A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some days you guys surprise me. Other days you don't. Yesterday was of the latter variety – and the former as well, actually. Read on.
• When I put up the poll on the BCS yesterday, I was sure you folks would overwhelmingly lean toward a playoff (cue loud, over-used Jim Mora quote here). And you did, with all but 17 of the almost 550 votes wanting a change. But it was the change you overwhelmingly favored – an eight-team playoff – that shocked me a bit. More than 40 percent of you said you wanted what really is a true single-elimination tournament. But I don't think you're going to get your wish this go-round. It looks as if the plus-one model (basically a four-team playoff), with No. 1 vs. 4 and No. 2 vs. 3 prior to a title game, will be the next step in the on-going evolution toward a playoff. ... We have another poll that kicks off today – by the way, I left the BCS poll open, so you can still vote if you like – and it is really timely since Gonzaga plays it's first real West Coast Conference road test tonight in Moraga. I'm wondering how many WCC games the Zags will lose this year. I know it has kind of a negative bent, asking about losses, but it's a lot easier than trying to count up all the wins they'll get in conference play – I, for one, don't have that many fingers. So we ask about the losses.
• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs' first big WCC showdown of the season is tonight in Moraga at St. Mary's (8 on ESPN2). Our Jim Meehan has this advance in this morning's S-R and a short blog post from last night. He also looks ahead to the weekend on the road for the Zags (13-2 overall, 3-0 in WCC play). ... Gary Bell faces his first rivalry game in college, a rivalry that Bud Withers sees as one of the best in college basketball right now. ... The Gaels (15-2, 4-0) feel they are better able to match up with GU down low this season). ... We'll be planted in front of our television tonight at 8, with our trusty Mac all fired up. We'll pass along Jim's tweets (SRJimm) and add a few of our own, based on the broadcast. Come join us at vinceg55.
• Washington State: No Cougar game tonight, as they are off until Sunday's showdown with UW in HecEd. But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to pass along, like Christian Caple's story in today's S-R about the number of West Side recruits on the WSU squad, a number Ken Bone has grown considerably since taking over. Christian also has a note on Reggie Moore and his need to score more along with a look at the weekend. Throw in yesterday's blog post (which also includes a poll) and this morning's (which he did late last night) and Christian has you covered. ... His morning post has a lot of links related to the Pac-12, so we won't repeat those here. We did, however, find a few more in our morning rounds. ... The WSU athletic site has this interview with Mike Leach that I don't believe we've passed along before. If we did, sorry for wasting your time. ... The final hire for the football staff was confirmed by a Boise State source. ... The conference isn't getting much respect, though it's not like it's earned a lot this season. ... Utah is off on its first two-game Pac-12 road trip. ... Cal's Harper Kamp is having his usual solid season. ... A former UW defensive-minded coach has a few thoughts about the current, and future, UW defense. ... The conference made another hire yesterday – it has created more jobs than the stimulus bill – and this one is expected to kick start even more revenue. ... The bowl season was pretty tough on the Pac-12. ... And, saving the best for last, there is this column in the News Tribune about the inequities in college football.
• Idaho: The Vandals' road trip this weekend is the longest, in miles, of the season. Any trip to Louisiana is a long one, of course.
• Preps: Being it's Thursday, that means it's Prep Page day, with Greg Lee featuring one of the nicer turn-around stories in the area, that of Newport's Jake Wiley. I got to know Wiley a bit early last summer and it's nice to learn his back story. ... U-Hi hired one of its own to coach football, Robert Bartlett III. ... The Titans are still undefeated in wrestling. ... The CV girls are also undefeated in basketball. We'll see them this Saturday, when they travel to Lewis and Clark. ... The Washington AP polls are available.
• Chiefs: Spokane earned coach Don Nachbaur his 500th Western Hockey League win last night, 6-1 over Everett. Jess Brown has her game story and this blog post.
• Mariners: The team's winter caravan hit Spokane yesterday and John Blanchette talked with the most interesting player on the team, relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen, for this column. ... I could have put this link in the Washington State section, but because it's about Trey Griffey, it seemed applicable here.
• That's our report for this morning. Once again, we'll be on the radio with 700 ESPN again today, so listen to us here from 3 to 6 p.m. Until later ...