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Winter is starting to settle in

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was sort of odd Saturday when I turned on the television set. There wasn't wall-to-wall football. A few games, sure. All good ones. But no East Rockwood State vs. Southwest Missouri Southern on ESPN8, the Ocho. It made channel flipping a lot less fun. Read on.


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• The best game of the day to watch? The Eastern win over Wagner (above). Sure, the Alabama game was better football with better athletes, but the Eastern game was much more comfortable. Nothing better than a game that follows a well-written script. The Eagles start slowly. The referees make a poor call – offensive pass interference, really? – putting Eastern behind the 8-ball. And then the inevitable rally. The Eagles take the lead, have a chance to salt the game away and turn the ball over. But the defense rises up and snuffs out the opponents' rally. Like I said, following a script that's been produced all season. I witnessed this Shakespearian-like drama on my smart phone – sorry, I have yet to get one of those new-fangled tablets; maybe for Christmas – while sitting in the chair watching other football and basketball games. So I must admit, though this was the first Saturday since August without a full slate of college football games, it was darn-near perfect, with football and basketball to watch on a variety of platforms.

• Well, it wasn't perfect, though. There was also some sad news, though we won't go into the murder/suicide in Kansas City. When I heard the bulletins yesterday Rick Majerus had died, I was sorely tempted to pull out a napkin and make some notes about his life. If you know Majerus, you will understand why. But instead I just dropped my head, thought about what it takes to get a team like Utah to the national title game and smiled. Majerus was a one-of-a-kind college basketball coach, a basketball junkie from Wisconsin who was more at home in a gym than anywhere else. He will be missed. To celebrate his life and coaching career, I've run down a few columns that attempt to catch the essence of Majerus.

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• Washington State: The Cougars welcomed Portland into a third-full Beasley on Saturday night but weren't very nice hosts. Christian Caple was there with 4,513 of his closest friends to watch WSU roll to a 72-60 win. Christian got the day started with a live chat, then finished up with a tale of the tape blog post and the interview videos. He also has his story in today's paper and a morning blog post. … The Oregonian ran this short story. … Pac-12 football is over – except for the bowl games. Ted Miller tells us what we learned over the weekend.

• Gonzaga: Next year Pacific will be in the WCC. Maybe the Tigers are rethinking that after being beatdown a bit by the Bulldogs last night in the Kennel. Especially when you consider Pacific is a senior-dominated team and GU, well, isn't. Jim Meehan has the story on Gonzaga's win, dominated by the play of GU's four bigs. Dan Pelle also has this picture story. … The GU women welcome No. 1 Stanford into the Kennel this afternoon. Chris Derrick has an advance and we found a couple other stories to pass along as well. … St. Mary's got back on the winning track. So did Loyola.

• EWU: It's on to the quarterfinals for the Eagles, who just happened to have the best player on the field yesterday. John Blanchette picked said player, Brandon Kaufman, to write his column about. Meanwhile, Jim Allen covered the contest with his game story. … The New York Post has this story, sadly without a smarmy headline.

• Idaho: The Vandals should have a new football coach in the next couple days. At least that's what the school president told Josh Wright yesterday. … The basketball team held off UC Davis last night, though the Aggies pulled close down the stretch. Josh has the game story and a blog post.

• Whitworth: UC Santa Cruz ended up like a slug on hot driveway last night as the Pirates rolled 61-48. Steve Christilaw has the story.

• Chiefs: The eastern swing hasn't been too bad thus far, as the Chiefs won again Saturday. Chris Derrick has this blog post. … The WHL's sanctions haven't been too bad for Portland thus far, as the Winterhawks won their sixth consecutive game.

• Preps: It's Sunday morning, so we have a roundup of boys and girls basketball games from the paper to pass along.

• Seahawks: Luckily for Seattle, the weather in Chicago is warm and seems almost September-like. Is that a good omen for the visitors? We'll see. The Hawks are a bit beat up going into the game, but that doesn't mean squat to anyone. As my dad used to say, no one wants to hear about the labor pains, they just want to see the baby. (Do you think someone said that to him in the South Pacific in 1944?) … Danny O'Neil takes the NFL to task for its secretive drug policy.

• Mariners: The winter meetings get underway. Will the M's be players or spectators? Just kidding. We all know it will the be the latter.

• Sounders: Though it was once again the Robbie Keane show in a 3-1 win, the big news after the LA Galaxy won the MLS title yesterday was the departure of David Beckham.

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• That's it for this Sunday morning. We're headed to Gonzaga today for the GU women's game as I once again serve as arm candy for my lovely wife. As arm candy goes, I'm like the really old pieces of sugar your grandma used to keep in a bowl for when company came over. Until later …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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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.

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John Blanchette John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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

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