A GRIP ON SPORTS
You know, when you are in the forest and dangers lurk all around, you are supposed to be quiet, right? Avoid doing anything that will attract the attention of the predators. Keep under their radar. Don't wake the bear. Good advice. Maybe someday I'll follow it. Read on.
• As I said last night on the postgame call-in show, I only picked the Utes because I am always wrong – and I wanted to do the Coug fans a favor. I was joking of course. I never want to do Coug fans a favor. OK, that's a joke too. I am not always wrong, but I'm not always right either. As my game-picking mentor growing up in sunny So Cal, Jesus something-or-other, used to say, "Let he who has never missed cast the first orange." At least that's how I recall it, though I can never remember Jesus' last name (and no, it was not Shuttlesworth). Anyhow, what he meant was, if you've never missed a prediction, then you can make fun of someone who did. And no one can say they've never missed one. Everyone has been wrong about something. Heck, Noah thought it would only rain 37 days and 37 nights (he put two Dodo birds on the under – it was 39 – at Caesar's and lost the bet). The last year I did the Pac-10/12 picks for the paper, I missed 25 games. That's a lot. Sure, I got 66 games right, but even I don't remember those. Such is the role of a prognosticator. You look at the facts, weigh the evidence, take into account the intangibles and throw a dart. Sometimes you hit the right answer.
• Speaking of hitting the right answer, Clay McGuire and the Cougar offensive line certainly did yesterday. I've been watching Washington State football a long time and that was the best game I've seen the line play, as a group, since at least 2007. Good running lanes (even if the backs didn't always hit them). No sacks. Heck, Connor Halliday hardly was touched. Time, usually of the essence, wasn't even a factor. I kept saying all last week this would be the test of Washington State's improvements up front and it was. The group deserves an A. As senior center Elliott Bosch said afterward, the line knew it was the group that was going to set the tone Saturday. It did. And it was the key component in the victory.
• WSU: I don't want to delay your Sunday plans, so we'll get right to Jacob Thorpe's report. There is his game story and notebook, which he did with Thomas Clouse. Tom also has this sidebar on the senior defensive backs who turned the tide early. And John Blanchette has this column on the joy around Pullman. There are also statistics, scoring, keys to the victory and a photo story from Tyler Tjomsland. Jacob filled up the blog with videos, from Mike Leach through Connor Halliday, Bosch, Deone Bucannon, Dom Williams, Damonte Horton, Andrew Furney and Marcus Mason. He also has a live chat from before the game, postgame notes and a morning post today in which he takes a jab at your's truly. (I won't bring up your picking record this year Jacob.) ... From Utah, there were stories, lot of stories, and sidebars and columns and gnashing of teeth. And that was just one newspaper. The other one also had coverage. ... Bud Withers had a column on the game along with more coverage.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan is either on his way to Hawaii or already there. Tough assignment. Sitting in a gym three consecutive days watching college basketball. That's the part I'm jealous of, not the Hawaii part. Anyhow, Jim has a feature on Adam Morrison's Maui memories and an advance of the Zags' tournament, featuring their past success.
• EWU: THIS JUST IN: Eastern received the No. 3 seed in the FCS playoffs. ... We had the end of the Eagles game on in the press box last night while doing the post-game call-in show, but I didn't get to see all the ping-pong-like final scores. I did glance up in time to see the Portland State kicker hook an extra-point attempt and that turned out to be the final margin. Jim Allen paid a lot closer attention and has this game story along with a notebook that begins with today's tournament pairings. I'm sure Jim will be back with more on the Eagles' fate here on the blog. ... Colin Mulvany has this picture story. ... The Eastern men opened up a 432-1 lead – OK, it was just 28-1, but it seemed like more – over LIU Brooklyn yesterday and cruised to a 102-70 victory in a tournament at UC Irvine. They play the host Anteaters today. You know who I would like to see win.
• Idaho: Hey, the paycheck was huge. So was Florida State's point total. (In keeping with my poor picking week, I took Idaho and the 57 points.) Josh Wright has more on the blog. ... The Vandal men's basketball team also lost – the women won though – in Portland and Josh has a blog post about that.
• Whitworth: The Pirates played their second home game. They lost.
• Preps: Central Valley won its first state 4A girls soccer title yesterday, 3-2 over Issaquah. ... Shadle Park took another step in the 3A football playoffs with a 34-16 win over Kamiakin on the road. Greg Lee was there and has the story. ... Freeman also won but Wilbur-Creston didn't. ... St. George's took third in the 2B boys soccer tournament.
• Seahawks: A Sunday without the Seahawks. What are we going to do? May I suggest: Take a walk, go to the movies, do some Christmas shopping (I am an XXL), bake a pumpkin pie, clean the gutters, watch the Red Zone. My guess is you'll only do that last thing. ... Will Walter Jones make the Hall of Fame this year? ... The Hawks have had some key plays this season.
• Actually, only one person called in last night to give me crud about my pick and he was really nice. Must be an Alaska thing. Now social media, wow, that was another story. First thing on my list for today: close my My Space account. Until later ...