A GRIP ON SPORTS
The hype is, or should be, behind us. The game is all that's left. Today we find out if the Seahawks will be NFL champions. Read on.
• I'm going to keep this short. The pregame shows are already on, so we don't want to keep you from your nine hours of getting ready for the game. All I can say is you know where I stand. No reason to expound on it further. Let's get to the game.
• I am worried about one thing though. Before the last Seahawk appearance in the Super Bowl I was surprised with all the "Jerome-Bettis-is-such-a-good-guy" talk. The lamentations he would retire without winning a Super Bowl. Then, lo and behold, he won one. Under unusual circumstances. So unusual, in fact, the referee, Bill Leavy, apologized a couple years later. Too late for me. I had already given up on the NFL. Didn't watch it for a year or two. Swore off the activity. I came back, of course. But I see a lot of parallels between Bettis and the Peyton-Manning-legacy talk. No one wants such a good guy to be saddled with the can't-win-the-big-one label. But, for the Hawks to win, Manning (pictured) probably has to assume that role. It would be awful if this game had the same feel of the last time the Seahawks were participants. I may never return to the NFL.
• There were three huge – and tough – wins for the local Division I college basketball teams yesterday – and one really tough overtime loss. I missed the Cougars' comeback win over rival Washington but I wasn't alone. The attendance for the biggest game of the year in Pullman: 5,796. That would have been a bad crowd for a Mississippi Valley State game just a few years ago. Still, DaVonté Lacy's return (pictured), D.J. Shelton's big game and the Cougars resiliency all need to be praised. The Zags were resilient as well, winning a tight game on the road in a place they've struggled. And winning after two of their better players had to pull themselves off the floor, literally. The Eagles needed to do the same thing, figuratively, after Northern Colorado sent the game to overtime in Cheney – and they did. The hang-on, 94-90 victory was something Eastern needed badly. The only blemish locally? The Vandals blowing another late lead and falling 68-67 to Seattle University. Coach Don Verlin lit into his kids a bit afterward but I don't think it will help save Idaho's season.
• WSU: A win over Washington, in any sport, is something celebrated in Pullman. So far this season the Cougar basketball teams, men and women, are 3-0 against their in-state rivals. That's hard to improve on. Jacob Thorpe has the game story from WSU's 72-67 victory along with video of coach Ken Bone and the two players mentioned above. Jacob also has his usual morning blog post. ... The Cougar win was a bitter pill for the Huskies to swallow – and started a three-game road trip on a sour note.
• Gonzaga: The Zags were 1-3 in their last four games in War Memorial Gym. Then, early on, Kevin Pangos went down to the floor as if he were shot after tweaking an ankle. He returned. But then Przemek Karnowski was knocked down – and out for a while – by an inadvertent Kyle Dranginis elbow. He returned, but with an occasional pit stop to staunch the blood leaking from under his eye. None of that kept the Zags from distancing themselves from the Dons – and the rest of the WCC – with a 75-65 victory. Jim Meehan was in the madhouse and has this game story and a blog post. He'll be back sometime this morning with his day-after post. ... The Bulldogs dominated this year's SWABs awards. ... The Gonzaga women dominated USF – in the second half. Thomas Clouse has the story of the 101-66 victory that was 50-46 at halftime. ... Pacific upset USD in San Diego. ... In the big game of the day in the WCC, BYU powered its way past St. Mary's in a physical contest. ... Portland slipped past Santa Clara on the road.
• EWU: All it took for the Eagles to win was 38 points from Tyler Harvey and 16 3-pointers, including 10 from Harvey. Jim Allen was at Reese Court and has this game story. ... The Eastern women earned a road victory. ... Back to the men, Sacramento State's Dylan Garritty heaved in a 75-footer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a 78-75 upset over conference-leading Weber State. ... Portland State won again.
• Whitworth: Home is usually kind to the Pirates and it was again this weekend, with Saturday's 83-58 rout of Pacific (Ore.) capping another 2-0 homestand. Thomas Clouse has the game story.
• Chiefs: Spokane traveled to Everett last night and won its seventh, wait, what? The Chiefs lost to the Tips 5-4 in overtime? Stop the presses. That snaps a six-game winning streak this season against Everett. ... Speaking of streaks, Portland has won 10 consecutive games. ... Tri-City is in Alberta and picked up a win.
• Seahawks: It's a super day, isn't it? Because it is, I went out and found others thoughts about the game. Thoughts from as far afield as Los Angeles, San Jose, New York, Washington and, to mix things up, Kansas City. ... Of course, there are the columns from the Seattle area, all of which seem to be in the vein of enjoy the day (or, as one caller to our post game WSU show used to say, "savor the flavor"). That's the thrust of John Blanchette's story that anchored our coverage today, that the Hawks are the Northwest's team and the Northwest could use a win. He also has a football column as well. ... There are a bunch of stories out there with celebrity picks and the like but we're going to skip those. What does Justin Timberlake know about Percy Harvin? ... We'll pass along these stories from around the area and move on, because we know you want to get to the TV watching. Me too. ... We can't leave before mentioning Walter Jones' election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (and Ray Guy finally got in too, which will make my friend Steve ecstatic).
• Sorry, but I won't be available for rides this afternoon. I am headed down to Pullman to kick Jacob's rear-end after he volunteered me in his morning post to be the area's taxi cab. Doesn't he know I have a new car and I don't want a bunch of slobbering celebrants or crying losers in it? And that includes my family. Until later ...