A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's the weekend. Is there anything better? Read on.
• Well, if things work out, next weekend will be better. But things have to work out. Today will be great, what with Gonzaga's annual Battle in Seattle and Eastern Washington hosting Jacksonville State out at Roos Field. It's an FCS quarterfinal and, if things turn out how the Eagles want them to, it will be the linchpin for next weekend. See, the road to Frisco, Texas – the FCS national championship site – opened a bit wider for EWU last night with Towson's come-from-behind 49-39 win at second-seeded Eastern Illinois. The Tigers victory means an Eagle win today and the third-ranked Eastern will be hosting the national semifinal next weekend. Sure, the opponent will be tough but playing at home is always preferable to playing on the road. Though that's for next week. Think about it too much and today's opponent, the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State, just might make you regret it. So much of college football is focus. Focus on the play at hand, focus on the opponent in front of you, focus on the now. It's weird, but sometimes, good things like what happened for the Eagles last night, can challenge that focus as much, if not more than, adversity. It will be interesting to see how it affects Eastern this afternoon.
• WSU: It's a big weekend for Washington State. Not as big as next weekend, of course, when the Cougars play their first bowl game in a decade, but big nonetheless. Not only are the preparing for the New Mexico Bowl, but they'll do it with a large group of recruits in town. Jacob Thorpe has a story on the bowl preparation, a blog post on Friday's practice, another on Deone Bucannon's award haul and a look back at the 1931 Rose Bowl (pictured). No, I didn't see it live. ... Jacob also has a morning post with links. ... Colorado State returned to practice yesterday as well and expect to earn some important experiences from its bowl game. ... Today is a good day to play what-if with ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog mailbag. ... Former Cougar Chris Ivory has found his spot in the NFL.
• Gonzaga: Yes, the Zags host South Alabama in the Battle in Seattle tonight. Jim Meehan has an advance. ... So does Bud Withers in the Times. ... BYU will be getting another highly recruited transfer next year.
• EWU: What are the Eagles' keys to victory today? Well one of them is protecting quarterback Vernon Adams from the Gamecocks' defensive front. Jim Allen has more in this advance. ... Jacksonville State knows its defense has to be at its best today.
• Preps: As usual, Friday night was a big one for high school basketball and we have girls and boys roundups to pass along. ... Greg Lee was up at Ferris for the Saxons' exciting boys win over Mead. Jesse Tinsley was also in attendance and has photographs from the game along with more photos from the girls' contest, which leads our GSL roundup. ... I covered Central Valley's dominating second-half comeback win over Shadle Park in boys action.
• Seahawks: This weekend could do one of two things for the Hawks. It could serve as a dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl or, with an upset, put a big crimp in their plans to get back to New York. ... Pete Carroll talked about that and a lot of other things yesterday. ... The Hawks should only be missing three guys tomorrow but they are three important guys: Percy Harvin, Brandon Browner and K.J. Wright. Wright will be replaced by Malcolm Smith, a guy defensive coordinator Dan Quinn trusts a lot. The defenders trust Quinn as well. ... One last note from last week.
• Mariners: Even though the M's used yesterday to officially introduce Corey Hart and Logan Morrison – and cause a bit of a stir about their numbers – there was still reaction to the Robinson Cano press conference.
• Sounders: If you wondered about the Sounders schedule, wonder no more. It's now available. ... If you are wondering who might be a part of the Sounders, you can continue to wonder. The roster makeover continued yesterday with another trade.
• Enjoy today. Saturdays only come once a week. Until later ...