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Though it’s hard to see because of the smoke, football is just around the corner

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It doesn’t seem all that bad out there this morning. And the absence of bad air is a good thing. Read on.

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• Though I may have spoke too soon. The pall that’s been over this area for a about a week now continues, forcing a change in outdoor habits and some schedules. The Cougars used their indoor practice facility yesterday to get out of the smoke. The Idaho/WSU soccer match was postponed a day in the hopes the smoke would either dissipate or blow somewhere else. Such is life right now in the Inland Northwest, where wildfires are destroying a way of life and more than a few folks’ livelihood.

• Think about this. We are at the beginning of the final full week of the year without college football. Yep, next week will see the kickoff of the season, a season in which defending national champion Ohio State is as prohibitive a favorite to win the national title as I can remember. Yesterday, the Buckeyes became the first unanimous No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll. Every AP voter from every part of the country discarded every other team and picked OSU atop the first poll. That’s impressive even if you, like me, feel the first few polls are not all that worthwhile.

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• WSU: As we said, the Cougars practiced in their indoor facility. With the preseason camp basically over and game prep right around the corner, we are in the time of year – which means from now until the season ends – in which WSU football players are off-limits to the media except after games. Coaches are still available, however, so Jacob Thorpe has a couple of videos of coaches Clay McGuire and Joe Salave’a (pictured) included in his practice report. ... Jacob also has a morning post with links and a blog post on the newest commit in the class of 2016. ... Wait, I almost forgot. His position preview today focuses upon the linebackers. That would have been embarrassing. ... If you haven’t seen the video of USC coach Steve Sarkisian from Saturday night, I suggest not watching it at work. Or in front of kids. The language isn’t appropriate. Sark apologized for his behavior though Bill Plaschke wonders if the Trojans have a problem.

• EWU: The Eagles got their soccer match in – they were in New Mexico – and won again.

• Indians: Spokane played at home Saturday night and on the road Sunday, which isn’t the way the NWL schedule usually works. Whatever, they rallied to win 4-3 in 11 innings at Eugene.

• Seahawks: A few bits and pieces here, including grades from Friday night’s loss at Kansas City as well as Bob Condotta’s third try at assessing the 53-man roster. The scary thing is he has Kam Chancellor on the reserve list, which would mean the contract standoff would continue. ... The Hawks might have had Jarryd Haynes if they were willing to give the rugby star a bit of guaranteed money. ... Brandon Mebane is getting older – and better. ... One way to learn is to watch the veterans and try to play like them.

• Mariners: The M’s took a six-run lead midway through the game with White Sox yesterday. Then the bullpen happened again. Only this time, the guys in the pen – including Tom Wilhelmsen, who pitched the ninth – did enough to ensure an 8-6 win. Taijuan Walker relaxed a bit too early but still picked up the victory. And the M’s newest reliever, Logan Kensing (pictured), played a role in the decision. ... James Paxton made a short rehab start yesterday.

• Sounders: Watching the Sounders play on the road in the Champions League takes a bit of an effort.

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• We’ll be posting early this week due to some early morning commitments. So if news happens just before 9 a.m., we won’t have it for you. Sorry. Until later ...




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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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