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It is a very good year

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Will we look back on 2013 as the year everything turned around in Northwest sports? Maybe. Read on.


••••••••••

• Honestly, it's hard to argue this year hasn't been successful, even with a few weeks to go. OK, not in a “we-won-the-title” type of year, but more along the lines of “we-built-the-foundations-for-future-success” kind. I know that isn't as sexy, but it may be more important in the long run. The Seahawks are the best team in the NFL and the Super Bowl favorite. The Mariners are finally showing signs of life, spending money with abandon in an attempt to become relevant again. The Sounders already spent a ferry full of money and they actually reached the top of the MLS standings, if only for a while. Chris Hansen got awfully close to bringing the NBA back to the state of Washington – and he's still trying to reach that goal as well as attracting the NHL. The Cougars are back in the bowl business after 10 years wandering in the wilderness. The Huskies replaced a former savior with the guy everyone has tried to lure away from Boise State, Chris Petersen. Gonzaga reached No. 1 in the college basketball polls this year and seem to have little trouble continuing to win despite three NBA players leaving the program in the past two years. Eastern is challenging for another FCS title after going undefeated in Big Sky play this past football season. Heck, the best Division II basketball team is in Seattle in Seattle Pacific, with local players dominating the roster. Yep, even if you aren't a glass-half-full type of guy, you have to admit things are looking up around here. The only people who aren't happy are the pessimists among us, who feel vindicated when the world is falling apart. But those folks don't have to worry. The next big freefall is just around the corner. I promise. And you know how much that is worth.

•••

• WSU: It's been a long time since the Cougars have been to a bowl, of course, but there are still folks out there who know what it's like. Jacob Thorpe caught up with some of them recently for this story. … Jacob also was busy on the blog, with a live chat, a transcript of the New Mexico Bowl press conference, a practice report – it's finals week in Pullman so the Cougars went late last night – and a morning post with links. … The Denver Post has a story on Mike Leach's effect on the WSU program.

• Gonzaga: With the Zags picking up a win Monday night in West Virginia, Jim Meehan returned to the blog yesterday morning for a day-after post. … BYU picked up an easy home win Tuesday night. … Who is the best in the WCC, Pac-12 and Mountain West?

• EWU: From the Department of Unintended Consequences, it isn't easy watching game film from Eastern bright red football field. At least it isn't easy for Jacksonville State's coach. Jim Allen has more as part of his FCS notebook. … Jim also has a story and a blog post on the Eagles possibly losing their defensive coordinator, John Graham, to Central Washington, which is looking for a head coach. One of Graham's competitors for the job is also a finalist for Whitworth's opening (see below). … Jim has morning links today as well and will hold a live chat. … Weber State was the Big Sky preseason favorite but haven't played like it. … The Wildcats did hire a football coach, looking to Utah's staff for Jay Hill.

• Idaho: A trip to Missoula is not the most fun basketball trip of the year. It wasn't for the Vandals last night as they lost to UM 69-58. Josh Wright has more in this blog post.

• Whitworth: The Pirates are looking for a football coach. Former Idaho head coach Chris Tormey seems to be interested as he was reportedly on campus interviewing yesterday.

• Chiefs: The Everett Silvertips would rather not play in Spokane. Each time they have, since 2010, they have left with a defeat. The latest came last night. The score was 5-3. Chris Derrick has the story and more in this blog post. Jesse Tinsley was in the Arena as well and adds these photographs.

• Preps: It's Thursday, which is Prep Page day. Which means Greg Lee has a column, though the subject isn't a happy one. And it is also the beginning of the prep wrestling season. Greg has a feature on Central Valley wrestler Colton Orrino (pictured) and we have previews for the GSL, Inland Empire League, GNL and Northeast A along with a roundup of Wednesday's action.

• Seahawks: One thing you can count on each week. The Hawks will make a roster change, even if it is a minor one. That's what they do. … Many of the roster changes are in response to injuries. So are lineup changes. With K.J. Wright out this week, in steps Malcolm Smith, a guy who doesn't fit the mold. … Pete Carroll always meets with the media on Wednesday and looks at the upcoming opponent. This week it is the New York Giants, who started the year 0-6 but are 5-2 since. … Yes, Russell Wilson is still in the news, but this news comes from baseball. … Earl Thomas is still thinking about Frank Gore's run.

• Mariners: The M's rebuild continued yesterday with the free agent signing of big (6-foot-6, 235-pound) Corey Hart (pictured), who missed all of last season with the Brewers rehabbing a bad knee, and a reported trade for Marlins' young slugger, Logan Morrison. … The M's aren't done just yet, either, with the possibility of another free agent signing or a trade. If the trade is for left-hander David Price, however, he won’t be signing a contract extension, according to his agent. … Gee, if they had changed this rule years ago Ray Fosse might be in the Hall of Fame. … Former M's outfielder Mike Morse has signed with the Giants. … The Times Ryan Divish held a live chat yesterday from the winter meetings, as did former M's beat writer Geoff Baker.

• Sounders: All the signings the Sounders made last year in an attempt to win the MLS title? The price is being paid now. And no title was forthcoming.

•••

• That's our report for today. I will be joining Keith Osso and Rick Lukens on 700 ESPN again this afternoon. You can listen here between 3 and 6 p.m. Until then …


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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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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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