A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is little better in sports than a good, heated, Hatfields-vs.-McCoys rivalry. A couple occurrences yesterday reinforced that. Read on.
• We all know Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh don't like each other. As much as they try to sugar-coat it these days, the two haven't been compadres since their days at USC and Stanford. The rivalry between the two has been put on simmer since they've both entered the NFL, with Carroll at the helm of the Seahawks and Harbaugh controlling the 49ers. No more confrontations at midfield, no more smart-aleck remarks at press conferences – wait, that still happens, it's just a bit subtler. But that doesn't mean the pair get together for beer and pizza in the offseason. It just means the rivalry has taken a different tack. Lately it has revealed itself on the waiver wire. The Hawks released Chris Harper before the season and the 49ers snapped up the rookie receiver from Kansas State, mainly to keep him from Seattle's practice squad. OK, all's fair in love and football. So what happens yesterday? The 49ers release rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels, who had been serving as their third-string QB. The hope would be Daniels would clear waivers and sign on with the San Francisco practice squad. Fat chance. Guess who claimed him? Yep, the Hawks. Now, to be fair, Carroll has said before he would have drafted Daniels in the seventh round if the 49ers hadn't taken him a couple picks earlier. So Wednesday's move wasn't a complete surprise, not to us and certainly not to the 49ers. Or at least it shouldn't have been. Still, it has the juicy aroma of a move made just to tick the other guy off. And that's part of what makes a rivalry a rivalry.
• Carroll's former employer, USC, is looking for a football coach. We all know that. But where should the Trojans look? The L.A. Times' Chris Dufresne thinks there is one guy who is perfect: Steve Sarkisian. If Sark would be willing to leave Washington, Dufresne wrote yesterday, then USC should snap him up. The Times' columnist then went on to list a bunch of other guys who fit the USC mold if Sark decides to stay put. A typical column written when an opening occurs. Except the response was anything but typical. Dufresne was roasted on Twitter by Husky fans, none of whom want to lose the coach that has led them to a 4-0 record this season. They accused Dufresne of trying to sabotage UW's recruiting, among other things. And they raked him over the coals for suggesting any coach would want to leave Montlake for USC. Really? I know rose-colored fan glasses can distort reality, but let me be the first to break it to you Washington fans. The USC job is better. It pays more, it offers a more realistic chance to win a national title and it's a better stepping stone to the NFL, if that's your goal. Plus the weather is better and the traffic is just about a wash. But don’t worry. USC isn't hiring Sarkisian. Pat Haden has already made up his mind. He made it up early in September when he saw a conference school manhandle the Trojans with a conservative offense and a stout defense, just what he's looking for in LA. Yep, the next Trojan coach will be WSU's Mike Leach. And, yes, I'm just joking. But if it happens, remember you read it here first.
• WSU: Talk about a busy day. Jacob Thorpe hit the ground running yesterday and filled up the paper and this blog. We'll start with this piece on the basketball team then move on to football. Jacob has his first Pac-12 picks and a feature on how often Sonny Dykes (pictured) and Leach's careers have intertwined. On the blog, Jacob had a live chat yesterday along with his power rankings and a morning post today with links. ... The biggest game of the week for the conference isn't a conference game. ... ESPN.com has some more Pac-12 picks.
• EWU: Weber State hasn't been having the best of seasons. But, according to Jim Allen's story, that hasn't caused coach Jody Sears to lose his sense of humor. ... Jim also has a morning post with links from around the Big Sky and he will have a live chat later today.
• Idaho: Austin Rehkow handles the punting, kickoffs and place-kicking chores for the Vandals, something that isn't all that common in Division I football. Josh Wright has a feature on Idaho's busy freshman kicker.
• Shock: It's official. Portland will have an AFL team next year.
• Preps: Our poll question is a direct outgrowth from Greg Lee's column in today's S-R. Lee explains the reasoning behind a possible change in the GSL. ... The Crossover Classic is going to disappear. It will still be played, it's just going to be renamed. Chris Derrick has this story on the tournament honoring Linda Sheridan. ... Around the area today, we can offer Greg Lee and Sam Adams' football picks, a look at the career passing stats of Shadle Park standout Brett Rypien (pictured), Mike Vlahovich's cross country coverage, a roundup of soccer action and a basketball player making a college choice.
• Seahawks: Bruce Irvin is ready to help the beat-up Hawks this Sunday as they travel to Indianapolis. Irvin had to sit out the first four games due to a league-imposed drug suspension. ... With Irvin back and Michael Bennett emerging as a go-to guy, the Hawks' defensive front is really good. ... The Colts' head coach is happy to be able to celebrate another birthday. ... Carroll knows how tough Indianapolis will be at home.
• Sounders: Clint Dempsey may be healthy this weekend, but he will be gone right after it. ... Seattle has had little trouble with Colorado recently – or anyone else for that matter. ... DeAndre Yedlin held a live chat yesterday.
• Is it Thursday already? That means the college football and NFL weekends are already starting. And there is golf on the television. I don't think I'm getting a lot done today. Until later ...