A GRIP ON SPORTS
One of the charges of this daily column is to highlight the local items. If you read it consistently, you'll find news and commentary related to all things local from the neighborhood prep ranks to regional professional sports. But big national news events like the Super Bowl are a bit more problematic. Finding the local connections sometimes takes a bit more digging. However, as my dad used to say, digging is the only way to find nuggets. Read on.
• The easiest local connection to this year's Super Bowl is through Jim Harbaugh. After all, he did coach at Stanford and the Cardinal played in the Palouse a couple times while he was there. And then there is the hard-to-overlook fact his team, the 49ers, just happens to be in the same division as the Seahawks. So we could link every story that mentions Jim, though that would probably cause your eyes to fall out and most certainly my hair to do the same. We'll pass, though this story from the Chronicle on the dutiful son Jim helping dad Jack's program is too good to pass up. So is Jerry Brewer's column on Jack Harbaugh that covers some of the same ground – but quite a bit more. That's the easy part. What I've been waiting for, and finally found today, is the Mike Iupati story. I knew it would show up eventually and the San Jose Mercury news did it. If you don't know, Iupati (pictured when he was in Moscow) was an under-the-radar recruit at Idaho who blossomed into one of the best offensive linemen the school has seen – with Jerry Kramer and Mark Schlereth among its alums, "one of the best" is not a bad thing to be. Iupati was a first-round draft pick of the 49ers and is a crucial part of their offensive success. So we have a couple of subjects with local ties to pass along today. I would consider that a success.
• Washington State: The Cougars are on the more traditional Thursday-Saturday game schedule this week, which means coach Ken Bone's press conference will be two days before the week's first game, not one. Christian Caple, who has his morning post, will be back this afternoon after Bone meets with the media. ... The Register-Guard's Bob Clark has his usual Tuesday morning Pac-12 notebook.
• Gonzaga: The Zags held media day yesterday and Jim Meehan was there. His emphasis in his weekly notebook concerned the scout the assistant coaches put together for the week's games. What goes into a scout of the opponent? I tried to explain that a few years back in this story. ... Also included in Jim's notebook was the news the Zags had risen to seventh in the polls.
• EWU: It seems like it's been awhile – because it has – but Eastern returned to Reese Court last night. And the Eagles played as if they were happy to be home, handling Portland State behind the play of Parker Kelly and Venky Jois (pictured). Jim Allen was there and has the story. ... Colin Mulvany also has a bunch of photos. ... The Oregonian has this story on the game.
• Whitworth: The Pirates rose in the rankings once again and are now ranked third in the nation.
• Preps: I pass this correction along here, because I linked the Seattle Times' Red and White Chip rankings in this spot Sunday. Seems there was one player, a WSU recruit, left off the list inadvertently.
• Seahawks: The Hawks defensive line coach decided to follow Gus Bradley to Jacksonville.
• Mariners: Larry Stone has a few players he's interested in watching during spring training, which isn't all that far away. ... Geoff Baker had an interesting look at the M's offense yesterday. It is worth reading. ... This story broke while I was writing this morning. Wonder if this will turn out to be the final straw for Alex Rodriguez?
• As usual, Tuesday's aren't the most crowded of mornings. A good thing too, as there is more snow on the ground to worry about. Summer can't come soon enough for me. We'll be back here tomorrow and hope you will be here as well. Until then ...