A GRIP ON SPORTS
I am not ready for this. I get up to get a cup of coffee, look outside and it's raining. Not a nice summer shower either. A cold, nasty, hard late fall type rain. hat the heck? I blame all you folks who couldn't wait for football season to get here. Your collective consciousness has messed with the local environment and brought on an early autumn. You can all go to heck in a hand basket – whatever that is – as far as I'm concerned. Read on.
• OK, I vented. I know it's not your fault it's only going to be 64 out there today. And it's not your fault it's supposed to rain all morning. But whom do I call to complain? If the weather is going to go northern climes all of a sudden, why can't it do it on a Saturday, when there is a full slate of football on the tube? Wednesdays are no good for this stuff. Heck, even in this day and age of football seemingly every night of the week, there's nothing available on Wednesdays. Nothing good anyway. The Seahawks play Thursday night – there will be a Grippi in attendance, celebrating his 30th birthday – so it would have been fine for this moisture to come through about 3 tomorrow afternoon, giving me time to hunker down in front of the TV. But today? What good is that? Heck, the sprinklers have already taken care of the lawn so even the grass was satisfied. Seems like poor scheduling to me.
• I guess the fall-like weather is pretty appropriate, however. Look at the weekend we have coming up. Tomorrow night the Hawks will open defense of their Super Bowl title by hosting the denizens of "Titletown, USA." It should be quite a show. Friday night the Cougars take over ESPN with another non-conference game, this one against Nevada in Reno. A win is really needed if they want to go bowling two consecutive seasons. And then Saturday, huddled among a full slate of matchups between some of the nation's most high-profile schools, little ol' Eastern Washington will venture into the Huskies' den to face the state's flagship university. It's the type of weekend that makes your toes tingle in anticipation. Will there be routs? Sure. Upsets? Hopefully. Blown calls, mistakes, great catches, hard hits, clichés spouted from the booth? Yep, all those things. And, to top it all off, the Hawks don't play on Sunday, so you can schedule some time with the family. There is no must-see game around here that day. It's a win-win for everyone. And, heck, it's even supposed to be sunny and warm from tomorrow through Sunday. Well, nothing's perfect.
• WSU: The Pac-12 has its coaches talk with the media on a conference call each Tuesday – of all the things I don't have to do anymore now that I'm retired, sitting in my Pullman apartment listening to then 10, now 12, coaches answer questions is probably atop the list of things I miss the least – so there is usually one or two or 15 conference-centric notebooks in Wednesday newspapers. Jacob Thorpe has his today, of course, and also has his picks of the weekend's games. He didn't get off to a great start last week, though it's only for entertainment purposes. And we were entertained. ... The biggest subject of yesterday's call? The Steve Sarkisian row with David Shaw last season (pictured), as Sark's USC team meets Stanford in a big conference showdown this week. ... Back to Jacob, he also has a couple of posts, including a practice report from last night and a links-filled post from this morning. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has some numbers to prep you for this weekend's games. ... Oregon State rounded out its basketball recruiting class for next season with some key commitments. The Beavers kept it all in the family.
• Gonzaga: You want to know which WCC team has national drawing power? Just check out how many times Gonzaga will be on the ESPN family of networks this season. Jim Meehan has a story and blog post on the Zags' 13 appearances.
• EWU: Don't think because Washington is in the Pac-12, has won more big school national titles than anyone else in the Northwest and has its pick of recruits in the Seattle area that it is intimidating to the Eagles. Just the opposite. As Jim Allen reports in this story, it's more of a motivating factor. Jim also has a morning post with links. ... Christian Caple has a story on Vernon Adams (pictured) and how the Huskies are worried about what he can do.
• Idaho: So when will the Florida game be ironed out? When the rain turns to snow probably. John Blanchette has a blog post with an update.
• Indians: Speaking of rain, Chris Derrick was in Vancouver all ready to cover the NWL playoff series and the rains came to southwest Canada. So no game. He does have a story however, which I guess should have served to warn me of what was ahead here this morning. ... Hillsboro took a 1-0 lead in its series with Boise and now heads home.
• Seahawks: So Marshawn Lynch is meeting with the media this year. Want to talk football? The answers will be short and sweet. Ask about his foundation, though, and he can go on for a while ... Bryan Walters was cut Saturday. He returned this week. And he'll probably be returning punts tomorrow. ... There are some guys who may miss the opening game. Bruce Irvin hopes he's not one of them. He's just happy to be back at practice. ... Will there be a Super Bowl hangover?
• Mariners: James Paxton was dominant for six, seven, almost eight innings. Then the sure-fire M's bullpen almost gave away his game. As it was, Fernando Rodney stranded the tying run on second as the M's held on for a 6-5 win in Oakland. ... It looks as if Lloyd McClendon has lost some faith in Chris Young.
• I figured it out. Today is the first day of school in Spokane. The rain is nothing more than tears of joy from moms all over town, as they finally have their mornings and early afternoons back. Or maybe they are tears of sorrow losing time with the little ones. I don't know. Until later ...