A GRIP ON SPORTS
You want to know what really makes my morning? When our dog looks out the window near my computer and spies a squirrel in the backyard. He gets all revved up, starts jumping up and down and begs to be let outside. I usually oblige. Off he races, legs akimbo, tongue hanging out, barking. Down the stairs, across the lawn and boom. Nothing. His goal has disappeared. Gone. What a wasted effort. Sort of like the effort of a visitor to our area last night. Read on.
• I planned our night carefully. An early evening showing of "Skyfall" gets us back at the house for all but the first few minutes of Gonzaga's early season showdown with West Virginia. Good planning, wasted effort. Though we only missed a couple minutes of action, by the time we got back in front of the TV, the die was cast. After missing their first few shots, the Zags were starting the find the range. After missing its first few shots, West Virginia just continued to miss. Oh, sure, the new-look Mountaineers, GU's first-round NCAA opponent a year ago, were playing with effort, racing all over the court, legs akimbo, tongues hanging out. But, like my dog Yogi (named after the most famous Italian catcher of all time), the Mountaineers never found their target. No matter how much coach Bob Huggins would bark at them (and the referees), there was no way they were going to catch the Zags. Not on this night. Not in the Kennel.
• Washington State: There is a soap-opera feel to the going-ons in Pullman right now, and Christian Caple chronicles it in a myriad of ways. He put up a blog post yesterday afternoon that included video of Mike Leach and his players' press conference. Included in there is Leach's most recent denial of Marquess Wilson's charges. That is also included in Christian's story this morning in the S-R and in his morning post. ... Christian has his first look at Arizona State. The game begins at noon here. Yes sir. ... It is possible to win tickets to the Apple Cup. Just follow the instructions on this link. ... It is rivalry week in Southern California, the continuation of the first rivalry games I was every aware of. ... There are a lot more games this weekend, of course. And more statistics to be put up. ... How did Cal fall so far, so fast? ... Klay Thompson still doesn't deal well with losing. ... WSU and the Spokane Arena will host the 2014 NCAA men's basketball first round.
• Gonzaga: The Mountaineers' shooting woes were the focus of John Blanchette's column and Jim Meehan's game story (and part of Jesse Tinsley's photos as well, as many of them had to be taken adjacent to or as part of another miss). ... They also figured prominently in Bud Withers' story. ... The GU win earned the Zags some more national hype. ... BYU is going to be better this season because one of its better players is playing better.
• EWU: The playoffs are coming for the Eagles, but just what that means in terms of seeding is still up-in-the-air. Jim Allen has more in his story. He also has a morning blog post. ... Despite a monster game from Martin Seiferth, Eastern fell to 0-2 to start the basketball season.
• Idaho: The biggest game in the final WAC football season is this weekend in Louisiana.
• Preps: The football playoff times for this weekend are set.
• Sounders: If you don't understand the MLS' playoff system, you have company. Art Thiel doesn't get it either. ... The national teams have matches this week, with one Sounder getting a call. It wasn't Eddie Johnson. ... Do the Sounders have enough stars to outshine Los Angeles?
• Mariners: The M's said goodbye to Bob Engle. The Dodgers hired him. And he hired a bunch of M's scouts.
• No squirrels this morning. Thank goodness. Sooner or later, Yogi is going to catch one. After all, West Virginia did finally hit a shot. Until later ...