A GRIP ON SPORTS
What is that old saying? A man works from sun to sun, but a online sports columnist's work is never done? Or something like that. Read on.
• For some reason I couldn't sleep this morning. Not sure what caused it, but I know it isn't what I'm about to write. It's not something that would keep anyone awake, but it is worth pointing out. I'm talking about the Gonzaga conference schedule. A tempest in a coffee pot, really, but it still kind of ticks me off. Especially after Jim Meehan took the time to try to get an explanation from the West Coast Conference office. I said try because, though he received an answer from WCC assistant commissioner Jeff Tourial, it just doesn't wash. After you've read it (and, in my case, reread it), the conference really doesn't address why GU is playing four consecutive home conference games to start the season – when the students are gone – or four on the road to finish out the year. Nothing in what Tourial said affects where the games will be played. Oh, sure, I get the idea ESPN wants certain teams playing each other in certain time slots on certain days. That's a given. But it doesn't matter to the TV partners if that game is in, say, the Bay Area or Spokane. I know because this is something I've talked with TV people about over the years. As long has ESPN has the game in the right time in their schedule, it is good. It can broadcast from anywhere. So if, for example, the second week of games were flopped (having Gonzaga and Portland playing at St. Mary's and Pacific) with the final week of the season (having the two Bay Area schools come up here) the schedule would work just fine and not violate any of the conference's scheduling rules (though now the Bay Area schools would finish with four road games instead of GU and Portland). It sure seems ESPN, if it cares at all, would rather broadcast a Gonzaga/St. Mary's game from Spokane with the students in full throat than not, so the TV aspect of it would make sense. And, by one quick flip of a weekend, there are fewer problems with the schedule. By the way, that isn't the only week you could flip home and away and still not violate the scheduling principles. Try it. It can be done pretty simply. The solutions here seem awful easy. Unless the goal is make it just a bit tougher on your showcase school.
• WSU: As the focus in Pullman shifts from fine-tuning yourself to fine-tuning the Auburn game plan, Christian Caple's focus remains the same: Give you the best coverage of WSU football possible. He does that today with a feature on the Cougars two strong side linebackers, along with his typical Thursday night practice post and his Friday morning post, which contains links. ... And I don't want to forget the new Martin Stadium scoreboard. It's big. ... The Cougars have one of the toughest schedules in the Pac-12.
• Gonzaga: In other, non-schedule-related news, Sports Illustrated expects sophomore center Przemek Karnowski to have a breakout year.
• EWU: Jim Allen was sitting at his computer yesterday answering your questions in this live chat.
• Idaho: If you've been watching the Vandals' practice thus far, you know who UI is going to start at quarterback, according to coach Paul Petrino. Josh Wright has been there and he says it will be Chad Chalich (pictured).
• Whitworth: The Pirates have an interim athletic director. But, as Tom Clouse's story explains, that title will soon change.
• Chiefs: As Spokane gets ready for the WHL season, so does all the other league teams, including the Portland Winterhawks, defending champions.
• Mariners: The M's had the day off but that doesn't mean there is nothing to pass along. The biggest news in baseball yesterday was Ryan Braun's statement about his PED suspension, an apology that reads pretty well. Whether it is sincere is up to you to decide. ... The M's Brendan Ryan is adjusting to a new role. ... Eric Wedge's return to the dugout today dominated the Seattle airwaves.
• Seahawks: It's preseason (and that's important to Pete Carroll), which means we can have NFL football on a Friday night. The Hawks – and Golden Tate – are in Green Bay to face the Packers. It's the third preseason game which usually means the starters will play a bit more. Though some of them are a bit banged up.
• Sounders: No matter what happens Sunday, it will be before the biggest Seattle crowd for an MLS game. And the second-largest all-time for a stand-alone league game.
• We'll end the week by being back on the radio from 3 to 6 p.m. You can listen here if you like. It may be the weekend, but we'll be here tomorrow. Until then ...