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Holes in the weekend are easily filled

A GRIP ON SPORTS

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.


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• No matter how much you root for the Eastern Eagles (left), I'm sure you would love to see a blowout once in a while. Couldn't Beau Baldwin's team just hang 50 on somebody, give the third-string left guard a chance to play and let you Eagle fans' heart have a rest? Doesn't seem to be their MO, does it? Once again Saturday the No. 1-ranked Eagles played a game that came down to the final play. And that final play went their way, the case in all but one game this season. If Eastern keeps winning, everyone in Cheney will be just fine. But if the final score is just a few points different one of these days, I'm sure there will be grumbling about lost opportunities against inferior foes. Living on the edge will do that to you.

• Because I was making a guest appearance on the radio last week, I had to pick three college games. I was iffy on a couple of my picks, choosing Stanford to win the Big Game on the road (the Cardinal won and covered) and Miami to lose close to rival Florida State at home (the Hurricanes rewarded my faith). But there was one game I was sure about. Taking Louisiana Tech and giving the 30.5 points. After all, the Bulldogs, with the highest scoring offense in college football, were at home and they were playing Idaho (pictured). The poor Vandals are just not very good this season and all the uncertainty surrounding their future certainly isn't helping. I'm not sure why the powers that be in Moscow don't understand they are ensure more sad seasons like this one with the misguided notion of remaining in the FBS. The next two independent seasons will be just as tough as this one (if not tougher) but the real shame is the hole they will bury the Vandals in. It's sort of like those commercials. With such an uncertain future, the recruiting is going to dry up. When recruiting dries up, the losses mount. When the losses mount, the support disappears. When the support disappears, the program devolves into such a state it takes years to rise again. So ensure their future. Move to the Big Sky. If not, there could easily be a long, cold football winter in Moscow for a while.

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• Washington State: The football practice was relaxed and short, which probably made Christian Caple's day a bit nicer. Though an incident over night concerning basketball transfer Brett Kingma made it a bit tougher. Christian has this post on the football practice and this one on Kingma's arrest (it's also part of this news summary in the paper), along with his morning post. … I had to link this story from the Bay Area just because it's more whining about the Big Game being played in October. Remember these salient facts: The Pac-12 title game took away the first week of December this season; Stanford and Cal turned down a chance to play the game Thanksgiving weekend, when everyone else is playing their rivalry game; playing it this weekend was the least disruptive for the other 10 schools in the conference. … We learned a few things in the conference this weekend. … One last link. Former Shadle Park High and WSU quarterback Mark Rypien turned 50 this year (makes you feel old, doesn't it?) and did what a lot of 50-year-olds do: tried to make the Champions golf tour. Rypien came up a bit short in qualifying.

• Gonzaga: Yep, basketball season is getting closer. The Zags took the court Saturday to entertain their fans and will play an exhibition next weekend. Jim Meehan was at Saturday's event and has this story.

• EWU: No one seems too bothered by the close nature of Eastern's wins, as Jim Allen's story relates, so we won't be either. And, as John Blanchette's column relates, no one seems too bothered about using two quarterbacks either, so we won't be. … We also can pass along Tyler Tjomsland's pictures. … Dave Trimmer was in Cheney, covering the game for the Sacramento Bee and their readers. … An interesting day around the Big Sky, with Weber State getting its first win and Cal Poly remaining undefeated with a win over Portland State. Montana lost again (40-34 at North Dakota), as did Idaho State (52-14 at Northern Colorado), while Northern Arizona had little trouble at home with UC Davis (21-7). … One last link. Former EWU point guard Glen Dean is bouncing back at Utah from his brain injury of last year.

• Idaho: The Vandals gave up 35 points in the first quarter of their defeat but settled down a bit after that. No matter, that first 15 minutes ensured UI of its seventh loss in eight starts this season and 12th losing season out of the last 13. Josh Wright has more in this blog post. … The other two better WAC schools, Utah State and San Jose State, both won.

• Whitworth: The Pirates got back on track Saturday, unleashing its offense in a rout of Puget Sound. Steve Christilaw has the story.

• Preps: Kootenai County laid claim to a couple 5A soccer titles yesterday, with the Post Falls boys and Lake City girls winning Idaho titles. Greg Lee has the stories. … Sandpoint's boys also won a state soccer title. … Post Falls volleyball team will play in the state 5A tournament again.

• Chiefs: Former Chief goalie Mac Engel did a nice job in his return to the Arena, but Spokane was just a bit better than Prince George, winning 3-2 on a late goal. Jess Brown has the coverage. … Portland and Everett each posted wins Saturday.

• Seahawks: Despite the Hawks resting, Danny O'Neil still has an NFL column and power rankings in the Times. … The best special teams players aren't always the best players.

• Sounders: The Sounders will face Dallas today without their head coach, Sigi Schmid (right), suspended by the MLS for comments made about the officiating. Here's my comment: Schmid was right – and the MLS had to suspend him because it's embarrassing he's right. … Just because Schmid isn't on the sidelines doesn't mean anything will change. … Is the Sounders' goalie the best in the league this season? … Winning an MLS title this season will mean winning in San Jose.

• Mariners: Guess what? After about a decade of futility, the M's raised season ticket prices, in some cases a whole bunch. The best part? They didn't tell anyone, including the season-ticket holders. What an organization.

•••

• Must say, Jersey Boys was the best musical I've seen in a while. Of course, it had the advantage of featuring music from my youth, though the early songs were mostly of my (older) sister's time. By the way, while I was engrossed in the play, I was also trying to keep tabs on the college football scores, which wasn't all that hard. You have to love smart phones. Until later …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan 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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Josh Wright Josh Wright 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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