A GRIP ON SPORTS
What's the deal with Halloween these days? We had less than a dozen costumed crusaders show up on our doorstep last night. Everyone couldn't have been down in Pullman, could they? Read on.
• Checking the attendance numbers, no, they couldn't have been. And, by the end of Arizona State's 55-21 win over the Cougars, there were fewer people in the stands than were wandering our neighborhood at 6 p.m. last night. But really, a regular Thursday night game in Pullman isn't conducive to strong attendance. And in the Halloween aspect of the game and you are eliminating at least half your target audience, young alums who enjoy making the trip from Seattle or Yakima or Kennewick or Spokane for the game. Not good. They are not going to miss their child's Halloween to attend a college football game, especially one they can watch on TV after getting back with a bag full of Milky Ways and Twizzlers. So the lean attendance figures were easy to see coming. What wasn't easy to predict was the Cougars' lifeless performance. Talk about the Walking Dead. The defense couldn't tackle anyone in the first half. The offense couldn't hold onto the ball in the first quarter. Not a good combination and a recipe for a devilishly bad night. I think I listened to Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer talk more about Stanford and Oregon than I heard Connor Halliday's or Mike Leach's names. Again, not good. About the only saving grace of such a disaster is those folks who did decide to make the drive could head home early enough to get up for work in the morning. Lucky them. Well, at least the Cougars can get right back on the horse … in almost three weeks. They don't play again until Nov. 16 in Tucson. By then, Arizona will have played two games. Yep, two. While the Cougars practice. Thanks ever so much Pac-12. And thanks ESPN for the inappropriate starting time. Yes, the Martin Stadium improvements are great. And, yes, the money came from the TV networks. But the non-monetary costs for the conference's football fans is pretty steep. And that rhymes with sleep, which none of us are getting these days. Not with two-thirds of the conference games starting after the street lights are on. A few more performances like last night's though will solve that problem.
• WSU: I did some checking and the 169 points the Cougars have given up in the past three games is the most since yielding 186 in a three-game stretch midway through 2008, Paul Wulff's first season. Since then, WSU never even gave up 100 points in two consecutive games. The Cougars have done that twice in a row now. … Jacob Thorpe was in Pullman and put together his usual game coverage, which includes a story, a notebook, keys to the game, scoring and statistics. … John Blanchette was also in attendance and added this column about the Pac-12's new late-night menu. … Tyler Tjomsland adds a photo essay from the game. … Jacob also had more on the blog with a live chat before the game and notes afterward. … Bud Withers had a column in the Times following Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott's press conference. … Former Cougar safety Hamza Abdullah had a few things to say about the NFL on Twitter yesterday. Not nice things.
• Idaho: Josh Wright checks in this morning with a feature on Vandal receiver Dezmon Epps (pictured).
• Preps: The Ferris Saxons clinched the top 4A postseason berth last night with their 21-20 win over Mead. But that's not all. They assured themselves at least a share of the GSL title. … Mt. Spokane is also headed to the postseason in 3A following its 41-13 win vs. Rogers. … Greg Lee has the coverage of Coeur d'Alene's 31-14 win over Post Falls (fixed from earlier). … Madi Farrell and Lake City are just happy to be playing for a state volleyball title. Chris Derrick has the story. … We also can pass along a roundup of other Thursday night prep action.
• Seahawks: When it comes to talking, the Hawks are not shy. … Richard Sherman did some talking earlier this year on Twitter and he stands behind it. … Pete Carroll talks about Percy Harvin. … Dan Quinn talks about the defense. … The offensive line isn’t using its injuries as an excuse. … What should you know about Tampa Bay? … Yes, we are halfway through the season.
• Sounders: The Timbers and the Sounders have a playoff rivalry that dates back to the mid-1970s, though this week's edition should probably draw more fans than the teams did back in the NASL days. … Portland knew it would be playing Seattle and prepared accordingly. … The schedule isn't something the players dwell on. … Because the Seahawks play Sunday, there will be football lines on the pitch Saturday. … The Sounders' goalkeeper is going to be experienced. … Eddie Johnson had more on his mind than just the match.
• That's it. I put this post together when I got home following the postgame show last night, so if there are grammatical errors and typos, I'll blame them on being tired. At least this morning I have an excuse. Until later …