A GRIP ON SPORTS • Believe it or not, this is the first weekend of 2020. By the time we reach weekend No. 52, the whole world will have changed. But that's for tomorrow to worry about. Today, we take a spin around the dial that is our local sports scene.
• As we expected, Jalen Suggs announced to the world – or the part of it ESPN hits – he would attend Gonzaga next season. It’s a big deal to GU fans, who took to Twitter, Instagram, et al to celebrate last night.
It’s also big news around the Gonzaga athletic department, but one that was expected. My guess is they were more worried about Pepperdine, tonight’s opponent in McCarthey, than what was transpiring in Minnesota. One they have some degree of control over. The other was already decided.
• Selling alcohol in a college athletic venue? Well, I never.
Or, in reality, welcome to the 21st Century, Washington State. It only took you two decades. Now that there is a beer garden – Theo Lawson writes about it – at Beasley for basketball, is it possible to move forward with the same sort of venue inside Martin Stadium?
Yes, I know the WSU athletic department has been trying to get this done for years. And the powers that be that controls liquor sales within this state have turned them down time and time again.
It’s time for that to change.
• Speaking of the Cougars, did you know their women’s basketball team has never defeated Stanford? Not once. Ever.
The streak reached 66 games last night when the No. 5 Cardinal won 77-58 in California. It stretches back to the teams’ first meeting in 1983, which corresponds with the NCAA wresting control of women’s sports from the AIAW. That’s a long time ago.
• The NFL playoffs begin today, though the Seahawks do not play until Sunday.
However, the New England Patriots actually do play today, the first time in more than a decade they don’t have a bye in the first round.
That, in itself, is an amazing streak.
Now the question is will it matter? Will Tom Brady be able to navigate the extra week – the Pats play Tennessee this evening on CBS – and make it to another Super Bowl?
Gonzaga: Yes, Pepperdine, coached by former Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and assisted by former WSU head coach Ken Bone, is in town. I bet there were a lot of reunions yesterday. Jim Meehan will be in the Kennel tonight but for this morning he has a preview and the key matchup, which centers round the two point guards. … Jim also has his story on Jalen Suggs’ commitment. … The women picked up an important win the other night in Provo vs. BYU. Jim Allen has more today. … Elsewhere in the West Coast Conference, BYU opens the home segment of conference by hosting Loyola Marymount.
WSU: The alcohol sales are a big deal, so we’ll link Theo’s story once more. … There isn’t any evidence this will lead to a new quarterback in Pullman, but Theo found out Florida’s head coach urged his graduate transfer quarterback to consider WSU if he wanted to develop. … Theo spent some time talking with Larry Weir yesterday for the latest Press Box pod. … UCLA, after defeating Washington on Thursday, has a chance to sweep a road weekend. … Around the Pac-12, the rivalry game tonight is in the desert with Arizona hosting Arizona State. … Colorado is also looking for a sweep. … Oregon looks to bounce back against Utah today. … In football news, USC is still looking for a defensive coordinator. … Utah's defense takes another hit. … The Rose Bowl win still resonates in Oregon. … Washington lost another offensive weapon to the NFL draft.
EWU: Taiwan Jones is still playing in the NFL. He’s carved a long career for himself by becoming one of the league’s premier special teams players. But he told our Ryan Collingwood he still considers himself a running back at heart. By the way, Jones’ Houston team will be hosting Buffalo today.
Whitworth: The Pirates opened Northwest Conference play last night by defeating Pacific Lutheran at the Fieldhouse. Dan Thompson was there and has this game story.
Chiefs: Spokane welcomed a big Friday night crowd and the Portland Winterhawks last night. The latter proved too tough to overcome. Kevin Dudley has the game story and Libby Kamrowski has the photo gallery.
Seahawks: The Hawks are no strangers to the wildness of the wild card round. … Will Sunday be Jadeveon Clowney's only playoff appearance for Seattle? He'll play, as will Quandre Diggs. … The Eagles are confident. … Bobby Wagner is really good.
• The holidays are capable of doing one thing to me every year: I always forget what day of the week it is about this time. My internal clock has been knocked all askew. I’m pretty sure it is Saturday but I wouldn’t bet the house on it. Until later …
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