It's been a long grind -- 14 games in 14 weeks -- but Spokane's mood entering next week's bye will be determined by tonight's outcome against Utah. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Arena.
The Blaze have a new quarterback and a different look at several positions from last month's 52-48 win over Spokane, the middle setback in the Shock's three-game losing streak. Here's my game preview and another in the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah is sticking with Jason Boltus at quarterback.
The race is on for the second seed in the National Conference. Arizona has the inside track to the top seed. Spokane (9-4) leads San Jose (8-4) for the second seed and owns the tiebreaker with a 2-0 record in head-to-head meetings. The second seed usually has to travel in the first round, but Central Division leader Chicago is dealing with ownership and arena issues and probably would have to play on the road in the first round.
The fourth seed likely would have to open the playoffs at Arizona.
--More news out of Salt Lake City where the Blaze have fallen behind paying the rent at EnergySolutions Arena.