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Grip on Sports: Seahawks are in Dallas for a way-too-early season-deciding game

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas (29) strips the ball from Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz during a game on Dec. 3. Thomas and the Seahawks defense must bounce back against Dallas on Sunday after a rough outing against the Los Angeles Rams. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas (29) strips the ball from Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz during a game on Dec. 3. Thomas and the Seahawks defense must bounce back against Dallas on Sunday after a rough outing against the Los Angeles Rams. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • We are going to keep this short. It is Christmas Eve, after all, and we know you have other things to do. There’s all the NFL games, for instance, including the Seahawks at Dallas this afternoon. Read on.

••••••••••

• Something is happening in Dallas today that hasn’t happened in the NFL in 40 years. Two teams are playing – as you know, that’s Seattle and the Cowboys – with another left on their schedule. The rare happenstance? The winner remains alive in the playoff hunt, the loser is eliminated. No matter what. That’s usually reserved for the final week of the regular season.

The last time that happened with a week to go, the Cardinals were still in St. Louis, and hosting Washington, which, believe it or not, were still called the Redskins. (Oh, wait.) It was 6 degrees at kickoff.

Heck, I was still in college.

So there’s that. Win and the Seahawks have a week to get ready for the Cardinals, now happily playing in warm Phoenix, and the Cowboys will head toward the offseason still angry at Roger Goodell.

If the Hawks lose? It won’t be a happy Christmas in the Northwest.

• By the way, before we sign off here, we wanted to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. All of you, my faithful readers, real and imagined.

From Tim in Tacoma (he’s a big Washington State fan) to Tina in Tukwilla (ditto). From Jim in Spokane (he’s nuts about the Zags) to Earl in the Tri-Cities (loves the Mariners). From Missoula to Bremerton, from Republic to Walla Walla and everywhere in-between.

It’s all of you who read this that keeps us going. So it’s only appropriate we wish you a Happy Holidays in this space.

And it saves me having to send out thousands of cards. Do you know how much that would cost? Bah, humbug.

•••

WSU: On the eve of Christmas, we pass along Jim Allen’s story about Holiday Bowl opponent Michigan State. That is all.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, I saw this headline and started laughing. Ask Lorenzo Romar what 10 nonconference wins guarantees. … UCLA rose above seventh-ranked Kentucky on national TV yesterday, which helps the conference immensely. … USC is in the finals of the Diamond Head tournament. … On the football field, it sounds as if Harrison Phillips is turning pro after Stanford’s Alamo Bowl. … Colorado is trying to rebuild on the defensive front. The same can be said about UCLA. … Todd Graham has one more game as Arizona State’s coach. … Utah’s offensive identity is still in flux. … Arizona’s success hinges on one player.

Gonzaga: If you watch Corey Kispert play basketball you have to wonder what type of quarterback he would have made. So did one of his relatives. Whitney Ogden has a story on Kispert’s athletic decision. … Elsewhere in the WCC last night, USF picked up an upset win, defeating Nevada in Las Vegas. … BYU had little trouble with road-weary Texas Southern.

EWU: Around the Big Sky, Idaho State won at Cal State Northridge while Sacramento State lost at home.

Preps: We have a few prep basketball games to pass along.

Seahawks: It’s Christmas Eve and Seattle is playing a make-or-break game. That’s odd. … What do the Seahawks have to do to win? … DeShawn Shead has been activated and will play today. … If they lose, let’s hope the Hawks lose with class. … Because ESPN has played such a role in the NFL’s history, we wanted to pass along Chuck Stewart’s obituary of Stuart Evey, the Spokane man who helped found the broadcast titan.

•••       

• We will be back after the Seahawks game today with our comments. It will either be a post mortem on an awful season or a piece on how they stayed alive in the playoff hunt. And a reminder, we won’t be here tomorrow. We will rise early and watch the little ones rush to the tree to see what Santa brought. Wait, that’s a Christmas memory, not reality. We’ll sleep in, drink coffee, eat Aunt Norma’s eggs and wait for the kids to arrive in their Subaru. That’s Spokane. Until later … 

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