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WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5, 2012, 8:23 A.M.

Hey, the Cowboys are on

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The NFL is back. Wait, what? It is Wednesday, right? And the NFL is back tonight? Yep, America's team is going up against New York's better team in the premier of the National Football League, 2012 edition. But why on a Wednesday night, I have no idea. OK, yes I do. Read on.

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• If you are feeling a bit low tomorrow at work after having celebrated the NFL's return too heavily, then blame the president. No, not the president of the NFL, the President of the United States. See, the Democratic National Convention is going on right now and President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak Thursday night. So the NFL graciously agreed to move the season opener to Wednesday, as to not make his acceptance speech immaterial to a large segment of the nation. Now I don't know who will win tonight (though I do know how the Cowboys can win and that the Giants don't feel respected despite a Super Bowl crown). But I do know – and would make book on this – the game will be more fun to watch than any convention speech. Which brings up a point. Who did former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts senatorial hopeful Elizabeth Warren tick off (it is a rhetorical question; please don't answer it in the comments)? They are the speakers tonight when most of the nation's focus will be on football. Maybe Clinton volunteered, fell on his microphone so to speak, as long as he's off the podium early enough to see Tony Romo and the 'Boys score the game winner. And there's beer in his dressing room cooler. I have this vision of the former president sitting in one of those chairs with a refrigerator built in, watching football on the big screen, turning over his shoulder and yelling across the room to Hillary, who is at a desk in a cubbyhole a few feet away, glasses on, working at a computer, writing an e-mail to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin or someone. "Hils, you've got to see this throw by Romo. Bryant screwed up the route again." Hillary doesn’t look up. "I'll be there in a minute Bill. I'm busy." "But you've got to see this." "OK," she answers as she pushes back from the desk, "what happened?" "Wait, wait," Bill says while fumbling with the remote. "Let me run it back. Oh crap, I turned the station. Crap. Now I've lost it." "That's OK Bill. I'm sure it was great," Hillary says as she turns back to her computer, mumbling under her breath. "It was, it was," Bill answers as he pulls his glasses off his forehead and tries to find the right numbers on the remote. Well, at least that's how I envision it. Sort of like what happens at our house when a football game is on.

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• Washington State: A busy day in Pullman yesterday, with Christian Caple covering the Pac-12 coaches conference call (resulting in this conference notebook in today's S-R) and then attending the Cougars' long practice. He has a blog post on Mike Leach's segment on the call and another devoted to the practice. He also has his morning post today and will hold a live chat this afternoon at 1 p.m. ... The first week of the season is a perfect illustration why a playoff is needed and why polls have no place in a national championship format. ... Hey, more politics. The President's brother-in-law, who also happens to be the Oregon State basketball coach, did some national recruiting from the DNC podium. And, no, it's not an NCAA violation. Just a bit hinky.

• EWU: Evan Cook plays the game with a smile on his face. Wait until he reaches his goal of becoming a coach. The Eagle defensive lineman will find it harder to smile then. Jim Allen has this feature on Cook. ... The EWU volleyball program is in flux what with injuries and the head coach resigning. Jim Meehan's volleyball notebook leads with the Eagles. ... There is a big FCS matchup this weekend involving the Montana Grizzlies and for once it is not in Missoula.

• Idaho: San Jose State almost upset Stanford last week and it knows why it didn't. ... Utah State hopes to strike a blow for the WAC by defeating Pac-12 foe Utah in what might be the last game between the two in Logan.

• Chiefs: It's time for cuts and the Chiefs made a few.

• Mariners: For most of the game last night it looked as if the M's would hand Boston another loss. Then came two big flies in the sixth inning and the Red Sox had pulled out a 4-3 win. The Mariners led 3-0 but didn't score after the third inning. ... Felix Hernandez was the American League pitcher of the month for August, which didn't elicit any tears. However, the call-up to the bigs of two Rainiers certainly did.

• Seahawks: The biggest question for the Hawks entering the NFL's opening weekend – they play at Arizona on Sunday – is the health of stud running back Marshawn Lynch. The big guy's back is bothering him and no one is sure whether he will play. If not, Robert Turbin, the rookie from Utah State, will have to play a lot.

• Sounders: It's not just that Steve Zakuani is back from his broken leg, but that helps. Helps what? The midfielders score, something the Sounders group has been doing more often lately.

• Golf: U.S. captain Davis Love III made his picks for the Ryder Cup team yesterday, taking three guys who can putt and one guy who hits ii a mile.

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• By the way, the Clinton scene above was meant with admiration. No matter your politics, it just seems the guy is a down-to-earth fella who enjoys watching football, like a lot of us. He just happens to be the former leader of the free world. And his wife just happens to be the Secretary of State. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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