccer match. Read on.
Seth Spivey was joking Monday when he said that the entire Spokane Indians lineup could have been selected to the Northwest League All-Star Game. But Spivey, one of eight Indians named to the team last week, wasn't too far off. Just about every player on the Indians' roster would be a welcome addition on any other NWL roster. Read story
There was a time when the Texas coaches thought Connor Brewer could carry the Longhorn's weighty legacy. That the high school All-American had the talent and poise to start at quarterback for one of the country's most prestigious programs. So too, the LSU coaches once thought Jerrard Randall could steer the Tigers in their ongoing quest for national championships, or at least contribute as a wide receiver.
As a fresh-faced high school graduate Jesse Scroggins took his quarterbacking talents to USC, dreaming of ruling the west coast at a school where seemingly every starter is an automatic NFL draftee.
Rocky starts deferred those dreams of glory for all three signal callers, and each made their way to the University of Arizona to play for Rich Rodriguez. One of the talent quarterbacks will emerge as the starter, unless of course redshirt freshman Anu Solomon wins the job as the only quarterback on the Wildcats roster who signed with UA out of high school.
At media days Rodriguez refused to hint who was ahead in the quarterback competition, which he said could continue even past the first game of the season.
We'll take a look at the rest of the Wildcats after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Why do I have the feeling the best of the Mariners' season just might be over? Maybe it's because they are unable to win consistently at home. Or it may be because they can't seem to score consistently. Or because the stress of all the close games seems to be wearing on the pitching staff. Whatever, it seems ominous as July fades into August. Read on.
What separates the Spokane Indians from the Vancouver Canadians so far this season isn't their records. Both teams are 27-17 overall in the Northwest League, better than the league's other six teams. But Spokane is guaranteed a postseason berth because it defeated North Division rival Vancouver four out of six times during the first half of league season, when both teams finished 25-13. Make that five out of seven times after Spokane defeated Vancouver 4-2 on Sunday night to open a three-game series at Avista Stadium. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Guess what? We're a little short on thoughts today. College football, start soon please. Read on.
Spokane closed the regular season with a 45-40 road win over Portland on Saturday. The Shock (11-7) won their fifth straight. They'll visit San Jose in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday at 7.
Quarterback Brian Zbydniewski tossed five touchdown passes. Both teams committed three turnovers but Spokane's Terrance Sanders scored on a 16-yard interception return.
Spokane (Erik Meyer) and Portland (Kyle Rowley) rested their starting quarterbacks with the playoffs coming up next week.
Spokane would like to keep its late-season roll going when it closes the regular season tonight at Portland.
The Shock are looking for their fifth straight win and want to avoid new entries to the injury list as they point to their Saturday, Aug. 2, playoff game against San Jose. .
More on Spokane-Portland here.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Want to get a headache? Try putting yourself in the mind of Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch. And figure out what his end-game is during his holdout from the Hawks' training camp. Read on.
The Washington State football team didn't just get a football operations building out of all that construction going on by Rogers Field last year. The Cougars also found a new August home in Lewiston, Idaho. Because WSU's practice fields were temporarily unavailable the Cougars spent part of fall camp at Sacajawea Middle School and the coaches liked the experience so much they'll be there even longer this season, from Aug. 2-13, before returning to Pullman to get ready for the season-opener against Rutgers.
Last year the Cougars went 6-7 and played in their first bowl game since 2003.
Washington State also appears to have found their kicker of the future in Petaluma, California's Matt Abramo, who announced his intentions to become a Cougar last night. Abrama told Britton Ransford of WazzuWatch.com (pay article) that he also holds scholarship offers from Air Force and San Jose State, and says he can punt if needed.
If that's not enough WSU news from yesterday for you, how about this? Pullman finally got another Taco Bell yesterday, and she's a beaut.
And on the 8th day God created the Pullman Taco Bell, and it was good. pic.twitter.com/4g9H5pGyT1— Scott Niebuhr (@NiebuhrFever) July 25, 2014
Merrily, the 2013 Cougars rolled through their first four games, emerging from the season's first chunk of games 3-1 with a surprising win over. Mike Leach's offense had started to match the hype, putting up 90 points in wins over Southern Utah and Idaho after some early hiccups.
But Washington State fans expected to score points – Leach had had been received in Pullman as an offensive rainmaker, and not a cheap one. The welcome surprise was the Cougars defense that had given up just 17 total points in the previous three games, including a single touchdown on the road at No. 25 USC.
The WSU Football team was rolling, on a three-game winning streak and with one of its tougher conference games already happily in the rearview mirror. Not even running into the wall of muscle and discipline that is the Stanford football team could put a damper Cougar fans' spirits, or so they thought.
Washington State football coach Mike Leach likes to exercise. He walks to work every day, and can often be spotted on one of his various constitutionals around Pullman.
So it makes sense why he spends his downtime in the offseason in Florida's Key West. Not only can he bike wherever he pleases, but with a dress code is apparently a little looser than that of a starched-collar town like Pullman, it's easy to show off the results of that hard work.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Pac-12 media days are done. All that's left before the start of the upcoming football season are those pesky preseason practices. What a bore. I'm joking, of course, but the rest of this post won't be humorous, I promise. It's about the Cougars' quarterback situation, sure, but it's mainly about the one guy who really matters on the depth chart, senior Connor Halliday. Read on.
Dominic Davis wasn't the only recruit to declare his intentions to play in the crimson and gray yesterday. According to Britton Ransford of Wazzuwatch.com, 6-foot-6, 307 pound offensive lineman Cedric Bigge-Duren also plans to play his college ball at Washington State.
Despite his size, Bigge-Duren appears to be flying a bit under the radar. Unrated by Rivals.com and ESPN, the Oceanside, California lineman says he was offered scholarships by Nevada and San Jose State in addition to WSU. He'll be the second Oceanside High product on the Cougars offensive line, joining redshirt sophomore Eduardo Middleton.
Update: Greg Biggins of Scout.com has more from Davis.
Today wasn't Washington State's turn to speak to the print writers at Pac-12 media day but still a bit of WSU news came out. Dominic Davis, a speedy athlete from California's Bishop Alemany high school, told Scout's Barry Bolton that he will sign with the Cougars over scholarship offers from schools like UCLA, USC and Washington.
The 5-10, 175 pound Davis plays running back in high school but could make the switch to receiver at WSU much like former running backs Rickey Galvin and Calvin Green.
As always, there are the caveats that Davis' announcement isn't binding and according to Scout.com's Greg Biggin's the kid still hasn't visited the school. Still, it looks like another piece has been added to what at present looks like a very good recruiting class.
Here is his Scout.com recruiting profile.
Spokane is trying to finish the regular season on a five-game winning streak, but it also wants to be healthy for the playoffs.
Read more here about Spokane's approach to the regular-season finale at Portland on Saturday.
Tyler Bruggman will be transferring to Kentucky's Louisville University to play for coach Bobby Petrino, as first reported by Mike Hughes of InsideTheVille.com (reading this article requires a 24/7 Network subscription). Bruggman redshirted last year after signing with Washington State in 2012 as coach Mike Leach's most highly-anticipated recruit to date.
Bruggman ran the scout team during his redshirt season and drew praise from coaches and was widely considered to be the next logical choice at quarterback after senior starter Connor Halliday graduates, but struggled to hold of walk-on quarterback Luke Falk during spring football. He surprised teammates and coaches with his recent decision to leave the program.
Leach addressed Bruggman's transfer at media day on Wednesday, acknowledging that the Cougars do not have much depth at the position (backup quarterback Austin Apodaca also transferred this offseason) but said that the extra practice reps will be good for Falk.
If Bruggman transferred in search of playing time than his choice of destinations is curious. Louisville already has eight quarterbacks on the roster fighting to replace Teddy Bridgewater. Bruggman will almost certainly have to sit out this season, and will compete in 2015 as a redshirt sophomore with three years to play.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
I kept up with the first day of the Pac-12 media event the old-fashioned way: by reading tweets. None of this new-fangled video streaming for me. No sir. Words – and an occasional picture – are what it is about. Read on.