A GRIP ON SPORTS
When the workweek began, it seemed as if it would be a real bummer. The Olympics were over, college football was still a ways away and pro football? It was in exhibition mode and who likes that? Then lightning struck Wednesday in the form of Felix Hernandez perfection and the week was so much better. Now Hisashi Iwakuma will try to put the Mariners in the record books again, throwing his own perfect game and marking the first time there have been two thrown in back-to-back games by one franchise. Stop laughing. Iwakuma and the Mariners are the only ones that have that opportunity, right? And if there is an opportunity, it could happen, right? Read on.
• Yep, Iwakuma could do it. Will is another completely different story. In fact, I venture to say the chance of back-to-back perfect games will vanish sometime in the bottom of the first, around 7:25 p.m. tonight. But until then, it is still in the realm of the possible. Just like it's possible the University of Idaho could play for the BCS national title this year. Yep, it could happen. Of course, will is another completely different story. And the first chapter of that story will be written today, when Idaho's state board of education give approval to the school moving its sports other than football back to the Big Sky Conference for the 2013-14 school year. The football team, however, wants to explore the world of the independent, a road Notre Dame (religious following), BYU (ditto), Army (biggest sort-of-alumni group in the world) and Navy (second biggest) currently travel. How does Idaho fit in that group? I'm not sure, but then again I'm not sure how the Vandals will be able to attract five FBS schools to Moscow for the 2013 and 2014 season, allowing them to retain their big-school affiliation. But that's just me. If you have to give another school a $1.5 million guarantee to get them to travel to the Palouse and your facility seats around 15,000, don't you have to charge $100 a ticket to break even with gate receipts? But what do I know. It probably won't cost $1.5 million to get a BCS school to make the trip, but it is going to cost something. Ah well, two years of independence, then it's off to the Big Sky where the home games will be guaranteed.
• Washington State: The new look defensive line (with one less member of the starting unit) is the focus of Christian Caple's position preview story today. Christian also has his morning post with links and his afternoon blog post yesterday following a brief scrimmage. ... Which Pac-12 team has the toughest schedule? Jon Wilner thinks it is Washington.
• Gonzaga: We mentioned the planned tournament that will honor Phil Knight on his 80th birthday. Here is more on the Nike-fest.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles hope their defensive line will be the anchor the whole defense can build around according to Jim Allen's story. Jim also has a blog post from after practice and a summary of his live chat held yesterday.
• Idaho: The road to independence is covered by Josh Wright, with a blog post from yesterday and today's story in the S-R. He also was at the Vandals' scrimmage. Meanwhile, John Blanchette once again proves why he is one of the best writers on the West Coast, obliterating any idea being a football independent is a good idea in this column.
• Indians: The Indians are in Yakima for the last time this season and quite possibly forever (the Bears are moving to Hillsboro, Ore., after the season). Spokane is being an accommodating visitor by losing.
• Mariners: With no game yesterday (Minnesota comes to town today for a weekend series), the M's had a chance to catch their breath. And writers had a chance to appreciate even more Felix's perfecto, including delving into his past. ... Catcher John Jaso, who, in this humble opinion, had a huge part in Felix's success Wednesday, was also feted a bit.
• Seahawks: Terrell Owens will make his Seahawk debut this weekend but I'm more interested to see how a healthy Russell Okung will play. I'm one of those weird people who believe left tackle is a more important position than any receiver.
• One more day this week on the radio. Yesterday we interviewed Elliott Bosch, the Spokane kid who looks to be the starting center this season and Sean McDonough, the ESPN announcer, in advance of Coaches vs. Cancer. Both were fun interviews. Until later ...