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Archive for October 2012

Taking a look at Mike Leach’s contract


FROM PULLMAN — We've obtained a copy of Mike Leach's finalized employment agreement from Washington State, and while there aren't many new details to pass along, we figured it'd be a good time to remind folks what Leach's agreement entails. Read on.

A candy-coated blog post


It's Halloween and I'm glad for one thing: It's not on a Friday night. When it is, newspapers all over America are flooded with high school football stories that begin “it was a dark and stormy night.” Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

The Eagles got back to work Tuesday, and here's my story. Here's the official release from Dave Cook at Eastern, packed with info on EWU and Cal Poly. …From the San Luis Obispo newspaper, here's a notebook … Out of Missoula, a Montana player faces drug charges, and UM has suspended three other players for undisclosed rules violations. Montana State, now ranked third in the FCS, looks forward to another high-scoring game against Sacramento State.

WSU notes before hitting the road


FROM PULLMAN — Headed to San Francisco later today for men's basketball media day, which means we won't have our usual live chat today. If you have questions, you can chip them in during our day-long chat tomorrow. On to the notes.

Promising news for Tuel, and WSU notes


FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach said on today's Pac-12 coaches call that Jeff Tuel's application for a fifth year of eligibility has been approved by the conference. Now, it's up to the NCAA. So what does that mean for his chances? It's hard to say just yet. But today's news isn't a bad sign. Read on.

Basketball season creeps closer


As we get closer to Halloween and the cold winds of November, the focus needs to widen a bit. Yep, it's almost college basketball season – heck, the NBA opens tonight – and all that entails. Read on.

Back to the grind for WSU


FROM PULLMAN — Washington State practices another three times this week before departing for Salt Lake City. But we've got other plans. Read on.

Zags favored by coaches to win WCC

Good evening. The WCC released its coaches' preseason poll and All-WCC preseason team on Monday. The Zags received 63 of a possible 64 points and were picked to return to the top of the conference after finishing second a year ago. Four Zags made the 10-player preseason team.

More here.

WSU hoops adds another


FROM PULLMAN — A quick post to note that Tanner Lancona, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Las Flores, Calif., announced on his Twitter page this afternoon that he's given a commitment to play basketball at Washington State. Read on.

Mondays with Mike Leach


FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach met with the media today for about 28 minutes. We have most of his comments transcribed below. Read on.

Gesser: Bushnell will start at QB, share reps with Davis

Idaho interim football coach Jason Gesser said that Logan Bushnell will start at quarterback Saturday versus San Jose State and will share reps — during practice and in the game — with backup Taylor Davis. Bushnell and Davis have been pushed up the depth chart after the dismissal of starting QB Dominique Blackman for a violation of team rules.

As we reported Saturday night, Blackman and linebacker Conrad Scheidt were kicked off the team after failing drug tests. Gesser would not specify why Blackman was booted, but said the violation had occurred more than once. Tight end Taylor Elmo was also suspended for violating athletic department policy.

“The whole situation the last week has been not easy,” said Gesser, who replaced the fired Robb Akey on Oct. 21. Earlier, he started his call on the WAC coaches teleconference with this: “It’s been crazy. Seven days have felt like a month for me right now with everything going on.”

We have more from Gesser below.

Defense rests a week in Seattle


Who would have thought? The Seahawks led by three. About five minutes left. The Lions have to go 80 yards to win. A tying field goal from Spokane's Jason Hanson, OK. That could happen. But giving up a touchdown to lose? Against this defense? No way. Well, dang it. Read on.

Another WSU Monday


FROM PULLMAN — The Washington State football team canceled its Sunday night practice, and will take another day off before getting back at it on Tuesday. But coach Mike Leach and three players will meet with the media later this afternoon, as usual. Read on.

UI confirms Blackman, Scheidt off team

The University of Idaho on Sunday confirmed a Spokesman-Review report that starting quarterback Dominique Blackman and linebacker Conrad Scheidt have been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules.

Junior tight end Taylor Elmo also has been suspended for violating athletic department policy, UI said in a release.

Sources told The Spokesman-Review that Blackman was booted after failing his third drug test late last week, with the Vandals on a bye. Scheidt, a senior starter before getting hurt, also failed a drug test, sources said.

Elmo was suspended for posting a Twitter message critical of athletic director Rob Spear shortly after coach Robb Akey was fired last week. Spear said Saturday night that Elmo could return this year.

Day after Northwest Nazarene

Back with a day-after Northwest Nazarene post. 

With my game story, John Blanchette's column on the new big man on GU's campus, Tyler Tjomsland's photos (great stuff!), another recap here, the fact that it was an exhibition game and the fact that the Seahawks are on, it'll be a shorter post than usual.

In graduate news, Ronny Turiaf boosts the Clippers' chances, Robert Sacre appears to have earned a spot on the Lakers' roster, Austin Daye (still listed at 200 pounds?) is in a contract year with Detroit and  Jeremy Pargo stuck with Cleveland. Micah Downs made a good run with the Celtics, but was released. Steven Gray was cut by Washington  

Read on.

There is always next week


There were no college football games to watch live in the Inland Northwest yesterday, which didn't stop Saturday from turning into a day from hell for fans. Read on.

The morning after Stanford


FROM SAN JOSE — It's a long travel day, but we still have some links for you to digest as you begin your Sunday morning. And though yesterday's game resulted in a loss, it was probably a little more encouraging than all the others. Read on.

Madison sharp in Idaho’s exhibition win

Stephen Madison had 22 points in the first half and Connor Hill picked up the slack in the second half to help Idaho hold off Seattle Pacific 77-71 in the Vandals' first exhibition game. Madison finished with 28 points, while Hill — a sophomore from Post Falls — had 11. Antwan Scott started in place of Hill at shooting guard and had 14 points.

Suspended center Kyle Barone did not play, but coach Don Verlin said after the game that the senior could return next week if his legal situation is in order. Barone was arrested on Oct. 7 for driving under the influence, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported earlier this month.

More on UI's win over Division II SPU below.

Zags cruise in exhibition

Haven't seen my game story posted on our Website, so I'll go ahead and provide a cut-and-paste version below.

The Zags cruised past Northwest Nazarene 93-45 behind a balanced attack. Six players reached double figures and Kyle Dranginis added nine points. Elias Harris returned from a groin injury, Gary Bell Jr. left after tweaking his hamstring but probably could have returned. S-R photos from the blowout here.

Unedited game story below.

Tale of the tape: Stanford 24, WSU 17


FROM SAN JOSE — Back at the hotel now and have some time to pass along our game-in-review post. Read on.

Blackman, Scheidt kicked off UI football team; Elmo suspended

Quarterback Dominique Blackman has been kicked off the Idaho football team after a third failed drug test and tight end Taylor Elmo was suspended — possibly for the rest of the year — for posting an inflammatory message on Twitter in the wake of Robb Akey’s firing, sources told The Spokesman-Review.

UPDATE: We've also confirmed that senior linebacker Conrad Scheidt has been kicked off the team. He too failed a drug test this week, sources said.

We have the full story below.

Mike Leach postgame comments from Stanford


FROM STANFORD — Here's a transcript of what Mike Leach had to say after WSU's 24-17 loss at Stanford tonight.

Olynyk will miss first three games

Gonzaga junior forward Kelly Olynyk will not be allowed to participate in the Bulldogs' first three regular-season games as a result of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the school announced Saturday.

Olynyk, who sat out Kraziness in the Kennel last Saturday and won't play in tonight's exhibition game against Northwest Nazarene, will return for the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. He'll miss games against Southern Utah, West Virginia and South Dakota.

The release didn't provide details of Olynyk's violation.

“Gonzaga's student-athletes are students first, and are required to follow all tenets of the Student Code of Conduct,” according to GU”s release. “The same rules and procedures are applied to all students in conduct and disciplinary matters.

“Consistent with university policy regarding matters involving student discipline, no further comments regarding the violation or disciplinary action will be forthcoming.”

Zags entertain Northwest Nazarene

Gonzaga welcomes NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene to the MAC tonight for an exhibition game.

Here's my short advance that ran in today's S-R. A reminder to head to later for pre-game, in-game and post-game updates.

More below.

EWU and Big Sky links

I'm late posting by blog, because 'connectivity,' as they call it in Verizon-land, isn't too great here in Cedar City. But the weather's great for today's Eastern Washington game against Southern Utah. Here's my preview, and a preview of the game from Dave Cook at EWU. From the local newspaper, a feature on SUU linebacker Mike Needham. From Missoula, a preview of the Grizzlies' game against Idaho State. Montana State hosts North Dakota in Bozeman.

WSU faces tough task at Stanford


For a season that started with such promise, I'm not sure there's much in the way of anticipation today for Washington State's game with Stanford. Well, there is some anticipation. Anticipation it won't be close. Read on.

Gameday links from San Jose


FROM SAN JOSE — Today, we have an anomaly: six games featuring Pac-12 team vs. Pac-12 team. And they're all on a Saturday. What a concept. Read on.

Scouting Stanford with a Q-and-A


FROM SAN JOSE — Tom Fitzgerald, who covers Stanford for the San Francisco Chronicle, was kind enough to answer five questions for us about tomorrow's game between WSU and Stanford. His answers are below.

EWU and Big Sky Links

I'm leaving shortly for the airport for the trip to Cedar City and will file a game preview from there. Until then, here's my feature on defensive end Paul Ena and our Live Chat from yesterday. …No news from the Cedar City newspaper, but here's a wealth of info from the Southern Utah web site. Out of Missoula, the Grizzlies look ahead to Idaho State. … The Big Sky clarified its tiebreaker procedure for football; here's a full story out of the Bozeman newspaper.

Let’s think a little out of the box


Let's see. The World Series is going on, college football is getting to crunch time and the NFL nears the halfway point. So what do we focus on today? Local college basketball, of course. Read on.

Pac-12 pick ‘em, week 9

As usual, make your straight-up and against-the-spread predictions. All games Saturday.

UCLA at Arizona State, ASU by 6.5 

Colorado at Oregon, UO by 45.5

USC at Arizona, USC by 6.5

WSU at Stanford, Stanford by 24.5

California at Utah, Utah by 1

Oregon State at Washington, OSU by 4.5

WSU heads to the bay


FROM PULLMAN — And so do we, in a few hours. Can already taste the first Double-Double. And the second, and the third. Read on.

Chiefs’ Holmberg picked for Team WHL

On the heels of a 4-2 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night, the Spokane Chiefs and leading scorer Mitch Holmberg got a bit of good news on Thursday when the Western Hockey League announced the roster for Team WHL in the SUBWAY Super Series against the Russian all-stars. Here are some notes that are running in tomorrow's paper.

Spokane plays at Everett on Friday and in Kennewick against the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. If you're jonesing for some hockey as the NHL lockout lingers, don't worry. The Chiefs are back after their pair of road games for six home games. You'll get your fix soon!

October a good month for January

Remember Briann January? The dimunitive point guard for Lewis and Clark High School?

She played basketball for the Tigers, among other things (like a state title in Track and Field), and went on to a standout collegiate career at Arizona State after she graduated in 2005. Now she plays professionally in the WNBA and in Europe. And last week January and the Indiana Fever upset the Minnesota Lynx for the WNBA title. So we caught up with January on Thursday.

Also, just an early reminder: our hoops section is off to the printer in about two weeks. Just something to keep in mind. Please, don't lose any sleep. I know it's sort of like a two-week Christmas Eve for all of you, but good things are worth waiting for. 

WSU notes on a Thursday


FROM PULLMAN — It was a typical Thursday practice for the Cougars today, as they spent a large chunk of time working on special teams before breaking into scout sessions and ending with Thursday Night Football. There isn't much news to pass along, but we do have a few notes, so read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

The Eagles are concerned, rightly, about stopping Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen, who is the focus of today's Big Sky notebook, which is loaded with information. So is this week's release from Dave Cook at Eastern Washington; it has more informnation about this week's game than I could even provide. …From Pocatello, a blog on the Mike Kramer situation, and out of Billings, a look at the challenge facing Montana State's defense against the rejuvenated offense of North Dakota.

Jack Black must be proud


What do Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval have in common, other than a love of the postgame clubhouse buffet? Read on.

Lots to read on a Thursday


FROM PULLMAN — Yet another Thursday is upon us, which means the last practice for Washington State before it travels tomorrow to Stanford. There's plenty to read this morning to get you started, so read on.

More movement at RB, other WSU notes


FROM PULLMAN — It appears another Washington State running back will be unavailable this week, which means some new faces could emerge in the Cougars' backfield on Saturday. Read on.

Vandal men picked fifth, six in WAC

The Idaho men’s basketball team was picked fifth by the media and sixth by the league’s coaches in the Western Athletic Conference preseason polls, which were released Wednesday morning. “The preseason polls are what they are,” Idaho  coach Don Verlin said. “It’s about where you finish at the end of the year and that’s what I’ll tell my basketball team. Those things don’t really mean anything until the end of the season.”

Center Kyle Barone was a first-team all-WAC selection. Barone returned to practice this week, but is still serving an indefinite suspension for an offseason violation of team rules.

Leach takes care of a social media problem


My goal was to write this intro today in 140 characters or less. Bingo. But what in the name of Twitter does it mean? Not much. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

The Eagles began their second week atop the FCS poll by preparing for Saturday's game at Southern Utah. …There's a lot of respect for SUU quarterback Brad Sorensen, whose Thunderbirds almost upset the Eagles two years ago in Cheney. More on Mr. Sorensen tomorrow, I promise…. In the meantime, I'm not finding a lot of coverage of the Thunderbirds, but here's a story from their loss to Weber State and a wealth of info from the team athletic site.

Live chat on Day 1 of Life After Twitter


FROM PULLMAN — In a world now void of tweets from WSU football players, we soldier on. And we shall tweet. Read on.

Akey on firing, discipline and more

Robb Akey told The Spokesman-Review this afternoon that he knew his win-loss record at Idaho wasn't good enough. Nonetheless, he didn't expect to get fired Sunday, with four games left in the season. Because he was let go before the end of the year, he won't receive $105,000 of his $375,000 salary — the last of two media payments for the year.

We have more from Akey in our story for the paper. Below we examine Idaho athletic director Rob Spear's comments yesterday about hiring a coach that brings discipline and accountablity to the program — and Akey's response to his remarks.

Leach: No more Twitter for players


FROM PULLMAN — Just when you think it's another day at the office with the Washington State football team, Mike Leach announces a Twitter ban. Read on.

Chiefs in Prince George for pair of games against Cougars

I saw a couple tweets from Spokane Chiefs players yesterday afternoon as they were rolling into Prince George, British Columbia, after an 18-hour bus ride that covered nearly 700 miles. I got to thinking - I've never been to Prince George. I wish part of my job was traveling to cover the road games - no matter what the distance. But with papers the way they are now, here's the response I would get if I were to suggest such a thing: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Pause for effect. Followed by more laughter. A beat writer can dream.

I have been to some away games to watch Spokane (during the 2007-08 season I visited Lethbridge (twice), Calgary, Medicine Hat, Everett, Vancouver, Tri-City, and of course Kitchener, Ontario). But Prince George - I've never been there. Good thing there are google angels watching over me. There's more below.

ISU coach Kramer suspended

Idaho State football coach Mike Kramer has been suspended for Saturday's game against Montana. Here are the details.

A frustrating fall


I feel a bit like Job this morning. Ready to look to the heavens and ask the baseball gods why they have forsaken me. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

Despite a close call last week, Eastern Washington solidified its hold on the No. 1 spot in the FCS poll after No. 2 James Madison fell to Richmond. I'll be at practice today as the Eagles prepare for Southern Utah, which fell last weekend to previously wnless Weber State. … Greg Hardin of North Dakota won the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week award after his amazing performance against Montana. Cal Poly (EWU's opponent on Nov. 3)  had a tough time with Portland State last week, but pulled away in the fourth quarter. …Things can't get much worse at Idaho State, where the Bengals fell to Northern Colorado. Meanwhile, wide receiver Derek Graves is being vilified in the social media after the shoving incident involving head coach Mike Kramer. Also in the Idaho State Journal, a commentary on the state of football at ISU and UI.

Tuesday links from WSU


FROM PULLMAN — Not real upset about traveling to northern California this weekend, considering the temperature outside at the moment. And I'm too cheap to turn the heat on. So here we go with today's links, hands unthawed and everything.

Transcript: Gesser meets media as Idaho’s interim coach

This morning Jason Gesser met with reporters for the first time after being named Idaho's interim head football coach. The 33-year-old former Washington State quarterback, wearing a black pinstripe suit with a gray tie, started crying a few minutes into the press conference when talking about the influence that Robb Akey, the man he's replacing, has had on him. “Akey’s been everything for me,” Gesser said. “The guy means a lot. … I mean, I owe my life to the guy.”

The full transcript of his comments during a 20-minute chat with the media is below.

UPDATE: We also have athletic director Rob Spear's full remarks after the jump. Spear told The Spokesman-Review after the press conference that the compensation for the new coach will be roughly the same as Akey's. Akey was set to make about $375,000 this year.

UPDATE NO. 2: Here's an early look at my story for Tuesday morning's paper.

Nachbaur picks up another part time gig

Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur is a wanted man these days. He's already on board to assist Canada's World Junior team this winter, and on Monday, the Canadian Hockey League announced that Nachbaur will be the head coach for Team WHL in the annual six-game Super Series. 

Also, if you're following progress of the NHL Lockout, your head may be spinning from all the perspectives out there. If you're interested, here's a player's view on the whole thing. Hint: he's a former Spokane Chief.

Stay tuned: we've got some surprises here on the blog for you throughout the week.

Tuel talks, depth chart notes and a TV time


FROM PULLMAN — We have a few notes for you this afternoon, along with some comments from quarterback Jeff Tuel as the Cougars prepare for Stanford. Read on.

Idaho’s decision sends one of the good guys to the sidelines


There are a lot of coaches in college football who are hard to get along with. Robb Akey was the antithesis to those guys. The larger-than-life Idaho head coach was always upbeat, always positive, always ready with a “Bubba.” He was easy to like. But he's also no longer the University of Idaho's head football coach. Read on.

A regular Monday


FROM PULLMAN — It's game week again in Pullman, as Washington State holds its usual media availability later today to preview Saturday's game against Stanford. First, we have links and such. Read on.

Sunday nights are for PKs


FROM PULLMAN — After practicing for about an hour or so on Sunday night, Washington State naturally brought in a soccer goalpost and held a penalty-kick competition. Read on.

Idaho fires Robb Akey; Gesser named interim coach

The University of Idaho has fired football coach Robb Akey and named offensive coordinator Jason Gesser the interim coach. Akey was 20-50 in less than six full years with the Vandals. Idaho was blitzed 70-28 last night by Louisiana Tech to fall to 1-7 on the year.

Akey is the first coach in the FBS to be fired this season. In 2009, he led Idaho to one of its two bowl appearances since moving up from the FCS (then 1-AA) ranks in 1996. The Vandals rallied past Bowling Green for one of the most memorable wins in Idaho history.

Akey signed a contract extension in June 2010 that was set to keep him in Moscow through 2014. According to the terms of the extension, Akey will receive his base salary — $165,796.80 per year — “until the terms of this Agreement ends or until (Akey) obtains employment, which occurs first.”

Gesser will speak at press conference at 10:30 Monday morning. UI media relations director Becky Paull said athletic director Rob Spear will not be made formally available to the media.

More below.

Day after Kraziness

Back with a day-after post from Saturday's Kraziness in the Kennel .

Yes, I forgot to post my article on the blog last night, but I did remember to tweet it. I tweeted 11 times during the event, and probably tweet more than that during a GU game. The point I’m trying to make — and I’ve mentioned several times before in this space — is is the best way to get Zag news from me. The ratio of tweets-to-blog posts is probably 15/20-to-1.

Read on for more.


Chiefs remain unbeaten at home

If you thought the Spokane Chiefs were busy last week, you were right. After a quick trip over the mountains to play their third U.S. Division game of the season (first against Seattle) on Tuesday, the Chiefs picked up a pair of one-goal wins when they hosted the Thunderbirds on Friday and former Chiefs goalie Mac Engel and the Prince George Cougars on Saturday.

The Chiefs are even busier in the week ahead. They'll board their bus tonight (Sunday) for a 700-mile drive to Prince George, British Columbia - where they'll play two more games against the Cougars. On their way back to Spokane, the Chiefs will stop in Everett on Friday to play the Silvertips, and Kennewick on Saturday to take on the Tri-City Americans.

Check back for posts throughout the week.

Holes in the weekend are easily filled


For a Saturday without the Cougars and a Sunday without the Seahawks, there sure seems to be a lot going on this weekend. Read on.

Recapping a Pac-12 Saturday


FROM PULLMAN — Saturday just meant another football practice for Washington State, which bids adieu to its bye week and begins earnest preparation for Stanford. But yesterday was busy for most of the Pac-12, so read on.

Wilson returns, Cougs toss eggs


FROM PULLMAN — Consider this a victory: today was the first time this season I had to don a rain jacket for practice. And even then, it didn't really rain. But it's most certainly fall in Pullman, as the temperature indicated during WSU's Saturday night workout. It was a short one. Read on.

Idaho overwhelmed by Tech

Twelve seconds into the game, the Vandals were down 7-0. By the end of the first quarter, they were on pace to give up 140 points. Louisiana Tech's blistering offense cooled a bit after that, but never enough for Idaho to catch up in a 70-28 loss.

The Vandals (1-7, 1-2) clinched their 12th losing season in the last 13 years.

More after the jump.

WSU’s Kingma arrested early Saturday morning


FROM PULLMAN — Washington State guard Brett Kingma, who joined the team this season after transferring from Oregon, was arrested early Saturday morning on suspicion of possession of marijuana less than 40 grams, and minor exhibiting the effects of having consumed alcohol in a public place. More after the jump.

Recalled and recall can be two different things


Talk about scary. Received an email yesterday telling me my iMac had been recalled. Something about if another computer rear-ends it doing more than 5 miles an hour, it can explode in flames. At least that's how I read the notice. I'm not sure it actually had anything in writing comparing the iMac's faulty hard drive to a Pinto gas tank, but I'm not taking any chances. Today, I'm writing this blog post on a typewriter. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

Eastern Washington is set to defend its new No. 1 ranking today against Sacramento State. Here's our preview. From the Sacramento Bee, a story on the Hornets' fast start and a feature on standout linebacker Jeff Badger. Montana State tried to make the most of a bye week following its loss to Eastern, while Montana hopes to take advantage of a North Dakota's defense. …Unbeaten Cal Poly faces Portland State

A Saturday without Cougar football


FROM PULLMAN — It comes 'round once per year — a Saturday during football season that doesn't include a Washington State football game. There is, of course, plenty of other Pac-12 action on tap, and the Cougars also practice later tonight. Read on.

Vandals get a lot accomplished

With so much in doubt the past few months, Idaho fans were getting restless. Actually, many were beyond restless. But UI athletic director Rob Spear and president Duane Nellis made two announcements Friday that put the Vandals on more secure ground. We've got the details below.

Chiefs set to wrap up home-and-home with Seattle Thunderbirds

We're a little over two hours away from the puck dropping at the Arena as the Spokane Chiefs host the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League play. Here's the notebook we ran this morning. Check this post later for links to the game story and stats from the game - which is the second part of a home-and-home series that began with a 6-4 Spokane loss on Tuesday in Kent, Wash.

I've heard that rookie goalie Garret Hughson will get his first start of the season for Spokane, and if that's the case I'm looking forward to seeing how he does in his first WHL game. 

Check back with us throughout the night. I'll have updates from the game on Twitter (@jbrown_srsports). Until then…

Vandals to unveil 2013 football schedule

Idaho athletic director Rob Spear will announce all but one game of the Vandals' 2013 schedule this afternoon in a conference call with reporters, the Idaho Statesman reported this morning. Spear is also expected to announce the Vandals will move to the Big Sky Conference in all sports besides football in 2014-15.

Spear said last week that he had nailed down 11 of 12 games for 2013. He told Brian Murphy of the Statesman that five of the 11 will be home games.

The Vandals will keep their Olympic sports in the WAC in 2013-14, according to the Statesman.

Big man commits to WSU hoops


FROM PULLMAN — There are multiple reports now confirming the verbal commitment of Shorewood High School forward Josh Hawkinson to Washington State, including this one from Braulio Perez of

According to that story, Hawkinson, a 6-foot-9, 230-pounder, will play power forward at WSU. According to, Hawkinson also holds offers from Santa Clara and San Diego.

He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game last season as a junior.

Hawkinson joins point guard Ikenna Iroegbu as the second player to commit to WSU for the class of 2013.

Here's some video:

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

49ers land the bigger blows


Did you ever play Rock'em Sock'em Robots? If the answer is no, you're probably under the age of 35. If the answer is yes, you probably wish you had the time back. But you also understand what last night's game between the 49ers and Seahawks was like. A long flurry of punches until Seattle's head finally popped up on another trap block and Frank Gore run. Game over. Read on.

A slow Friday from Pullman


FROM PULLMAN — It's another day off for Washington State's football players, their last one before resuming bye-week practices tomorrow night. But there are some Pac-12 matters to discuss, so read on.

Chiefs ready for familiar foes, faces this weekend

As the headline to the notebook I wrote for Friday's paper suggests - puck protection is paramount for the Spokane Chiefs as they head into a six-day stretch (and always, I suppose) in which they'll play four games (two at home, two on the road). That starts Friday night at the Arena, where they'll have a chance to work on some things that Tuesday's loss to Seattle revealed. Here's the link.

It’s time to do it again


It's hard to get excited again this quickly. After all, the Seahawks' big win over New England was what, 48 minutes ago? Seems like it. But, even though it's just Thursday, us NFL observers are expected to be raring to go tonight when the Hawks face division rival San Francisco in the Bay Area. If it's hard on folks like us, how do you think the players feel? Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

Eastern has a big game against Sacramento State this week, but the Hornets are making some history of their own; however, the bigger news Wednesday came out of Pocatello. That is the lead of our Big Sky Notebook, but read on for more Eastern items. And don't forget the wealth of info from Dave Cook, the SID at Eastern  … Meanwhile, North Dakota is still hoping for a spot in the postseason entering its game with Montana. …And the Griz? Morale is still high despite a 1-3 conference record. …And don't look now, but basketball season is upon us. The Big Sky women's poll came out yesterday, and the men's poll is due to be released in a few hours.

Thursday links from WSU


FROM PULLMAN — The Cougars don't practice today, but we still check in this morning with our daily dose of links. So, read on.

Akey addresses criticism

The Idaho football team is 3-16 since the start of 2011. A loss Saturday to high-powered Louisiana Tech would be Robb Akey's 50th defeat in less than six full seasons. For these and other reasons, Akey understands why “everybody’s all (ticked) off right now.”

After Wednesday's practice, he talked with The Spokesman-Review about how he and his players have dealt with the criticism. Read his thoughts below.

Cougs improve after ‘awful’ Tuesday practice


FROM PULLMAN — This time, there were no post-practice trips to the sand pit. And the tempo of Washington State's Wednesday session was much more to coach Mike Leach's liking. Read on.

Pac-12 pick ‘em, week 8

Better late than never. As usual, pass along your straight-up and against-the-spread picks.

Oregon at Arizona State (Thursday), Oregon by 8

Stanford at California, Stanford by 2.5

Colorado at USC, USC by 40.5

Washington at Arizona, Arizona by 7.5

Utah at Oregon State, OSU by 10.5 (fixed the typo)

Four more WSU players leave team


FROM PULLMAN — A quick note before practice to pass along news that, as first reported by, WSU has confirmed the departures of receiver Blair Bomber, defensive backs Matt Simmons and Spencer Waseem, and running back Tyrone Duckett. The report indicated that three players left of their own accord and one was encouraged to leave, though that player was not identified by name.

Waseem hadn't practiced for some time, though was usually present but not in pads. And Bomber had been working his way back from an undisclosed injury. None of the players practiced on Tuesday.

Hoffman: Talented and loyal

I wrote a feature that appeared in our newspaper today about a standout Greater Spokane League football player you may not have heard of: Jake Hoffman of North Central. Hoffman (pictured above) will play football at the NCAA Division I level, Where is to be decided.

What makes his story enjoyable is his loyalty. You can read about him here.

Be sure to check out our Thursday newspaper. It will be chock full of prep stories including a feature on Gonzaga Prep's rushing attack.

Also, be sure to follow all of the S-R's prep stories including scores from football games on our Twitter account: @srpreps.

Chiefs drop road leg of home-and-home series with Seattle Thunderbirds

The Spokane Chiefs opened their home-and-home series with a road loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday night. The game was only the third time Spokane has gone against an opponent within the U.S. Division, and just the third loss of the season for the Chiefs (6-3-0-0). And speaking of the U.S. Division, things are evening out. Tri-City (7-3-0-1) and Portland (7-3-1-0) are tied with 15 points atop the division and with two games in hand on both teams, Spokane is in third with 12 points.

In case you missed all the NHL news yesterday, we've got you covered here and here.

The Chiefs are back in action Friday night when they host Seattle at the Arena.

Baseball at its finest


Is there anything better than a well-pitched postseason baseball game? OK, a well-pitched postseason baseball game the Yankees lose. That's better. Much better. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

I caught up with the Eastern players and coaches Tuesday at wind-blown Roos Field. Here's my report on how the Eagles are handing being the top team in FCS. … Here's a press release from this week's opponent, Sacramento State, which is 3-1 in the conference and owns a win over Colorado of the Pac-12. .. At Idaho State, Mike Kramer is in hot water, and not because of the Bengals' poor record. … Montana is definitely not a second-half team this year. Here's an analysis from the Missoulian.

Live chat, back at it from Pullman


FROM PULLMAN — You step away for one day, and Mike Leach decides to let his offense have it. Read on as we catch you up to speed this morning from the Palouse.

Nothing better to do?


If you watched the second half of the Monday Night Football game, I have only one question for you: why? After all, with the Chargers up 24-0 at halftime the result was obvious. And there were better things to watch, like re-runs of “Friends” on Nick at Nite. So why would you stick around. Heck, I heard Mike Tirico headed over to the Coronado Hotel for a mimosa and a cigar on the beach and never came back (not really), so why did you? Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

In case you missed it, Eastern Washington is the top-ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision. Here is our story, plus a link to the poll itself. Also in today's paper is a link to Eastern's past, in the form of a feature by John Blanchette on Derek Strey, a star linebacker in 1997.

Tuesday link time


FROM PULLMAN — Washington State heads into this Tuesday with a bit different perspective than usual, given the bye week. But the Cougars still continue their routine today with practice (though we won't be there, for the first time this season) and the Pac-12 coaches call looms, as well. Read on to start the day with links.

Leach and player video


FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach has a way of getting to the point he wants to make, even if nobody asks.

Which is why he said this earlier today when asked about dropped passes in the red zone:

“All of a sudden our fragile little receivers are going to go into the end zone and get frightened so then all of a sudden they can’t catch the ball. That’s crazy,” Leach said. “They just need to learn to be tougher. Fortunately for them you didn’t ask me if you think our receivers are tough, because if you had asked me they certainly wouldn’t have gotten the answer they’d like to hear.”

So, are they tough, or  … ?

“Hell no, they’re not tough.”

Ah. OK then. At least Brett Bartolone escaped a portion of Leach's wrath.

“He may be tougher than the rest of them,” Leach said. “At least last game he certainly was. He did get after it last game, made some great plays, scored two touchdowns, certainly ahead of his time as a freshman.”

He continued.

“How do you drop four balls? Because if your hands weren’t in the way they would have hit you in the face.”

And it's not known if he was serious or not when he broke into this aside during an assessment of safety Casey Locker's play: “I think he’s physical, I think he is tough. I think, as a matter of fact, I may have him hammer on some of our receivers. For example, we’ll throw them a ball and just as the ball’s ready to get there, we’ll have Casey Locker slaughter them. We haven’t ruled that out.”

There's a Pac-12 officiating joke in there somewhere, if you look hard enough.

On to the video, courtesy, as usual, of WSU athletic communications …

Summer school for Pangos

Good evening. Back with a Gonzaga notebook, leading off with how Kevin Pangos spent part of his summer back in Canada. There's also notes on the question mark in the lineup — the '3', or small forward position — and who emerges as a team leader with the graduation of Rob Sacre.

Here's a link to my story that will run in Tuesday's S-R.

WSU vs. Stanford set for 3:15 p.m.


FROM PULLMAN — Just a quick note to pass along the news that Washington State's game at Stanford on Oct. 27 has been selected by the Pac-12 Networks for a 3:15 p.m. kickoff.

So that will make four day games and four night games for WSU so far this year. The Apple Cup is also a day game (12:30 p.m.), and game times for Utah, UCLA and Arizona State will be announced in the coming weeks, per usual.

Tuel talk on a Monday


FROM PULLMAN — Washington State senior quarterback Jeff Tuel was one of three Cougars players selected to speak with the media today. He answered questions for about 10 minutes.

WSU coach Mike Leach said Tuel will take the starter's reps with the No. 1 offense this week, an indication that he probably has a better chance than Connor Halliday to start against Stanford on Oct. 27.

Here are Tuel's comments, some of which are more enlightening than most we've heard this season.

Never give up, never surrender


Did you give up on the Seahawks early in the fourth quarter? I didn't, but I did – well, sort of – later in the game. Read on.

Monday links to start bye week


FROM PULLMAN — It might be bye week for Washington State, but nothing will change for the next few days. That means the standard Monday press conference with coach Mike Leach and three Cougars players later this afternoon, then two days of practice (Tuesday and Wednesday) before two days off. For now, we have links. Read on.

A lighter Sunday for WSU


FROM PULLMAN — Calling Sunday's practice “light” is only a description of the activity. The competition was just as fierce, but not in a way that you might assume. Read on.

Better late than … no, on-time is better


If you woke up this morning and wondered where this column was, there's an explanation. Well, an excuse really, but explanation just sounds better. Read on.

Another rough morning after


FROM PULLMAN — And another late night in the Bohler athletic complex, as this 7:30 p.m. start meant some hectic times afterward. But we've got plenty of time now to sit down and sort through the links for you. Read on.

Mike Leach quotes after loss to Cal


FROM PULLMAN — Here's a partial transcript of Mike Leach's postgame comments. With such a tight deadline, we weren't able to listen to all of his press conference, but here's what we heard.

Tale of the tape: Cal 31, WSU 17


FROM PULLMAN — It's late and deadline wreaked havoc on our coach and player interviews, but we do have our usual capsulated look at WSU's 31-17 loss to the California Golden Bears.

Idaho AD on ‘13 schedule, state of football program

Idaho athletic director Rob Spear's postgame radio interview lasted less than two minutes after Texas State dismantled the Vandals 38-7. Nevertheless he had plenty to say. We've got his comments after the jump.

Vandals go quietly at Texas State

Idaho hasn't been a good second half team all year. But the Vandals hit their low point tonight at Texas State, giving up 24 unanswered points after halftime in a 38-7 loss to a team in their first full year at the FBS level. UI (1-6, 1-1) has been outscored 138-20 after halftime this year.

We've got a full summary of Texas State's dismantling of the Vandals below.

Just make a pick dang it


There are a lot of things in life we all have to do. Pay taxes. Change diapers. Eat a balanced breakfast. Rake leaves in the fall. There are not fun, but we have to do them. It's expected. I feel that way about one task this morning. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

They take it Montana State football pretty seriously here in Bozeman, where the EWU-MSU game preview is the top story of the day. Here's a link to the PDF of the entire Bozeman Chronicle Game Day pullout section. I can't compete with that, but here's my game preview. … And from the Billings Gazette, a feature on - surprise! - MSU quarterback DeNarius McGhee. … Up the road in Missoula, the Grizzlies take on Southern Utah; here's a preview from the Missoulian.

Gameday links, plus some hoops notes


FROM PULLMAN — For the first time this year, it finally felt like fall as I drove to Bohler Gym last night. But maybe that was because I was driving to a basketball event. Read on for some more on that, plus our usual look at the Cougars' football gameday.

Zags get down to work

It's a bit of a misnomer to say that college basketball teams held their opening practices Friday. NCAA rules now permit summer and pre-Oct.12th individual and team practices, but Friday still was generally recognized as the official lid-lifter to the season.

Gonzaga opened against a backdrop of hype nationally, some of which seems warranted. This is a deep, skilled team with four capable bigs and a strong returning backcourt. However, the players and coaches were cautious about what they've seen in print, heard on talk radio or read on the Internet. That topic opens my notebook that will run In Saturday's S-R that also addresses the hand injury that kept Przemek Karnowski out of most drills and concludes with Ray Giacoletti's ties to Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Come to think of it, I failed to post the S-R article that ran in Friday's S-R. Here's a link.

As mentioned, the Zags went to work minus one rather large individual. It's the first time I've spoken in person to the 7-1, 305-pound Karnowski — though he did recall a few of our email exchanges — and other than interviewing Will Foster and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I can't remember craning my neck quite so much. He comes across as a gentle giant,seems to have a nice grasp of English and, according to his teammates, can flat-out play.

Said senior forward Elias Harris: “He's got a soft touch, can pass extremely well. Sometimes he surprises everybody, even the guards, with his passes. He's going to be a load in the post. You try to front him, but he's so big, so wide and strong, you can't push him out.”

I'll have more on the Zags on Monday.

It’s time to bounce the ball


Yes, I know it's the mid-point of the college football season. And I know high school football is in the stretch run before the playoffs. And heck, I even know major league baseball is in the midst of its playoffs. But today I'm talking a bit about college basketball. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

I'm catching a ride to Bozeman in a couple of hours for tomorrow's game, arguably the biggest FCS game of the week (now if only they had FCS Gameday …). We had a live chat yesterday, and here is the transcript. …Also, a feature on Eastern defensive end Jerry Ceja. …From the Billings Gazette, a look ahead to the game…. Elsewhere, Montana isn't taking Southern Utah lightly… From the Great Falls Tribune, a live audio chat, something I haven't tried yet.

Plenty on tap for a Friday


FROM PULLMAN — Fridays during football season — when the Cougars are playing at home, anyway — are usually pretty quiet. But not this time. There are basketball matters to tend to. Read on.

Choate on LBs, practice notes


FROM PULLMAN — Thursday means light work for Washington State, and that was the case again this afternoon. Not a whole lot to report on the practice front, though we did speak with linebackers coach Jeff Choate afterward, and have his comments below. Read on.

Holmberg, Williams keep Chiefs’ streak intact

KELOWNA, British Columbia – Both of last year’s Spokane Chiefs’ playoff stars have picked up right where they left off in the spring, and they aren’t letting up. The Spokane Chiefs started their two-game road trip by earning their fifth win of the season and third straight on Wednesday night, and you’ll never guess who scored a bunch of goals and who blocked a bunch of shots.

All that and more below.

The upside of a lockout


Today was supposed to be the first day of the National Hockey League season. But instead of arenas all over the North America prepped with bunting and brightly colored ice, they sit empty. Read on.

Grinding into Thursday


FROM PULLMAN — Another Thursday means WSU's final practice of the week before taking on California. After that? A bye week. But there is no rest yet. Not for the Cougars, and not for us. Read on.

Breske talks Cal, other WSU notes


FROM PULLMAN — It was another chippy practice for Washington State, though nothing else was out of the ordinary. We spoke with defensive coordinator Mike Breske afterward about preparing for California, so read on.

Former Chiefs on the move thanks to NHL Lockout

I got the chance to chat with former Spokane Chiefs and current Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock while he was at the Chiefs game on Saturday, and below you'll find an unedited version of the story that followed. The Chiefs (4-1-0-0) are back in action tonight in Kelowna and will take on Kamloops - ranked in the CHL's Top Ten - on Friday before returning to Spokane on Saturday to host Vancouver at the Arena.

Ken Bone previews WSU season


FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone met with reporters this afternoon to preview the beginning of WSU basketball practice, which starts Friday. Here's a transcript of his comments.

Pac-12 pick ‘em, week 7

As usual, give me a straight-up prediction and a pick against the spread.

Arizona State at Colorado (Thursday), ASU by 23

Utah at UCLA, UCLA by 8

Stanford at Notre Dame, Notre Dame by 7.5

Oregon State at BYU, BYU by 6

Southern California at Washington, USC by 12

California at Washington State, Cal by 7.5

BYES: Oregon, Arizona

Big week for the Eagles


It's Big-Game Week in Cheney, but I guess when you are ranked sixth in the nation, just about every week is Big-Game Week. Even if the game is on the road. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky football links

It doesn't get any bigger than this in the regular season: sixth-ranked Eastern at No. 2 Montana State. But to win the big ones, you have to sweat the small stuff, the Eastern players and coaches said Tuesday. …We'll see what MSU coach Ash says this morning in the coaches' conference call later this morning. Look for that story tomorrow, and don't forget about or live chat Thursday noon. The other side is taking this one seriously too. … A big problem for the Bobcats: turnovers, as this story in the Billings Gazette shows. …Montana's goals are more modest: win two straight games.

Live chat, and Wednesday links from WSU


FROM PULLMAN — A little later on today, we'll be in attendance at Ken Bone's press conference to preview the beginning of practice. Then we'll take our usual perch atop the library to watch the football team practice. But right now, it's time to read.

WAC adds two schools; Idaho AD comments

The Western Athletic Conference, shifting its focus away from football for at least the next year, will add Utah Valley University and CSU Bakersfield in July 2013. With the two additions, the WAC will have six schools in 2013-14 — that is, if Idaho doesn't bolt to the Big Sky for all non-football sports.

Asked to comment on the WAC's move, Idaho athletic Rob Spear told the S-R: “The announcement does not impact our evaluation.”

We have more below.

Up-and-down practice for WSU


FROM PULLMAN — Washington State practiced “stellar” in portions on Tuesday, according to coach Mike Leach. And other times, the Cougars weren't good enough. Read on.

Mike Leach on Pac-12 coaches call


FROM PULLMAN — It's Tuesday (breaking news, I know), which means coach Mike Leach made his weekly appearance on the Pac-12 coaches call. Here's a recap of his comments.

A simple Tuesday


I'm going to keep it simple today. There is a reason and, if your want to know what it is, read on.

Another full Tuesday from WSU


FROM PULLMAN — From Mike Leach's harsh words for his players to a quarterback decision, we have plenty to pass along from yesterday. And there is plenty more to do today with the Pac-12 coaches call and WSU returning to practice. Read on.

WSU depth chart notes and Mike Leach quotes


FROM PULLMAN — As is customary on Mondays, WSU coach Mike Leach met with reporters for about 19 minutes to discuss last week's game, this week's game, bobblehead dolls and players with “empty corpse” qualities about them. Read on for a transcript, video and some notes on this week's depth chart.

Some key prep games this week

Things are definitely getting interesting in several Eastern Washington and North Idaho football leagues.

In the Greater Spokane League, Central Valley (5-1) faces Mead (5-1) on Thursday. In key games Friday, Mt. Spokane (1-5) is at University (2-4); Shadle Park (2-4) goes against North Cenral (1-5) at Albi; and Ferris (5-1) faces Lewis and Clark (3-3).

In the Great Northern League Friday, col-leader West Valley (5-1, 3-0) goes to East Valley (5-1, 2-1) while the other co-leader, surprising Pullman (5-1, 3-0) has a bye. Cheney (3-3, 1-1) visits Deer Park (3-3, 0-2). This is a correction. I originally said the EV-WV game was at WV.

In the Northeast A League, Chewelah (5-1, 3-0) and Freeman (5-1, 3-0) face off Friday at Chewelah in what should decide the league championship.

In a game that could go far in deciding the Northeast 2B title Friday, co-leaders Reardan (4-1, 2-0) and Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (5-0, 2-0) meet in Ritzville. Reardan is coming off a big win over Colfax.

In Southeast 2B play, league-leading Tekoa-Oakesdale/Rosalia (6-0, 4-0) visits DeSales (3-1, 1-1) on Friday.

QUESTION: Your thoughts on any of these matchups?

Vandals suspend Barone

Kyle Barone, Idaho's top returning player, has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules, coach Don Verlin announced today.

We've got the details below.

Idaho K Farquhar honored by WAC

Idaho kicker Trey Farquhar, who was 4-for-4 on field goals last week, was named the WAC special teams player of the week today. The senior from Redlands, Calif., is perfect on the year at home on field goals and 10-of-11 overall. In 2011, he was 10-of-15 for the entire year, reflecting the increased field-goal opportunities he's getting with the Vandals' improved offense.

Farquhar is the first Vandal to be honored by the WAC this year. He was also named kicker of the week by College Football Performance Awards, a national honor.

Idaho (1-5, 1-0 WAC) plays at Texas State on Saturday. Kickoff is 4 p.m. PDT.

Getting hooked again brings second thoughts


A few years ago I quit watching the NFL on television. Not because I didn't like football, I did. But the games would frustrate me so. So, instead of getting upset, I turned the TV off and discovered the beauty of fall Sundays. Then my son offered me a taste of the RedZone channel. And I was once again hooked. But it turned out RedZone was a gateway video and I found myself watching the entire Seahawks game yesterday. And regretting it. Read on.

Monday notes and links


FROM PULLMAN — This week officially marks the beginning of the second half of the season. To get it started, we pass along some notes and links on a fine Monday morning from the Palouse. Read on.

Chiefs set busy off-ice week aside, win pair over the weekend

It was a busy weekend for the Spokane Chiefs, as they announced two big roster moves and hosted the Victoria Royals at the Arena in front of a little over 4,500 fans on Friday and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. 

Halliday still the starter, other practice notes


FROM PULLMAN — It was a brief practice, as is typical of a Sunday night for Washington State. But afterward came a revelation from coach Mike Leach that he's sticking with his starting quarterback. Read on.

A question of balance


After watching quite a bit of college football on television yesterday, I came up with a question. Read on.

The morning after OSU


FROM SALEM — We'll be boarding a flight back to Spokane later this afternoon, which means there's plenty of time to recap yesterday's game, and the rest of the Pac-12 action, with links. Whether you want them or not. Read on.

Idaho gets breakthrough win

It was Thursday of this week, Idaho coach Robb Akey said, that he noticed a shift in the Vandals' attitude. No longer were they lugging around their 0-5 record. “The anchor finally fell off,” as Akey described it, and he could sense his team was more upbeat with WAC play about to start.

That confidence showed Saturday in a 26-18 win over New Mexico State. We've got details below.

Tale of the tape: Oregon State 19, WSU 6


FROM CORVALLIS -- As we do after each game, we pass along our capsulated recap of what we saw, this one a 19-6 WSU loss to Oregon State. Read on.

Mike Leach speaks after 19-6 loss to OSU


FROM CORVALLIS — Here's the transcript of Mike Leach's postgame comments following Washington State's 19-6 loss here Saturday.

Let it drop; it doesn’t matter


Today is a day for ordinary effort. So, even if I drop a comma or two, maybe misplace an adverb or misuse a simile, the blog post will still be out. SportsLink's version of the infield fly rule is in effect. Read on

Homecoming best chance for Idaho win

The University of Idaho has had plenty of one-win seasons in its history. But winless seasons? That hasn't happened since 1899, when the Vandals (before they were known as the Vandals) lost to Washington State, Whitman, Wallace Athletic Club and Lewiston Normal to finish 0-4.

The point of our lead-in is not to suggest Idaho will go 0-12 this season. But if the Vandals lose to New Mexico State today, they will be 0-6 with only one or two clear-cut winnable games left on their schedule. That speaks to how poorly the season has gone for UI — and the quality of the WAC in its final season of football.

More on the Vandals' quest for a victory after the jump.

EWU and Big Sky links

Another perfect day for football in Cheney, although it will be hard to top last week's Eagle win over Montana. Tonight it'll be North Dakota, kickoff at 5:05 p.m. Here' is our preview story. Montana State, the Eagles' next opponent, faces UC Davis this week, but is still chafing over the suspension of Caleb Schreibeis over an illegal hit. … Meanwhile, Montana faces Northern Colorado today; someone has to win. …The Eagles' next home game after today? That would be Sacramento State on Oct. 20; the Hornets have a very prolific running back.

Another gameday post


FROM SALEM — We're currently sitting in our hotel, watching SportsCenter and eating a double bacon cheeseburger from Sonic Drive-In. If Mike Riley could get In-N-Out to build a restaurant in Corvallis, I'd have stayed there. Anyway, here we go with a rundown of today's Pac-12 action.

Chiefs beat Victoria on busy day in Spokane

It was a busy Friday for the Spokane Chiefs, as they announced two big roster moves and hosted the Victoria Royals at the Arena in front of a little over 4,500 fans. Earlier in the day, the Chiefs dealt overage defenseman Davis Vandane to the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional draft pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam draft, and then about 30 minutes before the game Spokane made the swift announcement that goalie Mac Engel has been sent home while he awaits a trade. Makes you wonder if there were some off-ice issues that sped the process up, because when rumors that the veteran netminder had been traded began to swirl on Facebook and Twitter on Thursday, Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz flat denied the move. The moves leave the Chiefs with their three overage players (D Brenden Kichton, forwards Blake Gal and Dylan Walchuk) and two goalies (Eric Williams and rookie Garret Hughson).

Despite all of the potential distractions, the Chiefs slipped by Victoria 5-3 thanks to fantastic play from their special teams and Williams. Here's the game story I filed. Spokane hosts Lethbridge on Saturday night (7 p.m.). Detroit Red Wings coach (and ex-Chiefs coach) Mike Babcock will be at the game to drop the ceremonial first puck. He obviously has some free time with the NHL lockout happening. I'll be sitting down with him and working on a story for early next week. Stay tuned, and keep up on everything here.

And share your thoughts. Do you like Spokane's roster moves? Like what you're seeing on the ice so far?

Mike Babcock returns to Spokane, and some other Chiefs notes

Lots happening at the Arena these days. First of all, the Spokane Chiefs are looking like a team that could do some damage in the Western Conference this season. They're 2-1, with two wins over Tri-City and a one-goal loss to Vancouver, and they've got a pair of games this weekend, beginning tonight at 7 p.m. when they host Victoria.

See below for news and notes.

EWU and Big Sky links

It's hard to believe we're already in the middle of the football season, but tomorrow's Eastern home game against North Dakota is the Eagles' fifth out of 11 (although I'm expecting a playoff run out of this team). This morning's paper includes my feature story on new EWU starting quarterback Vernon Adams. … We also had a live chat yesterday, and here is the transcript. …We'll have a game preview tomorrow, of course. My prediction: Eagles by 10. …And for more info about North Dakota than you could ever read by tomorrow, here's the release from the school. Eastern has a lot of info as well on their snazzy new web site.

The best-laid plans go awry


Being I wrote two posts yesterday, I was kind of thinking about taking this morning off. You know, sleep in, get up and go for a run, eat a fire-roasted tomato and brie egg-white omelet for breakfast and then settle down for a day of watching playoff baseball. So which one of those things do you think is going to come true? Read on.

Travel day with links


FROM PULLMAN — It's about time to hop an another airplane, but before we do, we'll pass along our daily dose of links. Read on.

Scouting Oregon State with five questions


FROM PULLMAN — After a two-week hiatus, our interview with an opposing team's beat writer is back. Today, we ask Lindsay Schnell of The Oregonian five questions about Oregon State. Read on.

Another Thursday from WSU


FROM PULLMAN — Special teams, scout work, more special teams, Thursday Night Football. It's a routine as dependable as the leaves changing color. Washington State's Thursday practice was pretty regular in its execution, but the Cougars did welcome back a pair of running backs who were limited the day before. Read on.

A statement from Reggie Moore


Yes, it's a special edition of “A Grip on Sports.” It's here because I've had some contact with former Washington State point guard Reggie Moore and he wanted me to pass something along. Read on.

A Triple Crown memory


As Miguel Cabrera attempted to become the first player since 1967 to win the Triple Crown, I sat at home and hoped he was a bit nicer than the last guy to lead a league in all three major offensive categories. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

Are we really just two days away from the next Eastern football game, this Saturday against North Dakota? The Green and White (not their nickname, but that's another story) are gearing up for an Eastern offense that doesn't look anything like Cal Poly's option game. Meanwhile, Montana is trying to move forward from last week's loss to Eastern. A game against Northern Colorado (0-11 last year and 1-3 so far this season) should change that, but the Bears are trying to change that losing tradition. Elsewhere, Montana State, which hosts EWU on Oct. 13, had a bad outing at Southern Utah, but at least got a win out of it.

Mannion, Mason and links


FROM PULLMAN — Washington State will practice for the last time on its own field today before departing for Corvallis tomorrow. We'll do the same, though far more driving will be involved. And also a decent amount of linking. Read on.

Mastro talks RBs, plus practice notes


FROM PULLMAN — And the reason we asked running backs coach Jim Mastro to talk about his running backs is because, well, there may be fewer of them at the Cougars' disposal come Saturday. Read on.

Zags ready to get Krazy

It's a sure sign of the approaching basketball season.

Gonzaga's annual “Kraziness in the Kennel” is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20, at the MAC. It's the first opportunity for the public to see the 2012-13 Zags and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors open at 3 p.m. with events, including a scrimmage, beginning at 4.

More below

Pac-12 pick ‘em, week 6

As usual, make your picks straight-up and against the spread.

Southern California at Utah (Thursday; USC by 13.5)

Arizona at Stanford (Stanford by 9)

WSU at Oregon State (OSU by 15.5)

UCLA at California (UCLA by 2.5)

Washington at Oregon (Oregon by 24)

EWU and Big Sky links

Summer is really over in the Inland Northwest. That was especially true in Cheney, where the Eagles practiced in cold, gusty wind to prepare for Saturday's game against North Dakota. The Eagles have a few injuries (see story above), but so does North Dakota. Also, here's an in-depth look at the team, courtesy of the UND Sports Information Office. Next up for the Eagles is No.2-ranked Montana State, which is getting some unlikely help at wide receiver. … Meanwhile, Montana is 0-2 in the Big Sky for the first time since 1992; here are some possible reasons why. Of course, some would trace the Grizzlies' troubles back to the spring.

A change is brewing in Seattle


It's the final day of the major league baseball regular season. It's also the first day I begin to look forward to next year. Read on.

Live chat today, mid-week links


FROM PULLMAN — Later this afternoon — at 1 p.m., for those of you interested in details — we'll be chatting on the blog, as we usually do. But now, we'll be passing along links, like we usually do. So read on, like you usually do.

Breske talks OSU after practice


FROM PULLMAN — Admittedly, the highlight of Tuesday's practice wasn't actually Tuesday's practice. It was Mike Leach talking for 10 minutes afterward about renowned artist Jackson Pollock — a fellow native of Cody, Wyo. — and his impact on abstract expressionism in the United States. It really was enlightening. But for now, we'll stick to football. Read on.

Early sunsets and late starts


As fall begins to take hold around the Inland Northwest (there are more than a few leaves turning in our back yard) and the mornings become cooler, we can only look forward with anticipation of a 7:30 p.m. football game in Pullman. It's less than two weeks away. Hurrah. Read on.

EWU and Big Sky links

Eagle fans are still enjoying the glow of Saturday's win over Montana, and the honors are pouring in for that one, but coaches and players are hard at work preparing for North Dakota. I will be at practice later today, but here's an early look at the matchup, courtesy of EWU Sports Information Director Dave Cook. North Dakota, a newcomer to the Big Sky Conference, is coming off a 35-17 home loss to a Cal Poly team that will challenge for the league title. Also from the Grand Forks Herald, here is a commentary piece on North Dakota's loss.

Notes, a first look and links


FROM PULLMAN — Before jumping on the Pac-12 coaches call and heading out to practice later this afternoon, we pause in this late evening hour to pass along some links. We hope you pause in your early-morning hours to read them.

Point guard Ikenna Iroegbu commits to WSU


FROM PULLMAN — It appears Washington State has landed a future point guard.

Ikenna Iroegbu, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, tweeted this afternoon that he gave a verbal commitment today to play basketball for WSU next season.

Iroegbu, who is rated a 3-star prospect by, is the younger brother of former WSU walk-on Chuks Iroegbu, who left the team following last season to pursue other opportunities.

Here's his Scout profile, as well as some video below.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

Mondays with Mike Leach, part 1


FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach held court for 32 minutes today, discussing his team's performance against Oregon, Connor Halliday's progression, and the difference between film study nowadays and a few years ago. A transcript of the first half or so of his press conference is after the jump, but first, a few notes.

— Leach said Halliday “probably” will start against Oregon State this week, which is as close to a sure thing as we're going to get. Halliday and Jeff Tuel are still listed with the “or” tag on the depth chart.

— The only change among the starting ranks on the depth chart is a formality — Matt Goetz is now listed as the starting right guard with Jake Rodgers listed as the starting right tackle, which is the lineup we've seen the last two games with Wade Jacobson out with an undisclosed injury.

— There's been no change to the status of Dan Spitz, who is still clearing up what Leach called “personal problems.”

— Tweeted this earlier and it's made the rounds pretty well today, but next week's home game against California has been selected for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on the Pac-12 Networks.

Akey on UNC, independent scheduling

Idaho football coach Robb Akey said this morning the winless Vandals have “washed away” a 66-0 loss to North Carolina. At the same time, he’s glad that Idaho is now “playing WAC conference people,” a reference to Saturday’s conference opener with New Mexico State at home.

But with UI still working on an FBS independent schedule for next year, Akey also knows the Vandals will have to play two to three games against BCS-conference competition. “It is what it is,” he said.

We have more from Akey after the jump.

My throat is tight as I type this


Watching a sporting event like the Ryder Cup takes an investment. An investment of time, lots of time. There are matches all day Friday, all day Saturday and then most of the day on Sunday. But the investment is worth it, because of the payoff at the end. All you heard on Friday and Saturday, as the U.S. team built an “insurmountable” lead was how this was quite possibly the greatest Ryder Cup team of all time. So, when the U.S. took a 10-2 lead late Saturday afternoon, the outcome had been determined. In about 24 hours, we could all sit in front of our television sets and bask in the glow of a dominating American win. To turn a phrase Bubba Watson would be comfortable with, the eggs hadn't been hatched yet, but it was OK to count the chickens. Ya, right. Read on.

Mid-season Monday


FROM PULLMAN — Can you believe that after Washington State plays Oregon State five days from now, the season will officially be at its midway point? Well, it will be for the Cougars, anyway. It's always midseason at SportsLink, so read on for our usual notes and links.

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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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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. 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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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent 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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