A GRIP ON SPORTS • It seems like a good morning to pass along some statements. Not from the big names in sports, but just our own. Read on.
• I hate the Yankees.
• The whole night college football thing is starting to wear on everyone, from fans, who were the first to raise the alarm bells, to the media, who aren’t important, to coaches, who have kept relatively silent as they rake in the largesse of the networks, who don’t want anyone complaining.
So when are the players going to start popping off? Soon, probably. When a coach the stature of Urban Meyer stands up and talks about night games vis-à-vis the player experience, then there is cover.
• Did I mention I hate the Yankees?
• Our Dave Nichols has a story today on Tanner Christensen committing to the University of Idaho basketball program. I’ve been lucky enough to witness first-hand the development of the 6-foot-9 U-Hi center from a big kid into a big kid who can play at that level.
Christensen plays during the summer for Eastern Washington Elite, the travel group of which I am a part. Two summers ago he improved markedly during our journeys throughout the Western states. Last summer he reached another level, competing inside against the West’s best bigs and helping our Red team – which includes GU-bound guard Brock Ravet – defeat some of the more talented teams up and down the coast.
Even more important, he’s a great kid.
• The Yankees: Do you hate them as much as I do?
• Not sure you have been following the wildfires in California, but we have family in the area, so we have. Though they live south of the burnt area, they are experiencing smoke problems just as we did a month or so ago.
It’s been a tough year with fires all over the West Coast. And though it’s a small, peripheral part of the problem, the smoke has affected football practices and games more than in the past. It could even have a bit of an effect on Friday’s Cougar game.
• I blame the Yankees for all of the world’s problems, including junk mail.
• This is not how most former Washington State football players earn headlines after leaving the Palouse. But for Chandler Leniu, it is.
Leniu, a linebacker who played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2015 but quit the team and left school before last season, was arrested last week in Southern California and charged with bank robbery. Authorities allege he conspired with his girlfriend to rob a Torrance bank of $52,000. They both were charged with the crime.
The news immediately brought to mind the short, sordid Inland Northwest career of junior college transfer safety Terry Mixon. It was Mixon who former coach Bill Doba famously referred to as “about one Big Mac away from being a linebacker.”
And a few years later he really got into trouble.
• As in everything else, I blame the Yankees.
WSU: Erik Powell has won the Pac-12 special team player of the week award twice already this season. That’s not bad for a guy who picked up football just before high school. Theo Lawson has more in this story on the Cougar kicker. … There are some keys for the Cougars this week against California. Theo has those as well. … He also has his Pac-12 picks. … Former Eastern coach Beau Baldwin will be trying to figure out how to defeat WSU again this week as Cal’s offensive coordinator. Jim Allen checked in with Baldwin. … Hey, another Luke Falk story. … Stefanie Loh has a homecoming story in the Times. The homecoming this week is for half the Cougar secondary. … The Bears won’t make a change at quarterback. … The newest sideline reporter for NBA champ Golden State is a WSU graduate.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the Cougars are atop one Pac-12 power ranking. … Washington travels to Tempe and will see a familiar face with Arizona State. … The Oregon Ducks should have a couple more weapons when they take on Stanford, which has the ultimate weapon in Bryce Love. … Who will be the next Oregon State coach? It’s natural to assume it will be someone with OSU ties. The Beavers aren’t thinking about that. They are facing stumbling Colorado this week. … The showdown in the South will pit Utah, still without its best quarterback, against Sam Darnold and USC. … UCLA’s defense has to figure out a way to stop Arizona and Khalil Tate. … The basketball scandal is still garnering headlines. How to deal with it is a question on everyone’s mind.
Gonzaga: Majoring in chemistry is probably a bit too tough for most college athletes (paging Josh Rosen). But when the entire team “majors” in it, it can be explosive. Jim Meehan takes a look at GU’s chemistry building for this season. … The women’s basketball team will hold its fanfest this Saturday. There will be at least one Grippi there.
EWU: So Montana won’t be the Eagles’ Big Sky rival anymore? No problem. The games with Montana State have been better anyway, according to Jim Allen. Jim will also be holding an Eastern chat today. … Around the Big Sky, former U-Hi basketball star Kayleigh Valley tore her ACL again and will miss another Montana season. … There is no love lost between Idaho State and Montana.
• It rained last night. One theory concerns the weather gods crying because the Yankees had just knocked Cleveland out of the playoffs. The weather gods are big Cleveland fans. Just check with them in January. Besides, everyone hates the Yankees, right? Until later …