A GRIP ON SPORTS
I stand corrected. Throughout my career I could always count on one thing: Football coaches would say their bye week "came at a good time." Always. I've even written that here. I never expected a coach to say any different. But it has happened. Read on.
• And it was Pete Carroll who said the unexpected. Yep, Carroll would like to keep playing. Sure, the rest is nice, but his Hawks are rolling. They rolled over Minnesota yesterday 41-20. The offensive line is getting healthy. The key offseason acquisition, Percy Harvin, is finally able to play. The record is the best it has ever been. And now the Seahawks take a week off. So Carroll, always one to dance to the beat of his own drummer, tells the assembled media horde Sunday he would rather keep playing. What the heck? He tells the truth? That's not right. There are certain aspects of the coaching code you have to adhere to rigidly and saying the bye comes at a good time is one of them. Heck, the next thing you know Carroll might even say his team expects to win before they play a team like the Vikings. You know, admit his team is better and it would be an upset if it lost. Break Coaching Code Rule No. 17: The opponent is always the best team in the history of football (that way, if you lose, you don't look bad). Or, even more blasphemous, Carroll might talk about a game two or three weeks down the schedule, breaking Coaching Code Rule No. 1: Take it one game at a time, recently amended to, take it one day at a time (the Chip Kelly codicil). But Carroll seems to be breaking a lot of rules this season, the most glaring of which is Seattle teams aren't supposed to win too much. Doesn't he know it's not about winning, it's about making money? Geez, maybe the bye week is good time to sit him down with Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln. They could set him straight. Mediocrity is where it's at Pete. That, and being grateful for your bye week. After all, it couldn't come at a better time.
• WSU: One more win. One more win and the Cougars are bowl eligible. One more win and the Cougars are bowl eligible for the first time since their fans in the first grade were born. But don't mention that to them. They aren't buying it. (I do believe there is a coaching code rule about that. Yes, there it is. Rule No. 183: Don't let your players talk about bowl games; say it will ruin their focus.) Jacob Thorpe asked Saturday night and this is the response he got. ... Jacob broke a sportswriter rule this weekend (No. 7: Never fly Delta back from Arizona after a game) and paid the price, getting back to Pullman too late Sunday to attend practice. But he did put up a blog post last night and one this morning. ... By the way, Nov. 1 I asked if the Cougars would two more games and become bowl eligible. That was the day after the Arizona State debacle. Seventy percent of the respondents said no. I asked basically the same question yesterday. You can see the results yourself on the left. It's almost a complete turnaround. ... ESPN.com's Ted Miller doesn't think the Cougars will become bowl eligible. By picking Saturday's opponent, Utah, to make a bowl, he is saying the Utes, who are struggling right now, will win. They have to if they want to go bowling. ... Yet Ted has WSU two spots above the Utes in his most recent power rankings. ... Bud Withers has some thoughts on the past football weekend. ... A couple of nice wins for Pac-12 schools in hoops, including Oregon State upsetting Maryland in front of the president and his daughters and Stanford traveling to Denver and getting a victory.
• Gonzaga: Oakland has struggled a bit on its West Coast swing but it found its footing against the Zags yesterday. The Grizzlies gave GU a tough battle before the Bulldogs prevailed 82-67. Jim Meehan has the game coverage and a blog post. He'll be back this morning with a day-after post as well.
• EWU: The Eagles knew they had to play aggressively and at their best if they wanted to upset Washington on its home court Sunday. They played aggressively but not their best, especially from the free-throw line and couldn't hang on, losing 92-80 to the Huskies. Of course, the Eagles shot a lot fewer free throws than the home team as the box score shows. Gee, I wonder how that happens? Our former colleague, Christian Caple, has more on the game from his blog on the News Tribune site, including postgame video from Lorenzo Romar and some players.
• Seahawks: OK, I have to admit I haven't watched the final three quarters of the Hawks' win. I have it on DVR and I'm going to go through it this morning. But I did listen to the postgame show while driving home yesterday and was typically impressed by Seattle's focus. The Hawks stay on message, which means they are buying into what the coaches are saying. It shows in the media room and it shows on the field. ... It was nice to see Harvin show his stuff. We may not have known exactly what he could do, but some of his teammates did. ... Carroll had more to say than just his comments on the bye, so we will pass them along. ... There are also comments from Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and Harvin (pictured). ... Seattle has won a franchise-record 13 consecutive home games. The Hawks will try for No. 14 on Dec. 2 when 8-2 New Orleans comes to town. ... Bobby Wagner is starting to play better.
• That's it for now. I have some TV to watch. Football. On a Monday. And I don't even care if I know the score. Until later ...