A GRIP ON SPORTS
What a great game last night. The two best college football teams in the nation meeting for the national championship. The BCS got it right again. OK, I'm being sarcastic. But doesn't a game that bad, a game basically over in the first quarter, a game pitting a team with speed and power against a team, well, that doesn't have at least one of those things, deserve some sarcasm? Read on.
• Yesterday afternoon I fired up the snow blower, grabbed a shovel and spent nearly an hour clearing the driveway, the steps and the sidewalks on the end of the cul-de-sac. It took a lot of effort, but when it was done, I looked around and felt a sense of accomplishment. It didn't last. A front-end loader and blade-equipped dump truck from the City of Spokane showed up within minutes. The sidewalks I so carefully cleared so people could walk around the neighborhood? Covered in piles of snow 4-feet high. The spot on the street blown out so the neighbor kid would have a place to park his truck? Filled with a mound of snow. The profanities I uttered were not only for stress relief, they were also a way to verbalize my disappointment with what had been such a fulfilling experience, much of it wasted by circumstances outside of my control. Which brings us to the college football season. It took a lot of effort, but when it was over, we could all look around and feel a sense of accomplishment. Then, like the front-end loader and the dump truck, Alabama and Notre Dame put on that national title "game" last night. What a pile. A season of promise laid to waste in just a few minutes. When Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told the nation as he headed into the halftime locker room the only chance his team had was if Alabama didn't show up for the second half, we all nodded our head in agreement. Smart football fans knew that before the game began. But all the pregame hype, all the ESPN-produced marketing, all the hoopla, it was all meant to cover that up, to put a blanket of snow over the poo this game was going to be. It worked. Until the teams began playing. ... By the way, when I went to bed last night, I could hear the steady drip of an already-in-progress thaw. When I arose this morning, about half the snow had melted away. And college football should experience the same thing. Not next year. No, we're still stuck with the BCS for another season. But in 2014, a four-team playoff will be instituted. And I hope that's only the beginning. Four teams for a few years, eight teams after that, then 16 and beyond. Before I go to the big snowdrift in the sky, I expect to see the national title game pitting two teams that plowed their way through the berms and truly earned the right to be called national champions.
• Washington State: The Cougars will get back at Pac-12 play tomorrow night at Stanford (then fly home before returning to the Bay Area for Saturday's game at Cal – what a nice schedule). Christian Caple will be on the road with them but before he leaves he will cover Ken Bone's press conference today. He also has his morning post today with Pac-12 links. ... We add a couple, including the final power ranking of the football season at ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog along with the site's look at the new coaches' records from around the nation. ... Oregon finished second in the final AP poll (Alabama won). If I had a vote, I may have just voted Ohio State No. 1. After all, the Buckeyes, who finished third, were the only undefeated team in the nation. If the title isn't going to be decided on the field (and it isn't, with the stupid BCS system), it seems the one undefeated team has as good a claim as anyone. ... Jon Wilner has his thoughts on the Pac-12's bowl season. ... With basketball getting serious, we pass along this Pac-12 notebook.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan was at Gonzaga's media day yesterday and put together a notebook for today's S-R. The Bulldogs have just one game this week but it's a big one. St. Mary's comes to town for an 8 p.m. showdown with GU on Thursday. ... I'm sure Kelly Olynyk will have a big role in the outcome of that game. ... It looks as if former Zag Robert Sacre (pictured) will start for the Lakers this week. Sacre did have his contract picked up for the season.
• Seahawks: Though the national focus was on RGIII's knee injury, the one suffered by Hawk defensive end Chris Clemons (pictured on the ground) has much more impact on this season, of course. The god-awful FedEx Field surface delivered just one thing: Pain. ... The Falcons are up next and they have had some pretty poor playoff performances recently. ... Seattle assistants are in demand but they probably need to wait until the season is over to interview in person. ... More on last Sunday's win and the aftermath.
• Mariners: Wondering if the M's have any trade moves left? Read this.
• Sounders: The preseason schedule is pretty well set.
• Like the college football season, we're done. But unlike the football season, we had a great finish. And we'll be back tomorrow. Until then ...