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Friday, August 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: The Seahawks will have their hands full trying not to be snowed under by Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes

Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, left, closes in on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes  during  an August preseason game  in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, left, closes in on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during an August preseason game in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • We woke up this morning to some weird-looking white stuff on the back deck. The dog didn’t like stepping in it. Neither did I. I’m not sure what it is, as it’s been months and months since the outside world looked like this. I understand, thanks to Google, it’s called “snow” and we should expect more of it during the upcoming basketball season. Or, as non-sports fans call it, winter.  Read on.

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• It’s not supposed to last, thankfully, as it makes getting around tough. But this “snow” stuff seems to be a winter staple around this place. This year, though, it’s been absent. It’s just a couple of days before Christmas and it’s hardly made an appearance.

As I think about it, though, I sort of wish it would come down harder today. Make it impossible to get out. It would give me an excuse for skipping the rest of my Christmas shopping – I’m a guy; you think I would be done by now? – and sit downstairs watching the RedZone or something. Until the Hawks came on tonight.

The Seahawks. You think they will win? My son is adamant they will, saying that’s just the way they work. Lose to a woeful for 49er team one week, defeat the best the AFC has to offer the next.

I’m not so sure. The injuries at safety worry me. Same with the offensive line. If more guys are healthy than I expected, maybe.

It doesn’t hurt Los Angeles lost last night, taking some of the edge off the Chiefs’ urgency tonight. They can lose and still be in the driver’s seat in the AFC West. They have a home game with the misbegotten Raiders next week, with a chance to lock up AFC home-field advantage – if Houston loses in Philadelphia this morning.

The NFL’s tie-breaking scenarios are always mission-to-Mars tough to figure, but the Chiefs still have a shot at everything they been aiming for even with a loss tonight.

So do the Hawks, as their target has been a bit lower: just make the playoffs. Even with a loss tonight, they can clinch a spot next week with a home win over the 3-11 Cardinals. But a win against KC means Seattle could rest people next week as it preps for a matchup at the Cowboys or Bears or Eagles.

• Speaking of a thaw (and we mentioned it at some point above, didn’t we?), the Pac-12’s basketball hopes did just that a bit last night in the desert.

Arizona State rallied in the second half and, for the first time in school history, upset a No. 1-ranked team at home.

For the past two years, the Sun Devils have owned the conference’s best non-conference win. And both have come at the expense of Kansas.

Bobby Hurley’s team picked up a shiny win yesterday. Maybe that will distract everyone from Washington State’s loss to USD in Las Vegas. Or Stanford’s loss to USF at home. Or Arizona barely holding off UC Davis in Tucson. Or UCLA getting hammered by Ohio State. Or Colorado losing to Indiana State – without Larry Bird. All of those things happened yesterday.

But, hey, a conference team upset No. 1. Shiny.

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Gonzaga: If the Zags are going to win the WCC and advance deep into the NCAA Tournament, they will have to play defense with the urgency and focus they showed against Denver. That’s part of the message imparted in Jim Meehan’s look back at the rout. … Former Ferris High star Erik Benzel, who we mentioned was part of the Denver team that last played GU, was at McCarthey on Friday night. Justin Reed talked with him. … Around the WCC, it’s been more than two decades since USF has defeated Stanford. The Dons did last night at home. … Host San Diego State took advantage of BYU miscues to win 90-81. … Saint Mary’s tried to get out of its game at Western Kentucky. Now we know why. … Loyola Marymount lost for just the second time this season, this one at UC Riverside.

WSU: One of my avocations is coaching eighth grade boys basketball. Their main topic of conversation, non-basketball related? That would be Fortnite. But it isn’t limited to the teen crowd. Theo Lawson delves into the Fortnite culture at Washington State. His story goes in-depth in the football team’s love of the video game. … As we mentioned above, the Cougars lost to the University of San Diego in Las Vegas last night. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, other than Arizona State’s upset of the Jayhawks, it was another awful day for the conference on the court. The losers included UCLA, Colorado and Oregon, though the Ducks didn’t play. They lost Kenny Wooten to a broken jaw. … In football news, the culture shift is taking a toll on Kliff Kingsbury at USC. … Oregon State has built a foundation. … Washington fears Ohio State's defense as well. … Colorado will use its tight ends more.

EWU: Football coach Aaron Best was named coach of the year in the FCS thanks to a fan vote. … Around the Big Sky, Montana picked up a big road win, Weber State won at home and Northern Colorado and Idaho State lost non-conference games.

Whitworth: The Pirates’ Tyler Adamson won an award at an all-star football game.

Preps: OK, we are finally to the winter break. Before we got there, though, there was wrestling and boys and girls basketball to watch.

Seahawks: The Chiefs have a talented offense. The defense isn't the best. Can the Hawks score enough to keep up? … Tyler Lockett wasn't at his best two years ago.

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• It’s slowly warming up out there. If it gets hot – a relative term – enough, then I won’t have to exert myself with the snow shovel. That’s always the best-case scenario. Until later …

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