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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Thousands of games are hard to winnow down to just a couple handfuls of ‘best’

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Pacific Coast Conference, no matter its incarnation – be it PCC, 8, 10 or 12 – is 100 years old this season. Which means it is time to look back on the best it had to offer. Problem is, best is such a subjective term. Read on.


• Like a lot of you I’ve enjoyed Jon Wilner’s best-of-series on the San Jose Mercury News’ website. The Pac-12 has offered some of the better players, teams and games in college football history. Of that we’re sure. Yesterday, Wilner tried to winnow down thousands of conference games to the 10 best. We’re not sure that’s really possible. I do know his No. 1 game – USC/UCLA in 1967 – deserves top billing as it featured two Heisman Trophy winners, the No. 1 and 2 teams in the nation and would include quite possibly the greatest run in college football history. But other than that, the rest of the list could include one of about 100 games. I’m sure you have your favorite, whether you are a Husky, a Cougar, a Duck or a Beaver fan. All I can say is I wish my father was still alive. His Pac-8 memory dipped back into the 1930s, which would have been a great resource to tap for exercises like these. I do know he always believed Hugh McElhenny was the best running back he ever saw, better than O.J., better than Reggie Bush, better than anyone. And he wasn’t a Husky lover by any means. He loved football. Hard-nosed football. As for games, I’m not sure. He thought Stanford’s 1940 team was one of the conference’s best but as for games they played, I have no clue. If you were to ask him the biggest upset he remembers, I’m sure he would mention Washington State’s 34-30 win over No. 1 UCLA in 1988. I’ll never forget the phone call after that game. He was, at that time, a UCLA season-ticket holder. He was at the game. He was pissed. But he acknowledged how well the Cougars played. How good a coach Dennis Erickson was. And how impressed he was with WSU’s last stand. It was a game he wouldn’t forget. But is it one of the conference’s 10 best ever? I’m not sure. It’s a pretty hard list to make.


• WSU: The Cougars would like to upset a top 10 team again this year, I’m sure. But to do that, their special teams must improve. Enter new coach Eric Mele and a new-found emphasis. And this Jacob Thorpe story. ... Jacob also has another full plate, with a practice summary, interviews with Mike Leach, Mele and Colton Teglovic, as well as a morning post today with links. ... Jacob held a live chat yesterday and you can read his answers to your questions here. ... We have a couple links besides the Wilner one above, including this one about a Cougars’ younger brother who is making noise at Utah and Mark Helfrich talking about Oregon’s quarterback battle.

• Gonzaga: The Zags (and Eagles) women’s basketball schedules were released yesterday.

• EWU: If the Eagles want to improve on last year’s quarterfinal playoff appearance, the defensive line will have to play better. Jim Allen has more on their preseason workouts in this story.

• Indians: Win yesterday and the Indians would leave Everett tied atop the second-half standings. Lose and they would be two games back. They are two games back after a late home run powered the AquaSox to an 8-6 victory. ... Chris Derrick has a nice feature and a blog post on an Indian pitcher, Peter Fairbanks (pictured), who is not only really tall but also really smart. 

• Seahawks: A quiet day at Hawks practice. There was no Kam Chancellor, which is beginning to get problematic. And there was little hitting, which is usual in the NFL these days. ... Bobby Wagner supplies his own motivation. ... Kansas City is where Russell Wilson grabbed hold of the Seahawk quarterback job a few years ago. He’s never let go. ... Tyler Lockett brings a new dimension to the Hawk return game.

• Mariners: Joe Biemel’s arm has been tired recently. He’s probably headed to the disabled list now. In between he yielded back-to-back-to-back home runs yesterday in the M’s 7-2 loss at Texas. ... Danny Farquhar is starting to pitch better.

• Sounders: The Sounders played better than CD Olimpia the entire game last night but it wasn’t until Erik Friberg’s header in the 90th minute did they draw even at one. And it took Brad Evans’ penalty kick a few minutes later for them to pull out a 2-1 Champions League victory. ... Who is the best in the MLS right now? We now know who the most valuable team is. ... Marco Pappa has been cleared to return to the Sounders following his DUI arrest. 


• Hey, we are making a special appearance on the radio this afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m. You can listen here if you like. Until later ...

Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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