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College football

Vandals will open season at Arizona

University of Idaho coach Robb Akey said the alignment of the 2008 Vandals schedule suits him just fine – and fans should like it, too.

“I very much like the way this schedule is set up for us,” Akey said. “I think it’s awesome.”

For the second year in a row, Idaho has six home games, with non-conference dates against Idaho State and Western Michigan, and Western Athletic Conference contests against Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Boise State.

The Vandals open the season on the road, facing Arizona of the Pac-10 Conference. The other non-conference road game is at San Diego State of the Mountain West Athletic Conference.

WAC road trips will be to Utah State, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech and Hawaii.

The Vandals open the home schedule against Idaho State on Sept. 6. Neighboring Washington State University opens its Pac-10 schedule the same day, hosting California.

It is the only date the two schools are at home on the same weekend.

Ultimate fighting

UFC strikes deal with beer maker

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. and Ultimate Fighting Championship unveiled an advertising alliance Thursday that marks a coming-of-age endorsement for a sport that Sen. John McCain once derided as “human cockfighting.”

UFC has come a long way since it was founded in 1993 with an anything-goes mentality that pitted tough fighters in sometimes bloody matches.

The league is a multimillion-dollar enterprise that broadcasts arena-filled events on pay-per-view and has deals with cable networks like Spike TV.

UFC president Dana White said the Anheuser-Busch endorsement is a key step in the sport’s migration into mainstream entertainment because of the brewer’s reputation as a flagship sponsor for sports like boxing and NASCAR.

“It’s huge for the sport,” White said.

College basketball

Idaho State’s win ends Eagle hopes

Eastern Washington’s ambitions of reaching the Big Sky Conference men’s tournament ended Thursday night when Idaho State (8-7 in conference) edged Sacramento State (2-13) 52-51 in Sacramento, Calif.

The Eagles (6-9), who are idle until Tuesday when they play their finale at Portland State, can, at best, only tie Montana State (7-8) for sixth and final playoff spot. But Montana State swept EWU, so the Bobcats advance on the tiebreaker.

Portland State (12-2) defeated Montana State 96-68 to clinch the Big Sky title and the right to host the conference tournament

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