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Sunday, May 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Grip on Sports: No matter how much things change, some key elements, like the Seahawks in the playoffs and the Zags atop the polls, stay the same

Gonzaga coach Mark Few walks arm-in-arm with seniors Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk, with Mike Hart trailing, after falling to Wichita State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few walks arm-in-arm with seniors Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk, with Mike Hart trailing, after falling to Wichita State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Is it 2013 all over again? It sure seems like it. And we can prove it.

•••••••

• Do you remember that far back? We do. And here’s what we remember …

• The Seahawks had finished the regular season second in the NFC West behind, wait for it, the San Francisco 49ers. That meant they had to open the postseason on the road at the NFC East, fourth-seeded Washington.

The Redskins’ starting quarterback was injured and Seattle won. Marshawn Lynch scored the key touchdown. Russell Wilson said afterward, and I quote, “we battled.”

Sound familiar?

The next game was also on the road. The Hawks looked sluggish early, rallied late and took the lead. But a last-minute 49-yard field goal denied them back-to-back road playoff wins.

OK, so they played in Atlanta. The conditions were nothing like Green Bay will be this Sunday night. However, the Hawks relied on Lynch early and Wilson during their comeback. And guess who led them in tackles? Yep, Bobby Wagner.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

• We can prove that too. Want to know the movie dominating the box office back in January of 2013? It was one of a series of nine about a fantasy world. Doesn’t that sound familiar too? Sure, it was a Lord of the Rings flick, not Star Wars, but c’mon, it counts.

As did the Zags back then. They weren’t No. 1 in the nation at the time, as this Gonzaga team is, but back then no one voted the Bulldogs into that spot. Not until later that season. Yep, 2013 was the first time Gonzaga ascended to the top of the national polls, a spot the Zags have a firm grip on right now.

Well, not as firm as last week, but they aren’t giving it up just yet.

This time in 2013 they had one loss and were in the top 10, about what we all thought was their ceiling back in those days. Boy, were we wrong.

Gonzaga would take over the top spot in the poll the week of March 4. The Zags would lose some ground the next week, as Duke would steal some first-place votes. But GU would hold on to No. 1 as the regular season ended.

That may not happen this year, but the parallels are eerie enough for me to imagine Rod Serling standing in the corner, smoking a cigarette and talking about the Twilight Zone.

• One other parallel to 2013. Back then, you were getting up in the morning, grabbing your coffee, starting up your computer and reading this column.

Weird how nothing has changed, right?

•••

Gonzaga: The Zags remained atop the latest polls, but their lead did slip a bit. Jim Meehan has all the particulars in this story. … He also spoke with Larry Weir yesterday for the latest Press Box pod. … Jim Allen delves into the poll results for the women’s team. The Bulldogs rose a couple spots this week. … Elsewhere in the WCC, the conference race could have some intrigue this season.

WSU: Tony Miller may have been a walk-on, but the forward has become an important part of Kyle Smith’s first Washington State basketball team. And Smith has acknowledged how important by putting Miller on scholarship. Theo Lawson has more in this story. … Around the Pac-12, this looks to be a season when the champion has a handful of losses. And it should be fun. … Colorado lost on Sunday and still returned to the top 25. The Buffs joined Oregon, who has been there for a while, and Arizona. … Utah should make some noise in conference play. … In football news, the conference’s coaches made some money in the bowl season. … Washington is making changes with its football roster. … Let’s take an early look at Oregon State’s offense for next season. … You don’t see this every day. Arizona State’s punter declared for the NFL draft. … Arizona made some staff hires.

Seahawks: There is still discussion around Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Carson Wentz, and about the win over Philadelphia as a whole. … Pete Carroll says the Hawks are going to use Lynch even more this week. I’m not sure I believe him. … A lot of people watched the game Sunday. A lot.

•••       

• The one thing different between 2013 and 2020? I’m not in my 50s anymore. Those were good years. Until later …

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