A GRIP ON SPORTS
Not too long ago, Pac-12 football media days were sleepy little affairs that only interested the hardcore fans. Sort of like Pac-12 football. But that's all changed. Read on.
• Like a lot of things in sports, the coming of the 24/7 news cycle on cable and the Internet has changed the public's perception of college football media days. But it wasn't until Larry Scott (pictured) took over as the Pac-12 commissioner the conference really embraced the change. So now the conference makes a huge deal out of it. Good for the Pac-12. After all, its media day is the unofficial kickoff to the football season, so why not celebrate? After a summer of mostly negative or non-news news, it's about time to get back to talking about things that really matter, like who will be Arizona's second-string tailback and why USC's punt-team gunners are better than those at Oregon State. You know, the minutia that makes college football so much fun. That's the focal point of media day. I've sat in the audience while coaches are asked questions concerning the topics of the hour, even if that topic has nothing to do with football. I've listened to questions about rivalries, about injuries and about society. I've taken notes related to weight gain, weight loss and weight lifting. And each time I've found it fascinating in a Johnny Depp-career-choice sort of way. (Tonto, really?) The best stuff never really came on the podium anyway. It came when the video cameras were turned off and the coaches were trying to gulp down a few bites before they hit some more television interviews. For some reason, most guys are a little more candid while trying to get a piece a dry chicken past the back of their parched throats. All in all, it was a fun day – for the media at least. I'm not sure the coaches and players who are in attendance would agree.
• By the way, as I was finishing up this morning, the picks were announced. Oregon is the media's choice to win the conference title, while UCLA was picked to win the South. WSU was picked sixth in the North.
• WSU: Christian Caple is in Los Angeles for the media day, which will begin hard on the heels of this post. He put up the schedule last night and also the picks the conference demands a week in advance. Yes, he has WSU last in the North. Our poll today ask you your opinion. I would have picked them fifth, though if the offensive line comes together they could challenge for the fourth spot. ... There are stories from Tucson to Seattle and just about every spot in between as we head into the festivities this morning. I don't know what's more fun, the stories about the media day itself or stories that try to actually answer football-related questions.
• Gonzaga: It's not official just yet, but it is going to happen. Adam Morrison is headed back to GU to serve as an assistant coach. Good for him. I ran a basketball practice this spring with Adam and was impressed with the way he related to the players. He'll help Gonzaga. Jim Meehan has a blog post and a story on the news.
• Idaho: Josh Wright has a quick note on the Vandals football camp.
• Mariners: You know, the M's aren't playing half-bad right now. They have won nine of 10 after last night's 8-2 rout of the Twins (despite three errors) behind Ishashi Iwakuma and have pulled within four games of .500 again. And they have three more games with Minnesota this weekend. ... Eric Wedge and his health woes are still on everyone's mind, including the opposition.
• Sounders: Seattle hosts Chivas this weekend, hoping to continue a recent streak.
• Seahawks: Of course, after an offseason of glorious expectations, training camp was welcomed with a dose of bad news. Percy Harvin's hip problem hit everyone like a Gatorade bath, only there was no celebration involved. The next few days will be accompanied by up-to-the-minute reports about his labrum and hysterical speculation on what it means to Seattle's Super Bowl hopes. ... The rest of the team participated in its first day of training camp and went about their business. Including a healthy James Carpenter. Let's hope he stays that way.
• MMA: John Blanchette has a column concerning an upcoming nationally televised fight for Spokane's Mike Chiesa (pictured above) and what it means for his career.
• One nice thing about Fridays. The weekend is basically here. Until later ...