A GRIP ON SPORTS
If you are going to see only one high school football game this year, today is probably the best day. After all, it's not often around here you get to watch a prep game and get a sun tan at the same time. Read on.
• That was a joke, though it is odd today's Shadle Park vs. Ferris game will start in bright sunshine (and about 90-degree weather). You think of high school football and the first thing that comes to mind is Friday Night Lights. But when there is just one field for five Spokane and two Mead high schools, not everyone can play under the lights. Thus today's 4:15 start. On one side you have the Shadle Park passing attack, headed by quarterback Brett Rypien (pictured). The nephew of Mark and another in a long line of outstanding Rypien athletes, Brett is being recruited by schools as far away as the South. You know, where football is a religion. The Highlanders are never out of a game, not with a passing attack that can score from anywhere on the field. On the other side is a Ferris squad featuring one of the best offensive lines the area has seen for a while. It's a group that also has players who are being recruited far and wide. So there is no shortage of talent on display this afternoon. What might be missing is the atmosphere of a Friday night. The early start for this early season showdown – Shadle is the GSL's 3A favorite while Ferris, courtesy of last week's win at Central Valley, has assumed the mantle of the 4A favorite – will cut into the crowd a bit. Not the die-hard fans of either school, no those folks would be there if the game started at 11 a.m. But the let's-go-see-a-prep-game-this-Friday-night crowd won't be there. By the time that group gets around to looking for a game to watch, this one will be in the books. That's too bad because, with the proliferation of football games on TV nearly every night of the week (including quite a few high school games), that group has shrunk. It's too easy to satisfy your football Jones in the Laz-E-Boy instead of an aluminum seat at the local high school site. But if your afternoon is free today, if you want to get away from your own Mr. Dithers for a while, head out to Albi, buy a ticket and plant yourself on either side. You'll see a game worth the price of admission. And you might even get a bit of a tan.
• WSU: The Cougars are looking at a 90-plus degree game this weekend when they host Southern Utah, the pride of Cedar City. The Thunderbirds feature a strong ground game, the subject of Christian Caple's story in today's S-R. Christian also has his Pac-12 picks, a post following practice, a morning post and a recap of yesterday's live chat. At the bottom of his morning post, Christian includes the news he will be leaving the S-R in a couple weeks, headed to the West Side to work for the Tacoma New Tribune covering UW. I'm sure you'll join me in wishing him all the luck in the world dealing with that Seattle traffic. He'll need it. ... If you are a fan of the Pac-12 and have DirecTV, you won't like this story from Bud Withers. ... More Pac-12 picks. ... Finally, Yahoo.com published a major expose yesterday on a handful of SEC football players who allegedly received a bunch of money while playing college football recently. One of them, tackle D.J. Fluker (pictured), was a key member of Alabama's last two national title teams, and actually admitted the behavior on Twitter last year, though his agent said his account was hacked (ya, right). I read the report and was in awe of the supporting documentation Yahoo was able to present. And I can assure you, if the Crimson Tide doesn't end up having to give up those titles, your friendly neighborhood USC fan is going to blow a gasket. There is more evidence of wrongdoing on the Yahoo website right now than I ever saw related to USC and Reggie Bush, so they may have a point.
• Gonzaga: One of the two recruits for women's coach Kelly Graves this season has decided not to attend GU. Chris Derrick has more in this blog post.
• EWU: Though Toledo is 0-2, both losses came on the road to SEC schools. The Rockets hope to turn their record around this Saturday when they host 2-0 Eastern. Jim Allen has an advance of the game along with a morning post with links.
• Chiefs: The WHL season starts in 10 days and the Chiefs have some things to clean up before then. Chris has coverage of their 2-1 preseason loss to Tri-City last night in the form of this story and a blog post.
• Shock: The roster for next season is coming together, as Jim Meehan's blog post explains, but there is still one big question: Will quarterback Erik Meyer return?
• Mariners: The M's (and their fans) seem to be in wait-until-next-year mode. Seattle seem to be playing out the string as the M's were swept by Houston – yes, Houston – in a three-game series. The final defeat last night came by a 6-1 score. It's the type of games, and series, that can get people fired. ... The Mariners will miss Brendan Ryan in the clubhouse, on the bench and at shortstop.
• Seahawks: Rivalry? What rivalry? That seems to be the attitude of the two coaches as the Sunday night showdown with San Francisco inches closer. But no matter what Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll say, you know there is bad blood between these franchises these days. ... The Hawks are getting healthier and hope to have a pretty full plate this Sunday. ... Two guys who can't get hurt are the teams' quarterbacks. They are too important to each. ... The Hawks signed a backup tight end to bolster a position that is dinged up. ... There is no shortage of video interviews available from after Wednesday's practice. ... Don't mess with the guy in the 49er jersey. He might be a cop. ... The Seahawks might be well represented in next year's Hall of Fame class. ... The noise should be record-setting Sunday.
• Sounders: There will be a huge crowd in CenturyLink on Friday night when the Sounders, trying to extend a bunch of winning streaks, host Real Salt Lake. ... With the U.S. National team already Brazil-bound, they MLS teams should lose fewer players in next month's matches. ... The team extended its uniform contract with Xbox
• That's all we've got for this morning. I hope your Thursday is a good one. I have a full plate thanks to a bunch of chores that just keep piling up. Heck, I get so busy it might make sense to get a real job. Then I can just say no to being Mr. Handyman. By the way, I don't want you to miss this story. And, yes, I am a Jack Nicklaus fan. Until later ...