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Grip on Sports: For EWU, today’s FCS playoff game is all a matter of perspective

Eastern Washington Eagles head coach Beau Baldwin embraces wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) after defeating WSU during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, Sep 3, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. EWU won the game 45-42. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington Eagles head coach Beau Baldwin embraces wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) after defeating WSU during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, Sep 3, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. EWU won the game 45-42. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Will the snow that is blanketing the Inland Northwest this morning affect Eastern Washington’s FCS quarterfinal playoff game with the University of Richmond. Yes and no. It’s all a matter of perspective. Read on.

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• It was cold and rainy this week in Richmond, Virginia, home of the Spiders, Eastern’s opponent today. And that made Richmond coach Danny Rocco happy. Why? He felt it would help his team prepare for the inclement conditions the Spiders would face in today’s game.

Sorry, but I don’t see how. It’s been my experience that 42 and rainy has as much correlation with 26 and snowy as it does with 58 and clear. Which means none at all.

Playing football in the snow and cold is a different animal than the rain, no matter what the temperature is.

And Eastern is used to it. Richmond is not. Will that be the difference today? Probably not, as both teams are good enough to win no matter the conditions.

But most of the conditions favor the Eagles. There will be 6,000 or so in the stands screaming for them and only them. They didn’t have to make a cross-country flight before playing. And, yes, they have more experience with the weather.

It’s funny, but this game may come down to perspective. As I was reading through the Richmond newspaper’s coverage of the Spiders, other little misconceptions about Eastern’s football team kept popping up.

Rocco thought is was important Richmond played North Dakota, the Big Sky co-champions, last week, because it allowed his team to get “a good feel for the league.”

Sorry, but there is little correlation between the football UND plays and what Richmond will see today. Yes, the two schools are in the same league. Sort of.

They didn’t play each other this season. If they did, my guess is the Eagles would have been a touchdown favorite – or more, depending on where the game was played.

And they play two distinct styles. No one in the Big Sky can match the Eagles in offensive speed and weaponry. Few in the nation can.

At least few out West, though I’m not sure you should think of North Dakota as part of the West. People around here certainly don’t. The Midwest sure, but the West? No way. Yet that was another reason cited in Richmond’s favor. They had already made one trip to the West.

When you are located a couple of hours from the nation’s capital, I guess pretty much everything is in the West. It’s all a matter of perspective.

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Gonzaga: The Zags are back in McCarthey Athletic Center this evening for their matchup with Akron. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game and introduces you to the Zips. He also asked three questions of Jordan Mathews. … Akron has a little history with Gonzaga. … Portland won’t be playing at Boise State today due to weather-related travel problems. … BYU hosts Colorado today.

WSU: You know the Student Conduct Board that came under so much fire in the Robert Barber case? It is in the process of being revamped, the impetus for which was supplied by a recent court ruling. Stefanie Loh has more about the upcoming process in this Times story. … The Cougars are headed to San Diego in large numbers.

Elsewhere in Pac-12, there will be handful of basketball games today, including Arizona facing Missouri, UCLA matching up with Michigan and Utah playing at Xavier. … ASU needs more toughness. … Back to football, we can pass along ESPN.com’s mailbag. … Willie Taggart’s contract was approved by the Oregon Board of Regents. … Washington is also traveling well, all the way to Georgia for the Peach Bowl.

 

EWU: Jim Allen has an advance of today’s FCS playoff game as well as a story on Eastern finishing up an extension for coach Beau Baldwin.

Whitworth: The Pirates had little trouble getting past overmatched Covenant last night, winning 93-62.

Preps: The Central Valley Bears' girls' basketball team extended its winning streak, getting past host Mead 57-42 last night. Greg Lee was there and he has this game story and James Snook has a photo report. … We also can pass along the GSL boys’ roundup and girls and boys basketball roundups from around the area.

Chiefs: Markson Bechtold is back from injury and he helped Spokane get past Kootenay 4-3 last night at the Arena. It was also Teddy Bear Toss night and Colin Mulvany captured the scene with these photographs. … Portland will be back in action tonight. … Everett rallied four times to get past Vancouver.

Seahawks: If you live in the Spokane area, look outside. That’s what Green Bay may look like tomorrow. Steven Terrell hopes he will look a bit like Earl Thomas at safety. … Justin Britt has emerged as not only a good center, but a Pro Bowl-quality one. … Green Bay was home for John Schneider for a while.

Mariners: The M’s made a couple of roster changes yesterday.

Sounders: Today is the day the Sounders play for the MLS title. It’s their first MLS Cup match. Enjoy it. Such things are pretty rare. … Nicolas Lodeiro is a big reason the Sounders are in Toronto today with a title on the line.

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• A busy day is on tap. With two weeks or so until Christmas, every weekend day is busy, right? We’ll be back this evening with our TV Take on the GU game. Until later …

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