A GRIP ON SPORTS
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
• And don't you be throwing any beer bottles at the computer. After all, your interpretation of ordinary effort may be quite a bit different than mine. But once the call is made, too bad. Even if I can't figure out how to spell antidisciplinarian or something like that, too bad. The call has been made. Doesn't matter if there is no way I can ever get the spelling down – or even if the word never existed in the first place – the call has been made by that one lonely grammarian in the left-field corner. So there is no arguing, no protesting, nothing. The call has been made. By the way, why use the term “ordinary effort” anyway? Doesn't that leave a lot up to interpretation? Consider, like Derek Jeter, I've lost a lot of range over the years. My ordinary effort these days, like Jeter's, isn't nearly what it was a decade ago. And when I've been up too late, or had a bit too much Diet Coke the night before (again, just like Jeter), my ordinary effort isn't as good as it is when the conditions are perfect. I'm never been as good a writer as Bob Ryan, just like Jeter never was as good a shortstop as Omar Visquel, so if you're trying to decide ordinary effort, do those guys have more leeway than me or Jeter? Ah well, the call has been made. I'm just going to let it drop.
• Washington State: When I was trying to figure out how many games WSU would win this season, today's game with Oregon State was in the toss-up category. Going into today, I figured the Cougars would be 3-2, with wins over UNLV, EWU and Colorado and losses vs. BYU and Oregon. The final eight minutes of the Colorado game has been the only variation from that scenario, so WSU has come pretty close to holding up its end of the bargain. But Oregon State hasn't. The Beavers have only played three times due to a bye and a hurricane, but they are undefeated and ranked 14th in the nation. Is it a mirage? Maybe. I still believe today's game is a toss-up, though the keys for the Cougars will be how well the offensive line keeps Connor Halliday and/or Jeff Tuel upright and how well the defensive backfield plays. If those two position groups play well, I see the Cougars pulling an upset. But getting both in the same day might be tough, so I'll go with OSU, 35-27, and call it a day. … Christian Caple has his usual game-day items, including a morning post, an advance and a two-minute drill. … OSU star receiver Markus Wheaton is the subject of this Q&A with the ESPN.com Pac-12 blog. The blog also has its weekly mailbag.
• EWU: Sandwich time in Cheney. Today's North Dakota game is sandwiched in-between last week's rivalry win over Montana and next week's crucial trip to No. 2 Montana State. But Jim Allen writes the Eagles are focused on today's game and nothing else. … Weber State pushed Cal Poly up and down the field and still lost, 45-23 to the Mustangs.
• Idaho: If the Vandals are going to win a game this season, today seems to be the right day. New Mexico State, winners just once this season, is in town and the Aggies situation is remarkably similar to Idaho's. Josh Wright has the story and a blog post this morning. … BYU got great pitching from its defense and stopped Utah State 6-3 in Provo. Wonder if there were any umpire decisions that changed the game?
• Whitworth: It's a battle of undefeated teams (and underappreciated ones as well) at the Pine Bowl this afternoon. Jim Meehan has the advance.
• Preps: Speaking of home wins, we were at Gonzaga Prep last night to watch Griffin Hare – a sign of getting old: I kept wanting to call him Connor, his older brother's name – run all over North Central, 45-12. The Indians, one of the GSL's five 3A schools, had 31 players suited up for the game (I counted three times to make sure), about half of what I usually remember for a GSL team. … Greg Lee was at Albi and he covered Ferris' 28-7 defeat of Mt. Spokane and Mead's 57-13 rout of Shadle Park. … Mike Vlahovich was at Central Valley's 47-14 rivalry win over U-Hi. … If you are counting at home, that was 4A schools 5, 3A schools zero for the week, with four of the games lopsided affairs. … Elsewhere, Jim Meehan covered Coeur d'Alene's 51-7 domination of Post Falls, there were some great performances and we have this roundup of the rest of Friday night's action.
• Seahawks: The Carolina Panthers have a bit different offensive look than most NFL teams, mainly because they have Cam Newton and no one else does. … Good news on the injury front. … Third down has been a problem and a focus at practice.
• Mariners: More off-the-field changes for the M's yesterday, one of which was their call, the other – a pretty big deal according to the experts – was not. … Looking back at some preseason predictions. … Our rant above concerned the Cardinals' NL wild card win over the Braves of course, as a too-quickly-called infield fly rule might have turned the winner-take-all game around. … The Orioles didn't need much help in dispatching the floundering Rangers.
• Sounders: So why are Sounders' fans getting to vote on their GM? It was Drew Carey's idea. Just like Hollywood, huh? … Even if the Sounders win on Sunday vs. the Timbers, they will need some help from Vancouver to win the Cascadia Cup. … Eddie Johnson is headed back to the U.S. national team.
• It's football Saturday, right? What games will you be watching? If I didn't have a work obligation this afternoon, I would probably head out to the Pine Bowl for an early autumn day in the sun. Or maybe out to Cheney to mumble about the red turf. But instead we'll be in front of the TV and then in a radio studio. If you have something to say, go ahead and call during our show at 1-866-COUGTALK or 1-866-268-4825 (THIS IS A FIX FROM EARLIER). Dennis Patchin and I start about an hour after the WSU game ends and go for about an hour. Until later …