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Grip on Sports: College football has a whole season these days wrapped around awards and their watch lists

Washington State offensive lineman Fred Mauigoa (69) prepares to snap the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (Young Kwak / AP)
Washington State offensive lineman Fred Mauigoa (69) prepares to snap the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (Young Kwak / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • What’s the biggest change in college football over the past half century or so? There is a myriad of candidates, sure, but only one winner: the proliferation of awards. Read on.

••••••••••

• There is a little tongue-in-cheek with that answer, sure, but the sheer magnitude of college football awards has gotten out of hand.

There is an award for the best tight end (the John Mackey Award). There is one for the best center (the Rimington Trophy). There are multiple awards for the best player and the best quarterback. There are awards for the best wide receiver, best lineman, best walk-on. There are awards for academics and integrity. There are awards for head coaches and assistant coaches.

Heck, there probably is an award for the best fan.

But it’s not just the awards themselves that have proliferated over the years. We now face a summer a filled with “watch lists.” And, who, you may ask, is on a watch list?

Just about every player in the nation.

In a sense, that’s true, when you consider many awards have a preseason watch list and then, after the games are actually played, some names are dropped and others added. And then there is the further winnowing – and adding – as the season wears on.

It gets to the point where there is so much noise, the awards get lost in it.

Sure, it’s a great honor to be named to the Bednarik Award watch list. It signifies you are one of the best defensive players in the nation. Or to the Maxwell Award watch list. Or the Lou Groza.

But the list is just a starting point. And sometimes hype overpowers performance. As watch lists overpower our summer.

• The British Open is happening on the other side of the pond, with Justin Rose shooting a 64 earlier today to pull back into contention. Of course, that happened long before most of us were awake.

That’s always been part of the tournament’s charm. To follow it, whether it was back when Jack Nicklaus was playing or when Tiger Woods was, you had to be willing to sacrifice some of your sleep, especially here on the West Coast. 

It may not seem worth it to everyone, but if you want to be considered a golf person, it doesn’t hurt your cart-path cred to mention how early you awoke to watch.

•••

WSU: There are 12 Pac-12 football teams. All have one starting center. Ten of those 12 were included on the Rimington watch list. The Cougars’ Fred Mauigoa is among that 10. Theo Lawson has the story of how Mauigoa has made himself into an award-worthy player. … Around the Pac-12, UCLA and Oregon also have players on watch lists. … Washington has a great secondary returning. … Arizona has opportunities. … Colorado is looking for safety depth. … UCLA has lost an incoming freshman already. … Oregon State had its hand slapped by the NCAA over sending mail to Hawaii players. … There has been a lot of coaching turnover recently at Oregon. Austin Meeks examines why it is happening now

EWU and Idaho: With Big Sky football ready to start soon, Larry Weir talked with Montana’s Bobby Hauck and Montana State’s Jeff Choate for his latest Press Box pod.

Golf: It’s Saturday, so Jim Meehan has his usual column. But this one has an unusual subject. It’s about a First Tee participant, Brayden Miles, who has earned a spot in a national tournament.

Preps: Chuck Stewart has our summertime staple, the Youth Sports Notebook.

Indians: Spokane is on a roll, having won its fourth consecutive game last night. It might be too late for a first-half title, though. … Around the Northwest League, Everett won in Boise and Eugene lost to the Dust Devils.

Mariners: The M’s announced yesterday they had extended Scott Servais’ contract, giving their manager a second multi-year deal. Then they went out and snapped their losing streak, riding Wade LeBlanc’s fine pitching effort to a 3-1 win over the White Sox. … Jerry Dipoto shared some thoughts yesterday about the trade deadline, the roster and Robinson Cano. … Speaking of the roster, there were changes but Mike Zunino wasn’t part of them.

Seahawks: With any NFL roster, there are unknowns before the season begins.

Sounders: Seattle faces Vancouver today with its chances for a successful season dwindling.

•••        

• If you are wondering why I didn’t make a bigger deal about Servais’ contract extension, there is a good reason. I will be writing about it my Out of Right Field column in Sunday’s paper. Until later … 

Wordcount: 816

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