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A Saturday spent watching college football is never a wasted day

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Spent much of the day yesterday watching college football. And there was a lot of unexpected stuff to see. Read on.

Long may it wave … but can’t it wave sometime in Pullman?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s a college football Saturday and, thanks to something called “UPS express critical,” all’s right with the world. Read on.

Every day I get inundated with junk. I want to share

A GRIP ON SPORTS • You get a lot of junk email? Me too. And I thought today would be a great day to pass some of mine along. Read on.

Presidential debate at Washington University not in WA

Local political junkies may recall that in 2007, Spokane had a brief flirtation with the presidential debate extravaganza when Washington State University put in a bid to host one at the Veterans Memorial Arena.

When the selection committee that sorts through the bids offered WSU the 2008 vice presidential bid,  the university declined. They were hoping for the big Kahuna, a presidential mano-a-mano, and didn't want the second-string event.

Some city officials defended the decision, saying the cost of sponsoring the debate — about $1.35 million to Presidential Debate Commission and maybe $1.5 million more in prep work for the Arena and other areas — wasn't worth the veep debate and its normally smaller draw.

Little did they know that the 2008 vice presidential debate would be the most anticipated, if not the most consequential, of the matchups, featuring Joe Biden vs. Sarah Palin. It was held at Washington University in St. Louis, which stepped in when WSU declined.

So why bring up old news? This week, the sites for the 2016 presidential debates were announced, and Wash U, as it is known in St. Louis, was selected as the site for one of the presidential face offs. 

Now some folks will say that school has such a history of hosting the debates — 1992, 2000, 2004 as well as 2008 — making it an easy pick. 

But there may also be a lesson for Wazzu, one Spokane learned from the NCAA basketball tournaments. Before you can host the opening rounds of the Men's Tournament, you might have to show you can handle the Women's Tournament.

Chancellor’s return seemed to lack something

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Kam Chancellor returned to the Seahawks yesterday, anything but contrite – though there is a discussion to be had if he needed to be. No matter. His return seems to be the biggest since Douglas MacArthur stepped off the landing craft in the Philippines. Read on.

Goodbye Yogi … and welcome back Kam

A GRIP ON SPORTS • As Yogi used to say, it ain’t over until it’s over. Sadly, the saying is true of life as well as baseball. Though maybe not in Yogi Berra’s case. The Yankee legend died yesterday at age 90. But he will live on forever thanks to his wonderfully varied wit and his on-field accomplishments. … And lest we look foolish, we have to mention the other big news of the day. Kam Chancellor’s holdout is over. Read on.

Is everyone obsessing about the Seahawks or is that just me?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • So what’s on everyone’s minds? The beginning of autumn? The Cougars? High school sports? The end of the M’s season? Oh, I know. The Chase. Wait, that’s not it. How about the Hawks? Read on.

Man’s taste for salmon goes back eons, researchers say

FISHERIES — This week, salmon are attracting anglers to the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.  But more than 11,000 years ago, salmon fishing may have played a role in the early human colonization of North America, scientists say based on new documentation.

Researchers from Alaska and Washington state have found the earliest known evidence that Ice Age humans in North America used salmon as a food source, according to a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to a news release at WSU News online, the findings counter traditionally held beliefs that Ice Age Paleoindians were primarily big-game hunters. The findings are based on an analysis of 11,500-year-old chum salmon bones found by University of Alaska Fairbanks anthropologist Ben Potter and colleagues at the Upward Sun River site. Excavation has revealed human dwellings, tools and human remains, as well as the salmon bones.

“Salmon fishing has deep roots and we now know that salmon have been consumed by North American humans at least 11,500 years ago,” said lead author Carrin Halffman, a UAF anthropologist who helped analyze the fish bones with co-authors Brian Kemp of Washington State University, Potter and others.

Here are some other highlights for anglers from the research:

  • Salmon spawning runs appear to have been established much earlier and much farther north than previously thought - at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, also known as the last Ice Age.
  • The ancient DNA and stable isotope analyses verified the fish remains as sea-run chum salmon that migrated upriver nearly 900 miles from where the mouth of the Yukon River now exists. These analyses indicate that modern salmon migrations may have ancient roots, dating back to at least the end of the last Ice Age.
  • Fish remains pose a challenge to archaeologists because their bones are small, fragile and typically do not preserve well. Because of these challenges, their remains likely are underrepresented in global archaeological studies and findings.

Might as well go build a bomb shelter and hunker down

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Gloom and doom. Cats and dogs lying together. Fire and brimstone. The final episode of “Seinfeld.” The apocalypse. The summer of 1982. Think of all the awful things that have happened or may happen in your life and your angst won’t add up to all the anguish Seahawk Fan feels this morning. Read on.

OK, that was fun. What’s next?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It doesn’t happen often, so savor it. All four area college football teams won yesterday, in front of their home fans no less. So there should be a sense of euphoria around here until, I don’t know, a little after 5, when the Seahawks kick it off in Green Bay. Read on.

It’s time for Cougars to give home fans something to celebrate

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s a college football Saturday. All over America folks are settling into their stadium seats, or their easy chairs, preparing to spend the day rooting for good ol’ State U. Read on.

The choices are plentiful this Saturday, but also tough to make

A GRIP ON SPORTS • OK, Mr. and Mrs. College Football Fan. You don’t have a team in the area you root for but you enjoy college football. You enjoy the pomp and circumstances. You enjoy the energy and passion of the players and your fellow fans. And you have unlimited funds. Which local college football game do you watch this weekend? Read on.

Boy, the last two Seahawks games have had hard-to-watch finishes

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Really, it is tough being a Northwest sports fan. Yesterday was just more of the same. Read on.

How many chances will one player receive?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The University of Idaho’s football team is in the L.A. Coliseum today to face the eighth-ranked USC Trojans. The Vandals are six-touchdown underdogs. A close game might be perceived as victory. Yet, in reality, nothing that happens today will be considered a win. Not even if they pull off the season’s biggest upset. See, the Vandals have already lost something more important this week. They lost their soul. Read on.

Pats fans serenade an absent Goodell, though the Steelers couldn’t hear it

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The TV was on last night, but that wasn’t what was keeping my attention. Instead, I was glued to the iPad as social media blew up with more reports of New England “cheating.” Read on.

If it’s Thursday, the weekend must already be starting

A GRIP ON SPORTS • One of the weird things about autumn: The weekend begins tonight. How? Football's weekend begins tonight, thus the entire weekend begins. The NFL has its opener. High schools are playing. Somewhere on channel 873 or so, there is a college game. So settle in and enjoy. Read on.

The more you say, the greater the chance you’ll get in hot water

A GRIP ON SPORTS • No matter who you are, if you talk enough these days you are going to say something that ticks someone off. It’s a given. Guaranteed. Why? Because, thanks to proliferation of mass and social media, anything anyone in Eastern Washington says can be in Eastern Sumatra in a blink. Nothing is secret. And everyone gets offended. Read on.

The transition to autumn isn’t an easy one to make for anybody

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Not a good day to be an 8-year-old kid. Or a 14-year-old. It seems like forever until next summer. So the mind wanders. Read on.

What is going to happen over the next couple months around here?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s a holiday. Labor Day. The traditional end of summer and the start of football season – as well as the pennant races. Now that you’ve put your white pants away, we will help you get ready for the next couple months. Read on.

After further review, this loss looks just as bad as it did yesterday

A GRIP ON SPORTS • My father used to tell me, when I was disgruntled or disgusted, to sleep on it. Things will look better in the morning. Sorry, pops, when it comes to Cougar football, you were wrong. Read on.

It’s not much of a surprise it’s raining around here on the first Saturday of college football season

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It hasn’t rained much in the Inland Northwest since April. But it’s raining this morning. It is Labor Day weekend, after all, and it’s sort of a tradition. Read on.

With college football back, who needs an NFL preseason game?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Were you torn a bit last night? The first real night of college football and there was an NFL game on. Not just any NFL game. It featured the local NFL team. Of course, it was an NFL preseason game. The fourth NFL preseason game. Read on.

What’s not to love about college football season?

A GRIP ON SPORTS • College football really gets going tonight. And we couldn’t be happier. Read on.

There is a shadow at Eastern, for this week at least

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The most talked about guy at Eastern Washington football practice yesterday was a guy who wasn’t even there. I bet that went over well with the Eagles. Read on.

WSU instructors under fire for trying to ban words — including “male” and “female”

The instructors – one professor and two Ph.D. students in WSU’s Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies – outlined their policies in course syllabi.

The conservative blog Campus Reform blasted the instructors’ policies in an opinionated piece Saturday morning, prompting at least a dozen other outlets to do the same. The university responded on Monday with an emailed statement to students and staff.

“We are working with these faculty members to clarify, and in some cases modify, course policies to ensure that students’ free speech rights are recognized and protected,” the statement said. “No student will have points docked merely as a result of using terms that may be deemed offensive to some.”

Critics took issue with Selena Lester Breikks’ policy attempting to bar students from using terms such as “The Man,” “colored people,” “illegals,” “illegal aliens” and “tranny.” Breikks, who teaches the 300-level course Women and Popular Culture, also tried banning the use of “male” and “female” to describe men and women, according to the syllabus on her course website. Full story. Chad Sokul, SR

My thoughts can be summed up in two words: Good grief! Your thoughts may differ.

The M’s are in the process of deconstructing their roster

A GRIP ON SPORTS • And the fire sale begins. Even with an interim general manager in charge. The Mariners’ moves yesterday seem to almost have the taste of trying to remove Jack Zduriencik’s stamp off the Mariners’ organization. Read on.

Cooler weather and football go together like peanut butter and jelly

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is a touch of fall in the air, and we’re not referring to the smell of burning leaves. It’s more the nip this morning’s air left on your skin. That can mean only one thing: It’s football season. Read on.

Preseason results shouldn’t have any effect on perceptions, but they do

A GRIP ON SPORTS • One quick question. If Steven Hauschka’s field goal last night had traveled a foot less, would you still feel the same way about the Seahawks this morning? Read on.