A GRIP ON SPORTS
You know it's not a good day in regional sports when you have to rely on the Mariners to bring you a dose of optimism. Read on.
• Let's just review what happened yesterday around here. Stanford hammered Oregon and the term "literally" almost applies. I swear I saw a couple of Cardinal offensive linemen pull sledgehammers out of their jerseys. How else can you explain the holes they opened in the Oregon front play after play? Now it doesn't look as if a Pac-12 school will win a national title - again. The Sounders are hammered in Portland and the term "literally" almost applies. I swear some of the Seattle players must have over-imbibed in the first half. How else can you explain such an embarrassing effort when the MLS playoff series was still in doubt? And the Mariners introduced their new manager – or as Art Thiel dubbed him, their newest scapegoat. Lloyd McClendon said all the right things, came off with the right level of humor and gravitas and won the press conference – something general managers love. But can he win on the field with the team Seattle has? Who cares? Right now, today, Nov. 8, it's all about optimism and hope. The new guy is here to save the day. I'm surprised he wasn't wearing a white hat, a string tie and strumming on a guitar. After watching highlights of McClendon's press conference I am all fired up for spring training. Who cares if the M's don't have any consistent hitters, lack speed and need middle relief? It's Lloyd's time and we're all supposed to buy in. Our optimism won't be hammered down until, I don't know, June or July.
• Speaking of strumming a guitar, I had to pass this video along. It's just too darn good. For a singer, Rick Neuheisel was an OK football coach. By the way, this is the right one. For some reason I pasted the wrong video earlier. It's called "Born in the SEC."
• WSU: The Cougars held their Thursday Night Football session last night despite the bye week and Jacob Thorpe was there. He passes along the information in this story. He also has more information, of course, with his morning post and this post from yesterday concerning a new football signee. Running back Calvin Green, a high school senior from Sacramento, Calif., signed a financial aid agreement with WSU yesterday. Green utilized a new NCAA rule – what, new rules? I'm shocked I tell you – that allows seniors on track to graduate early to bypass the usual letter of intent deadline and enroll for second semester at the college of their choice. See, quarter schools could always sign an early graduate in February and he could enroll in time for spring football. Semester schools, like WSU, were out of luck. When Green graduates high school in December, he now can enroll in Pullman in January. The change allows a leveling of the playing field for all colleges. ... Jacob has all the links you'll need to the Stanford victory, but we'll add this instant analysis and Jon Wilner's Pac-12 picks. Wilner correctly picked Stanford to win, citing the Ducks' porous run defense. And his knowledge of the sledgehammers the Cardinal offensive line carries. ... There is basketball news, what with the Cougars opening their season tonight. ... Oregon will be without its two suspended players for nine games.
• Gonzaga: The GU women's soccer team has won more matches this WCC season than ever before. ... BYU is ready to open its season, facing tough in-state opponent Weber State tonight. The Cougars also missed out on a prized recruit.
• EWU: For the Eagles to defeat Montana State on Saturday, they will have to get great cornerback play. T.J. Lee is ready, as Jim Allen's story points out. ... Jim also has links this morning and held a live chat yesterday.
• Chiefs: It seems like it is Tri-Cities turn to be hot. First it was Spokane, then Portland. Now it is the Americans.
• Preps: North Central rallied in the second half to get by Roger, 20-7 last night in the Indians' final football game of the season. ... There was also soccer and volleyball action last night, covered in this roundup.
• Seahawks: You have to love Richard Sherman. He says what's on his mind. Whether it is giving his views about how he would handle the commissioner's job or about his opponents, he seems to tell the truth. ... The playoff loss to the Falcons last season still hurts. ... The offensive line will be patched together again this week due to injuries. ... Russell Wilson says he is fine.
• Sounders: When Seattle decided to bring Clint Dempsey in midway through the MLS season, the ownership was showing it was willing to spend money to win a championship. But the team never seemed to mesh for whatever reason – coaching, injuries, national team duties, chemistry, jealousy, I've heard them all – and now the season is done. Finished at the hands of the rival from down south, the Portland Timbers. The final score last night was 3-2, Portland, but it wasn't that close. The easy narrative is the Timbers' team play overcame the Sounders' stars, but I don't believe that. It seems more appropriate to say the Timbers peaked at the right time while the Sounders best play came a couple of months ago. ... Portland will face Real Salt Lake in the next round.
• Mariners: Yes, McClendon was introduced to the media yesterday. What do you think? I'm willing to give the guy a chance. But I will say this is Jack Z's third shot at hiring a manager. If you fail three times in baseball (as in strikes or outs) you should be done.
• Is it already Friday? This week seemed to pass quickly. I know one thing. I am ready for the weekend. Until later ...