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Shock open against 3-time champs

The AFL released the 2015 schedule and Spokane's first game will be on the road against three-time champion Arizona. The lid-lifter is Saturday, March 28, at 6 p.m. Pacific.

Spokane has three matchups with Portland, San Jose, Las Vegas and Arizona during the 18-game regular season. Spokane will host Arizona on Saturday, May 30, and Friday, July 17. San Jose visits the Shock on Saturday, May 16, and Friday, June 26. Spokane makes two trips to Portland before entertaining the Thunder on Saturday, July 25. Two of the Spokane-Las Vegas games are in Las Vegas.

Shock bye weeks fall on Week 4 (April 17-18) and Week 15 (every team has a bye on the July 4th holiday weekend). The ever-changing AFL is down from 14 teams to 12 (added Las Vegas, subtracted San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Iowa).

Schedule here.

It’s time to level the playing fields


Want to perpetuate a two-tiered system in college sports, a system with haves and have-nots? Then just keep the rules the same. Want to promote more parity, lo level the playing field a bit? Then let's make some changes. Read on.

Morning links: Washington State snags a Sweet receiver

As the clock struck midnight last night, the news trickled out that Kyle Sweet committed to play football at WSU.

The 6-foot, 183-pound receiver from Santa Margarita, California, was offered a scholarship by the WSU coaching staff late Thursday night and didn't take long to accept it.

Britton Ransford of first reported the news.

Sweet's teammate, Austin Maihen, is expected to play offensive tackle for WSU and current Cougars Nick Begg, Riley Sorenson and River Cracraft all played at Santa Margarita High.

He had a productive senior season for the Eagles, catching 89 passes for 1,341 yards. More than just a two-way player, Sweet played cornerback, kick-returner and kicked extra points, in addition to playing receiver.

As it currently stands, WSU's recruiting class consists of 24 players. Expect the Cougars to add a couple, focusing on offensive lineman as well as wide receiver and possibly running back.

We've got links after the jump.

Global game for ex-Zags

My computer is off the DL and officially upgraded to day-to-day. Weird being without my computer for 24 hours but hoping it makes it through Saturday night and the Battle in Seattle.

I caught up with former Zags' Ira Brown and Josh Heytvelt, now teammates on a professional squad in Tokyo. Here's a link to my article on Ira and Josh. Here's a link to the list of ex-Zags playing professionally as well as some additional notes.

The Zags face Cal Poly on Saturday at KeyArena. Mustangs coach Joe Callero joins us on KGA 1510-AM today at 4:25 (listen live here).


The South gives college football two thumbs up


You like watching college football on TV? Me too. But we don't seem to like to watch it as much as those folks south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Read on.

Chiefs reach break on hot streak

The Spokane Chiefs head for home on a nine-day holiday break after Wednesday's shutout at Prince George gave them a fourth straight win. Read story

Four WHL teams hold down spots

The Western Hockey League's Kelowna, Brandon, Medicine Hat and Everett have all been ranked among the CHL's Top 10 for 11 weeks or more. Read story

WSU says “Shalom” to Luani

WSU added its second junior college signee on Wednesday afternoon when Shalom Luani sent in his letter of intent.

More on Luani, after the jump.


Jeremiah Mitchell signs with WSU

Today is the first day that WSU can sign junior college football recruits, and Jeremiah Mitchell is the first to sign. 

More on the newest Cougar, after the jump.

Idaho adds 10 JUCO players during mid-year signing period

Idaho football coach Paul Petrino announced the signing of 10 junior college football players during the mid-year National letter-of-intent day today. 

The class includes four defensive backs, three offensive linemen, two defensive linemen and a running back. 

Petrino expects many of them to contribute immediately. 

Read on for details and comments from Petrino. 

Live WSU chat

On Wednesday we held a live chat to discuss WSU athletics. A transcription of the chat is available after the jump.


‘Twas the week before Christmas …


This is a public service announcement. There is only a week until Christmas. Forget shopping days. There is only a week until Christmas. Where the heck did December go? Read on.

Morning links: trading cleats for high-tops

On Sunday the Washington State basketball team will take the court against some football players.

San Jose State has indefinitely suspended five players for violating a team rule. The benched players include the team's four leading scorers and since the suspensions are expected to last through Sunday, it's probably fair to chalk up this game as a win.

But there will be plenty of intrigue in the matchup. From Jimmy Durkin's article in the San Jose Mercury News:

The Spartans suited up just eight players in Saturday’s loss and that included two newcomers that came over from the football team to make their college basketball debut.

“I met with coach (Ron) Caragher because we were so thin and had to go get a couple football guys,” Wojcik said.

Tyler Winston is a second team All-Mountain West selection at wide receiver, while Andrew Vollert is a redshirt freshman tight end that actually ended up playing 30 minutes in the depleted team's 54-38 loss to Seattle University.

Yesterday was a big day for the WSU football team and we've got more on that, as well as some links, after the jump.

*And don't forget we'll be holding our weekly WSU football chat here on SportsLink at 11 a.m.

WHL notes: Chiefs trade rights to respected goalie

In the long run, it will probably mean nothing. But some people in the hockey world took notice Tuesday when the Spokane Chiefs traded their WHL rights to a top collegiate goalie to the Calgary Hitmen. Read story

Chiefs streak toward break

The Spokane Chiefs have followed a five-game winning streak with a five-game losing streak and three-game winning streak. They can make it four straight wins on Wednesday, their last game before the holiday break. Read story

Don Verlin Tuesday notes and quotes, Dec. 16

Idaho encountered nothing but heartbreak on its road trip through the states of Illinois and South Dakota last week.

The Vandals blew a 17-point lead in the second half at Western Illinois, losing 78-75. Two days later at South Dakota State, senior point guard Mike Scott missed a game-winning 3-point attempt with three seconds remaining. The buzzer sounded with an 87-85 win for the Jackrabbits, and back-to-back road losses for the Vandals. 

The theme of both games was Idaho's inability to get stops.

The WSU recruits just keep coming

Since Dillon Faamatau added his name to the 2015 WSU recruiting class, four more prospects have pledged their services. is reporting that linebacker Kyahva Tezino has decided to play for WSU over reported scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Miami, UCLA, Washington and other schools. The linebacker from Salesian High in Los Angeles, California is regarded as a four-star recruit and will immediately become one of WSU's most anticipated February signings.

Britton Ransford of reported this morning that linebacker Logan Tago and offensive tackle Amosa Sakaria from Pago Pago in American Samoa have been planning on playing football at WSU for a while now, but have made their decisions public after visiting the school last weekend.

Additionally, safety Shalom Luani announced for WSU. Luani is considered the No. 19 junior college prospect in the country by, and is a four-star prospect.

The Cougars may not have publicly announced a defensive coordinator hire yet but whatever they're telling recruits, it's working.

Day after Texas Southern

Back with more, but frankly not much more, from Gonzaga’s 94-54 runaway over Texas Southern last night.

Here’s my game story and Dan Pelle’s photos.

Read on.


Have basketball, will travel


If you were looking for a taut, tightly contested college basketball game to watch last night, turning on the Gonzaga game would not have satisfied you. But I'm sure you knew that going in. Everyone did. Read on.

Morning links: Dillon Faamatau to WSU

The lack of a defensive coordinator does not appear to be hurting Washington State on the recruiting front. 

Dillon Faamatau has decided to play for WSU, according to Britton Ransford. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive tackle from Norwalk, California chose WSU over reported scholarship offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Utah and others.

He is the seventh player that is expected to play defense to declare for WSU while the Cougars have been searching for a defensive coordinator, although one player, DeVante Wilson, now says that he will attend California instead.

Faamatu visited Pullman in early October and will sign on February 4, with the rest of the class of 2015.

We've got some links to pass along as well, after the jump.

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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.


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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Chris

Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

Recent work by Sean

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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