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Hallelujah, the NFL is back

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You would have thought the second coming was imminent. Or at least a cure for cancer. Nope. Just the opening of the NFL season. Oh that. You mean something really important. Read on.


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• OK, just kidding. I'm a pretty big pro football fan (and a huge fan of the RedZone Channel). By that, I mean I am way too overweight, not that I own jerseys from my favorite team, paint my face their colors and eat way too much the week after my team loses. Nope, don't go that far (though that sounds like a good excuse for my waistline, my teams stink). Maybe that's why the hype prior to last night's season opener in Denver seemed a bit over the top. Why overhype a game that is pretty special in its own right? Just let them play. Amend that. Just let Peyton Manning play. The guy was special last night, wasn't he? Minced steps and all, he was as accurate as a pro quarterback can be, especially in the red zone. An NFL-record seven touchdown passes attest to that. Do you think Ray Lewis was ripping the arms off his Laz-E-Boy somewhere? I do. The new look Raven defense, rebuilt after last season's Super Bowl win and Lewis' retirement, left a lot to be desired last night. Or maybe it was just Manning having something to prove after last year's playoff flame-out. Whatever, it made for compelling television, hype or not.

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• WSU: Any win over USC is special for the Cougars. After all, it has only happened eight times in history. Washington State will get another chance Saturday night and Christian Caple will be there. Today, he has a story on the series, a blog post following yesterday's practice and one from this morning. … The game with USC is the conference's game of the week, according to the Pac-12 blog on ESPN.com, as the Cougars aim for more than just respectability. … Want picks for the weekend? Here are some, along with a fanciful view of Stanford's season.

• EWU: The offensive line is the heart of any football team and Eastern is no different. Jim Allen has a feature today on one of the Eagle offensive linemen (Steven Forgette, pictured), along with a summary of his live chat from yesterday and a morning post with links. … Weber State is 1-0, but a much tougher game awaits against Utah.

• Preps: The weather played havoc last night with the GSL opener at Albi. The lightning that rolled through the area forced a postponement with Mead up 21-0. The game is now scheduled for Saturday. Greg Lee was there and has the story. The storm didn't stop Colin Mulvany from gathering photographs, however. … Post Falls got its game in against Graham-Kapowsin, though the Trojans may have wished it were rained out after a 35-21 setback. Jim Meehan has the story.

• Mariners: Make that 11. The number of walk-off losses for the M's this a season, that is. The 11th came last night after Raul Ibanez homered with two outs and two strikes against Kansas City closer Greg Holland to tie the score at 6. The M's bullpen was fine until the 13th, when KC's Mike Moustakas homered to win it, 7-6. … The starting rotation is getting tweaked after Felix tweaked his side. … Has Justin Smoak turned the corner? Have I written that sentence about a hundred times in the past three years?

• Seahawks: With Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers awaiting the Hawks on Sunday, the coverage is getting deeper. There is news on every practice foible, including the injuries, and there are video interviews coming out of just about everywhere. Of course, no one wants to miss a word of what Russell Wilson might say. … The Times did its season preview this morning (with the obligatory Marshawn Lynch story) and there are warnings from the past about this year's team, one that is innovative and expected to be among the NFL's best. … The team picked captains yesterday and is it a surprise to anyone Wilson was picked? … The defensive line is rounding into shape. And, with the size of these guys, I mean that somewhat literally.

• Sounders: Brad Evans had some time to talk yesterday, mainly about his calf injury. … There are others who are out as well. … The Sounders are on a long streak. A good one.

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• That's it for today. The weekend is just around the corner and with it enough football to melt your eyes and build up your glutes. Until later …


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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