A GRIP ON SPORTS
Most hump days are a bit sleepy, sports-wise. Camel racing, sure, but not much else. Yesterday was the exception that shattered the rule. Read on.
• A typical Wednesday in the sports world around here might include a few high school sporting events, a college game and not much else. That's why Thursdays have been earmarked for the S-R's Prep Page and Four Corners, the college basketball preview page. But yesterday was anything but typical. For starters, how often does the Northwest's NFL team win the Super Bowl? Uh, never. Until now. And yesterday was when Seattle decided to hold its victory parade. The 12th man turned out, by Seattle Police Department estimates, 700,000 strong. (As an aside, I didn't believe that estimate, so I decided to count one of the overhead shots on my TV. I was up to 647,209 when I was distracted – Squirrel! – and lost count. I decided not to start over.) That alone would have made yesterday unusual. But, as they say on those late-night TV ads, there's more. It was college football's letter-of-intent day, which, like Christmas, comes but once a year. Everyone opened their presents, declared them "perfect," just like Aunt Mary's two-sizes-too-big sweater, and moved on. OK, so that happens every year on a Wednesday in early February. But the hits just keep on coming. Gonzaga almost took a huge one last night, blowing a 22-point lead and having to rally to win against Portland – at home. Speaking of rallying, the Cougars did that in the altitude of Boulder, though their last gasps feel just short. Heck, just having two of the four local Division I basketball teams playing on a Wednesday night would have been unusual by itself. But the Arena was busy as well, with the Spokane Chiefs once again being humbled by the Seattle Thunderbirds. Add it all together and it was the most packed Wednesday of the year. And I couldn't find a camel race anywhere.
• WSU: Yes, it was letter-of-intent day. Every college football coach in America said the same things. Except just one of them got to talk about recruiting Hercules. Of course it was Mike Leach. One of WSU's defensive line recruits is Hercules Mata'afa, from Hawaii. Jacob Thorpe has more on this mythic recruit and 22 others who sent in their letters yesterday in this blog post and story. ... Jacob wasn't in Boulder but we have this story on the Cougars' 68-63 loss to Colorado, which came despite a career-high 34 points from DaVonté Lacy. There is also this story from the Denver Post. ... Jacob also has a preview of the rest of WSU's Pac-12 weekend and a morning post today. ... Bud Withers has more on Washington State's recruiting. ... Want some context concerning signing day? Then I recommend reading this. Or just remember Russell Wilson was a two-star quarterback coming out of high school.
• Gonzaga: Revenge was on the Bulldogs mind since Portland was the only WCC school to hang a defeat on them in the first half of the conference schedule. But after building a 22-point first-half lead, Gonzaga went cold and the Pilots didn't. The result: A four-point Pilot lead with time winding down. But GU rallied for a 71-66 victory. Jim Meehan has the game story and a blog post and Colin Mulvany has photographs from the win. ... Jim also has a preview of the Zags' other game this weekend. ... BYU is looking for another good weekend at home. ... I was aware of this weird NBA rule that was invoked on former GU star Robert Sacre last night, but I can't remember the last time I saw it used.
• EWU: It's a big weekend for the Eagles as they head to Montana with a chance to sweep the state's schools. But history isn't the most important thing for Eastern. Staying in the Big Sky Conference race is. Jim Allen has a preview of the weekend road trip. ... He has this piece on the changing face of Eastern's starting lineup. ... Jim also has a story on the Eagles' football recruiting – it included a bunch of local players – and a blog post listing everyone who signed a letter if intent.
• Idaho: The Vandals went for the quicker fix yesterday, using their available scholarships for more junior college players and guys with speed. Josh Wright has more in this story and blog post. ... Josh also has a feature on the Vandals' Stephen Madison and a preview of the upcoming basketball weekend.
• Preps: Yes, yesterday is known around the country because football players sign LOIs. But a lot of athletes in other sports do as well. So Greg Lee put together this list of local high school seniors that are moving on in sports. Greg also has a story and blog post on a local football player who called a late audible. ... It's Thursday morning so we can pass along the Prep Page items, including Greg's column on next fall's football changes. He also has a feature on Central Valley's Mariah Cunningham (pictured) along with his notebook. ... There were a few basketball games last night and they are covered in this roundup.
• Seahawks: The big news was the celebratory parade and rally that packed downtown Seattle yesterday – and snarled both rush hours. It was a day for the fans to honor their Seahawks and for the players to return to favor. It seemed like a lot of fun despite the cold weather. ... But that's behind us now. The usual line is, what have you done for me lately? The Hawks are ready to get back to work, hoping to build on the success. Yes, they want to win more Super Bowls. And the free agents on the team say they want to stay in Seattle. ... Wilson ran over a photographer in the Super Bowl. It was guy who used to work in Spokane.
• Sounders: Seattle opened preseason with a 2-1 win over San Jose.
• There is always a problem linking stories from websites that have a limit to the number you can read in a given month. I understand that. So read this link. It explains some things. The second option is the one that seems to work best. Until later ...