A GRIP ON SPORTS
I'm not much of a late-night guy anymore. But, like a lot of you, I stayed up through the end of the Stanford vs. Washington game last night and I'm glad I did. I learned a couple things. One is Washington is pretty darn good. The other is "indisputable video evidence" is different in different circumstances. Read on.
• Thursday night Iowa State lost to Texas when the replay official, despite a handful of different views of a fumble at the end zone, decided he couldn't piece together enough evidence to overturn a poor call. OK, though a little logic should have been applied, I understand the inability to discern "indisputable" out of that. But last night, on a fourth-and-10 play for the Huskies at Stanford, the video official was able to justify overturning a call on the field and it ended up deciding the game. There were a couple differences. The official at Stanford may only have had two replays to base his decision – that is all ESPN showed us at home anyway. And neither replay was all that clear on whether or not Kevin Smith caught Keith Price's pass for a first down or not. Did the ball leak through Smith's hands and touch the ground? One angle seemed to show just that, with the nose of the ball looking as if it got through, but man it was tough to tell. On Thursday, I could take the four or five replays I saw, see where the knee was on one, where the ball was on another and make a decision that it was a fumble. But an indisputable decision? I'm not sure. Last night I couldn't even convince myself the ball got through to the ground. I was surprised, honestly, the official on the field called it a catch. It happened right in front of the Stanford bench and usually the screams of incomplete have an effect. If that had happened, I believe there wouldn't have been enough evidence to overturn the call. There may not have been enough to overturn it anyway, but it happened. And Stanford escaped with a win.
• There was little need for replay in the Cougar game, as Washington State rolled over California for the first time since 2002. The last WSU quarterback to defeat the Bears? Jason Gesser. And what does the most recent one, Connor Halliday, have in common with Gesser? They are both tougher than steel. Gesser used to play through pain all the time. Halliday set a couple of WSU single-game passing records yesterday and nearly got the holy grail, the most passing yards, with a bum hip and other maladies. You could see the agony he was feeling on one occasion, when he rolled out and tried to twist his body to make a throw. His face showed all the anguish he was feeling, and his helmet took the bullet when he got back to the bench, as he pounded it against a piece of equipment in frustration. Otherwise, Halliday was stoic, despite whatever pain he was feeling. But what would you expect? Here is a guy who finished a game against Utah a couple years ago while bleeding internally. The Cougars had to win. They knew they were playing for Paul Wulff's job. And they lost in overtime. Then Halliday went to the hospital. Is it any wonder Halliday's teammates have his back? He's shown – and continues to show – he deserves the support.
• WSU: Jacob Thorpe has covered one Washington State game as the Review's beat writer. And he's seen one victory, a relatively easy 44-22 over California at that. Hope he doesn't think that is they way they all are going to end. He powered through some technical difficulties yesterday to put together his report that includes, in the paper, a game story, a notebook, the statistics, how they scored and the keys to the victory. On the web he has video interviews from Mike Leach, Halliday, Marcus Mason (pictured), Vince Mayle and Ioane Guata, along with a partial summary of his pregame live chat, a postgame blog post and the morning post today with links. ... Speaking of coverage, sports editor Joe Palmquist has a column today explaining a little about the Review's coverage of college sports. ... Ted Miller still sees WSU in the New Mexico Bowl. He also tells us what we learned this weekend and gives Halliday a helmet sticker. ... California was beat-up after the game, though one player who suffered a scary injury to start the second half seems to be OK.
• Gonzaga: Mark Few is in Yakima this weekend talking at a coaching clinic. That was the backstory behind this feature.
• EWU: The Eagles had a lot more trouble with Weber State than anyone might have imagined, finally pulling away for a 41-19 victory. Jim Allen has the coverage as Eastern opened Big Sky play. If you are more of a visual type, we pass along Tyler Tjomsland's photographs.
• Idaho: There was some bad blood in the Kibbie Dome yesterday, with Fresno State coach Tim DeRutyer telling anyone who had a microphone at halftime the Vandals were trying to hurt his quarterback. And that the Bulldogs were going to give Paul Petrino, who DeRutyer blamed, what "he deserved." He backtracked a little after the game, but Fresno State still handed Idaho its worst home loss ever, 61-14. Josh Wright has the game story and a blog post, the latter with video of Petrino.
• Chiefs: It took two overtimes, but Spokane was able to get past host Everett 1-0 on Liam Stewart's goal.
• Preps: The prep football season is already headed into the home stretch, with half of the game played. Greg Lee takes a look at the second half and tells us what each of the GSL's schools have to play for. ... Chris Derrick was at the finals of the Linda Sheridan Volleyball Classic and has this story. ... We also can pass along our roundup of Saturday's other action.
• Mariners: Why were the M's so bad? A lot of reasons. Here are some of them.
• Seahawks: Another tough one awaits the Hawks in Indianapolis today, with the undefeated Seahawks having to be close to perfect to win. At least that's how it seems. But that was how it seemed last week as well and they weren't and still did. Near-perfect I mean, and they won. ... To get Bruce Irvin on the roster, Seattle had to let a player go. They picked a receiver, Stephen Williams. ... Where do the Hawks rank among NFL teams? ... Marshawn Lynch has a little less money today. He paid extra for his green shoes of last week (see picture).
• Sounders: Clint Dempsey was the lucky one. He got to stay home. Then again, the way Seattle played in Denver it was as if the whole team stayed home. They lost 5-1, one of the worst defeats in franchise history. ... Sigi Schmid didn't think his players stayed in Seattle, but he also made it known they couldn't think they just could show up and win.
• That's it for this morning. Sorry it was so late. But we have already figured out what we will be writing about tomorrow, so don't miss it. It will be fun. Until then ...