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A GRIP ON SPORTS

Second by second, it's getting closer. Thank goodness. If we have to read another story on how great Peyton Manning and the Denver offense is, or how stout Richard Sherman and the Seattle defense is, we may just explode like the guy at the end of the first "Total Recall" movie. Read on.

••••••••••

• Three of you had the courage to put your picks up here on the blog and a fourth, Glenn Duggan, tweeted me his response in less than 140 characters. (He picked the Hawks, by the way.) So there is no excuse for you not to put your thoughts down on paper, or the computer equivalent. You get to use a pseudonym, so don't be shy. If you're wrong, no one will know who you are. Unlike me, who will put my thoughts here Saturday morning.

• There are other sports going on in the world, though it's hard to realize it with the Super Bowl being in New York and all. After talking Super Bowl – and other things – for almost three hours, I joined Kim at the Gonzaga women's game where the Zags dismantled Santa Clara, 89-37. It wasn't a very nice homecoming for the Bronco coaching staff which includes three women (head coach Jennifer Mountain, assistant coach Stacy Clinesmith and director of basketball operations Angie Bjorklund) with deep Spokane ties. By early in the second half, as Gonzaga was stretching the lead into the 40s, I watched Mountain, who played at GU and was the St. George's boys coach before returning to Gonzaga as a women's assistant, just drop her head and shake it. It was that type of night. And Kim got two T-shirts out of the deal. "One size fits all" isn't really true in my case.

•••

• WSU: No game, no problem for Jacob Thorpe. He just gets on the blog and highlights the best freshman basketball players in the Pac-12. ... Then news breaks – the Cougars hire a soccer coach – and he covers that. Of course he puts up a morning post today. ... Need a college football fix? We have this Pac-12 recruiting story from USA Today.

• Gonzaga: Thomas Clouse probably had his game story written by halftime – the outcome was decided by then – last night. I'm not sure if Colin Mulvany took all his pictures in the first half, but he could have. The second half was more of an exercise in Gonzaga fast-break basketball. ... The St. Mary's women, who handed GU its only loss, defeated BYU in Moraga while Pacific upset USD. ... On the men's side, Jim Meehan returned here for his day-after post late yesterday morning. ... And there were a couple men's games last night, with BYU riding Tyler Haws' 38 points past Pacific, 88-78, and USD shutting down just about every Gael in a 61-43 home victory. The teams trade opponents Saturday with St. Mary's really needing a win at BYU to stay in the regular-season race.

• EWU: For a while the Eagles' problem was defense. Lately it's been putting the ball in the basket. Whatever, it's meant some tough losses lately, including last night's 73-61 loss to North Dakota. Jim Allen has the game story. ... Portland State is playing better and handed Northern Colorado an 80-57 defeat last night. ... Weber State picked up a big win at Northern Arizona and Montana got past Southern Utah 69-61. ... Finally, I pass along this story about the 1984 Montana State Division IAA football title because the guy who scored the game-winning touchdown is a friend of mine who moved away last year and I miss our regular coffee get-togethers.

• Preps: It was a lot closer than expected considering their records, but Central Valley boys held off U-Hi in the Stinky Sneaker game last night. We have a roundup of all the prep action from Thursday.

• Seahawks: I'm not going to whine. I'm just going to write a bunch of sentences about the Hawks and the Broncos and put a link in about every other positive word. It's up to you to figure out which stories you want to read. You have an eclectic choice. However, I will point out John Blanchette's column on the Hawks' only true legacy and his notebook on what's happening in New York. After that, the stories cover a bunch of subjects, from Red Bryant, who met the media yesterday, to Manning's passes (and their trajectory), to the keys to success for the Hawks and Broncos. The Seattle Times published its Super Bowl preview section today (the cover is pictured, mainly because I admire the artwork) so there are about 25 stories there, of which I link about half. And that isn't all the coverage the paper has. And lest I look like a Seattleite, I also have a link or two or three from Denver. ... By the way, guess whose stuff sells better than anyone in the NFL? Yep, Russell Wilson, who seems to be a great guy.

• Mariners: Raul Ibanez won this year's Hutch Humanitarian Award. He deserved it.

• Sounders: It's official. Fredy Montero is not coming back.

•••

• One more day of radio duty on 700ESPN with Dennis Patchin and Rick Lukens before the Super Bowl. I'm not sure who I'm going to pick but it might be different than who I will pick to win here. That way I get it right no matter what. No, I can't do that. It wouldn't be ethical and the good Franciscan fathers at St. Francis whipped the ethics into me with their rope belts. But it is tempting. You can listen to us on the radio between 3 and 6 p.m. Until then don't forget to post your picks for the game. It's a critic-free zone. ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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