A GRIP ON SPORTS
I really want you to read Christian Caple's super blog post this morning. Read it even more than mine. After all, Christian is a friend and I hate the organization behind “A Grip on Sports,” so when I got up this morning, I decided to change the game plan and write boring crud, just so Christian could win today. Hope no one says anything for about, oh, 10 years or so. Read on.
• Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it? After all, I'm pretty damn competitive and I always want my blog to be your first stop no matter what. There is no way I'm throwing away even one chance to grind other blog posts into the dust. Yep, a competitive person never likes to lose. And you know who are the most competitive people in the world? NFL football coaches. They have to be. There is no way to succeed at that level without being almost insanely competitive. Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing. Remember that quote? A college football coach said it first but we all attribute it to Vince Lombardi, the quintessential NFL coach. Which is why I believe Tim Brown and Jerry Rice are full of, well, … they are mistaken. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Brown, the Heisman Trophy winner and longtime Raider star, went on record recently as saying coach Bill Callahan “sabotaged” Oakland in the 2003 Super Bowl. Brown alleged, and Rice agreed, Callahan changed the game plan at the last minute to ensure his buddy, Tampa Bay coach (and former Raider head man) Jon Gruden, would win – thus dealing a blow to Al Davis and the Raider organization. Ya, right. When a coach looks across the sidelines at someone he hates, he wants to win with a burning fire. When he looks across the sidelines at someone he likes, he wants to win with the heat of a white-hot sun. No coach ever wants to lose to a buddy. Lose to someone you hate and you never talk about it. Lose to someone you hang around with and you hear about it for years. Besides, it's the Super Bowl. You may get one chance to make a mark your entire career. Why would anyone throw it away? Gruden won, retired and parlayed the moniker “Winning Super Bowl Coach” into a multi-million dollar deal with ESPN. Callahan lost and ended up coaching at Nebraska.
• Washington State: Christian's winning blog post this morning includes Pac-12 basketball and football links. He's on his way to Eugene, where the Cougars will face the surprising Oregon Ducks tonight. I had a chance to talk with new Oregon football coach Mark Helfrich a little bit on Monday and one thing we agreed upon is Dana Altman is one heck of a coach. … Christian has an advance of tonight's game and a shorter-than-usual blog post from yesterday after Ken Bone had to cancel his local media interview. … I know leadership is tough to put into statistics, but San Diego State, which has fallen from the national rankings, is missing the leadership of a former Cougar.
• Gonzaga: It's a big week for the Zags and they need all hands on deck if they are going to get past the challenge BYU presents Thursday night. Jim Meehan's weekly notebook has a section on a starting player that has faded into the background offensively recently, Gary Bell, Jr. … Bell is the focus of Bud Withers' column today. … Two of the WCC's better players will face off in the Kennel on Thursday and neither was on the coaches' preseason All-WCC team. … Who are the best teams on the West Coast? Here is one man's opinion. One of them is St. Mary's, which is on a roll.
• EWU: It's a revamped Weber State squad that sits atop the Big Sky standings.
• Idaho: Don Verlin shared some thoughts on his team prior to the start of a key four-game homestand and Josh Wright was there to document them in this blog post. … Chris Derrick's weekly women's basketball notebook (and blog post) focuses upon UI's 3-point threat, Christina Salvatore (pictured). … Utah State has to shuffle its lineup.
• Preps: Turnabout has always been considered fair play, so it's no wonder Gonzaga Prep's boys had a fairly easy time against previously undefeated Central Valley at home last night. Greg Lee was there and has all the GSL boys action. We also have a GSL girls roundup and girls and boys roundups from around the area.
• Seahawks: The Hawks offense seems to be a bit of a throwback. But that isn't a bad thing.
• Mariners: The M's will induct Ken Griffey Jr. into their hall of fame on August 10. That's one way to get a big crowd that night. … The M's and Felix Hernandez are continuing to talk about a contract extension. Talk is cheap, right? And the past has shown so are the Mariners.
• Sonics: Sacramento isn't going down without a fight, as mayor Kevin Johnson (pictured) unveiled some of his plan to keep the Kings in California's capital. But, if the Maloofs and Chris Hansen have agreed to a deal, overturning it won't be easy. If the NBA's board of Governors (made up of owners) doesn't approve the sale to Hansen, they are inviting a lawsuit from Hansen. And if they tell the Maloofs they have to sell to a Sacramento group, they are inviting a lawsuit from the Maloofs – and opening the door for others to tell them what to do with their teams. … The responses to the newest designs of the Sodo Arena project including more complaints from the Mariners about traffic problems.
• And, yes, I know writing boring crud is nothing unusual for me. But I had extra motivation today. I did it just for my buddy Christian. Until later …