A GRIP ON SPORTS
We'll keep this lead-in short, because we're going to be asking you for a lot of time today. Read on.
• I hope you have a lot of time this morning. A lot of time. You'll need it if you are a sports fan (and, because you are reading this, I am assuming you are a sports fan). See, today is so full of links it might just take all day for you to wade through them. It took me quite a while this morning, let me tell you. But I learned the Mariners probably will be outside looking in at the free-agent store, Utah State may just have the best college football and basketball teams in the state of Utah (how often has that happened?) and the WHL can throw the book at a team as well as the NCAA. And that's just part of it. Heck, I didn't even mention high school basketball season is getting started and today was the S-R's day to preview the girls teams around Eastern Washington. So settle in and enjoy.
• Washington State: The battle of the Palouse was just that, a battle, until D.J. Shelton (yes, you read that right), took over on the offensive end for the Cougars, knocking down a 3-pointer and scoring seven consecutive WSU points down the stretch. Christian Caple has the game story and all the post-game info you'll ever need from WSU's 64-55 victory. He also had a pregame live chat and checks in with his morning post today, which, like this one, is full of links. ... The Cougar women were in Southern California (home of smog, traffic and the Double-Double) where they lost at UC Riverside. ... Mike Leach held an end-of-season press conference yesterday and said Marquess Wilson has "basically recanted" among other things. Wonder if there will be a fax from Wilson today denying that? Christian has a story and a blog post. ... I have to draw your attention to this piece by ESPN.com's Ted Miller, who once again pleads with the Pac-12 to drop its nine-game conference football schedule. It just doesn't make sense since the conference went to 12 teams and needs to change now. Think about this Cougar fans. If WSU played just eight conference games, there is a good chance of one more non-conference win each year in Pullman. Don't you think WSU has a better shot at defeating, say, New Mexico State or Texas State than it has of winning at Arizona or against USC? ... Art Thiel has a different take on a postgame Apple Cup punch.
• Gonzaga: The Zags host Lewis and Clark State tonight in the Kennel in what is an exhibition for LC State and a counting game for GU. Jim Meehan has this short advance. ... BYU got back on the winning track, downing Montana at the home of the Jazz. ... Santa Clara had been undefeated until last night, when the WAC's best team, Utah State, came into town. The Aggies pulled out an 80-78 overtime victory.
• EWU: The Eagles have a few players still on the roster who contributed mightily to the 2010 national championship march, but none more explosive than Brandon Kaufman (pictured). Jim Allen talked with the big receiver for this notebook. Jim also has a morning post and will hold a live chat today. ... Weber State went on the road and earned a hoops victory.
• Idaho: Josh Wright has run down the list of five finalists for the Idaho football head coaching position. They all have some connection to the Vandals in their past. He has all the information in this blog post and story.
• Chiefs: The big news yesterday came in the form of punishments handed Portland by the WHL. It seems the league wasn't all that happy the franchise has exceeded what it can over its players financially. We have this story in the S-R and the Oregonian's Paul Buker has more.
• Preps: Before we get to the previews, we'll pass along the roundup of Wednesday night's action. ... OK, now on to the girls' previews from Greg Lee, including his look at the GSL and one of its better players, along with a rundown of the other leagues in Eastern Washington. ... Greg also has this preview of North Idaho boys basketball. ... If Lind/Ritzville-Sprague can win the State 2B football title Friday, three towns can celebrate. Greg has the story.
• Seahawks: The drug suspension rumors flying around the Hawks continue to overshadow everything else, including this week's game at Chicago. ... It even is overshadowing the injuries the Seahawks are battling through, the defensive woes and some other off-field news, including a fine on Earl Thomas. ... So former Hawk Jerramy Stevens is arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, but a judge determines there isn't enough evidence to charge him. But that arrest, which a judge determined wasn't valid, is enough to get him picked up in Florida for a probation violation? Really? When did Florida become part of Russia? Geez, I know the guy has a record but when a judge tells a policeman he screwed up and shouldn't have made the arrest, how can that be a probation violation?
• Mariners: It is no surprise the Mariners have lost more fans in the past 10 years than any American pro sports team. Part of it is the franchise's refusal to spend money wisely to improve. We used the word "wisely" because we have more Chone Figgins news.
• If you read every one of the linked stories today, you deserve some sort of prize. Like a free set of eyeglass frames or something. Too bad I don't have budget for that. Oh well, you'll have to settle for my eternal admiration. And my hope you didn't do it at work. Hate to see any of my loyal readers on the unemployment line. Until later ...