Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: Yes, the two bullies of the Pac-12 are in action this weekend – though their big court battle is down the road

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The nicest part of the Pac-12 being so strong in its final football season – as we know it? Every week there are make-or-break games for multiple teams. This Saturday is no different, even for the team from Pullman.


• The 10 departing Pac-12 teams all learned their future football schedules this week. They all banded together in court and told a judge they are afraid the bullies at Washington State and Oregon State want to steal their lunch money. And now they have to shake off all those distractions and play games?

What a struggle. How can they do it? It’s just not fair.

Excuse us. We had to stop laughing before we moved on.

Looking at tomorrow’s college football television schedule, we first circled the 6 p.m. game on the Pac-12 Networks that pits the poor, exiled-to-the-ACC Stanford Cardinals visiting Pullman to play one of their tormentors, WSU. Not only are the Cougars supposedly planning to keep all the riches the conference has amassed this season, they probably have instructed the officials not to allow the Cardinal a chance. That’s what will happen, according to the departing 10 (more than likely), if the courts rule in favor of the staying two.

WSU’s partner in “crime,” No. 16 Oregon State, is at Colorado in a 7 p.m. game on ESPN.

But those two contests aren’t the most alluring of the Pac-12’s fading brand. Fifth-ranked Washington at No. 24 USC kicks off at 4:30 on ABC and we almost can hear Keith Jackson’s voice coming from the Coliseum. Wait, are the departing 10 worried Jackson’s alma mater will try to keep rights to every audio clip after they leave? Maybe they should be.

The other conference games are Arizona State at No. 18 Utah (11 a.m., Pac-12 Networks), California at sixth-ranked Oregon (2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) and the #Pac12AfterDark game, No. 20 UCLA at Arizona (7:30, FS1). By the way, we didn’t see it in Thursday’s court filing, but we’re sure the 10 want to take that hashtag with them. Though they probably will concede Bill Walton can stay with OSU and WSU.

• What else is on this weekend? Well, the best college games include 12th-ranked Notre Dame at Clemson (9 a.m., ABC) and No. 25 Kansas State at seventh-ranked Texas (also 9 a.m., Fox). There is Bedlam, No. 10 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, with November’s first rivalry game on ABC at 12:30, and upset king No. 22 Kansas trying not to suffer a letdown at Iowa State (4, ESPN).

• Sunday’s NFL slate includes the Seahawks kicking off early in Baltimore, though their 10 a.m. game on CBS isn’t the first, or best, game of the day. Miami facing Kansas City in Frankfurt starts at 6:30 a.m. and will be on the NFL Network. Oh, and don’t forget, Sunday is the day the clocks move back an hour, so there is at least some time to sleep before tuning in.

You may need it, because after the Hawks finish, Philadelphia hosts Dallas on Fox starting at 1:25 and Buffalo trying to keep its contender status alive in Cincinnati, NBC’s 5:20 game.

• Tonight isn’t bereft of action, either. The Gonzaga men will try to match what the women did last night and rout a regional NAIA team in an exhibition. The men host Lewis-Clark State at 6 p.m. on KHQ.

If that’s isn’t your cup of coffee, there are also a trio of college football games on and, if you are really searching, a NASCAR truck race on FS1.

Or, you can leave the comfort of your living room and venture out to one of the high school playoff games. It will be cold – hey, it’s November for goodness sakes – but there is no precipitation in the forecast.

The GSL champions, Gonzaga Prep hosts Sunnyside tonight in a 4A matchup. The 3A teams, top-seed Mt. Spokane and first-time state participant Ridgeline, wait until Saturday at 1 p.m., when it may be a little wet, to host Roosevelt and Seattle Prep, respectively.

Whether it be in person or in front of the TV, it’s a good weekend to watch sports.


WSU: Taariq Al-Uqdah wears No. 18. You may have noticed his jersey as he flew around against Arizona State last weekend and wondered, who is that? He’s the Cougars’ new starting Mike linebacker, that’s who. Greg Woods explains how Al-Uqdah earned the starting role. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, we were pretty darn sarcastic after linking Jon Wilner’s column on the departing 10’s latest court filing. It’s worth being sarcastic about. … We can all pass along Wilner’s picks for the week as they ran in the S-R today. … We have other picks to pass along as well. … We also mentioned the new football schedules for next season. The Big Ten released its yesterday, with USC getting a pretty sweet gig early (against Michigan) and UCLA getting the shaft with its home schedule (Indiana? Minnesota? The excitement that is Iowa football? Should have cut the cord with the Trojans, right?). … Speaking of Michigan, the other Big Ten schools want to have them punished this year. Which could impact the Pac-12’s fortunes. … Washington learned its schedule too, with the Big Ten giving the Huskies a possible date to insert the Apple Cup. Not the final weekend, though. That’s reserved for Oregon. But that’s next season. This year they need to learn to hold on to the ball. If not, they won’t get past the explosive Trojans. … Can the Ducks slow California’s running game? … Oregon State needs to dominate up front against Colorado, which nearly everyone has pushed around. The Buffs have tried to shore up that side of the ball. … UCLA has moved the ball better since it unleashed a running quarterback. … Arizona has done the same, though an injury got it started. … Arizona State will be challenged by Utah’s strength. … In basketball news, transfer Eddie Lampkin might be on a minutes restriction for Colorado. … Mark Madsen will try to perform a miracle at Cal.

Gonzaga: We mentioned the women’s rout last night – 95-32 over Portland’s Warner Pacific – above. Jim Allen returns for a night with this game story. … Colin Mulvany has a photo gallery as well. … As for tonight’s exhibition for the men, Theo Lawson has this preview. L-C State has already played at Arizona, so there could be some comparison going on after. … Theo also has a recruiting story, which comes as no surprise. … Jim Meehan also has a story, on a major award and Ryan Nembhard. … Elsewhere in the WCC, can Santa Clara’s men rebuild their roster once more and contend?

EWU: How have the Eagles bumped up their rushing attack? By unleashing a quarterback rotation. Dan Thompson has all the details in this story. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, there was sad news about a Montana basketball alum. … Idaho State won its second exhibition game. … Weber State seems to be looking toward next football season already. … Idaho State is hoping that’s true. … Northern Arizona has to travel to Montana State with the Bobcats in a bad mood. … It doesn’t matter the mood. Montana will be tough for Sacramento State in Missoula.

Idaho: The conference race is winding down. And the Vandals are in a pretty good spot. Colton Clark shares just how good as he previews Saturday’s trip to last-place Northern Colorado.

Preps: Dave Nichols previews this weekend’s game (we linked the story above as well) and has a roundup of last night’s action, which included four crossover football games.

Seahawks: The Ravens present some challenges. … Devon Witherspoon has been up to most challenges this season. And the league has noticed. … Jason Peters is still plugging away. … So is Zach Charbonnet, though from the opposite side of his career. … In between is Tyler Lockett.

Mariners: The World Series is over. That’s means the offseason is in full swing. Ryan Divish outlines the key dates fans should pay attention to as we move through winter. … Former M’s slugger Nelson Cruz announced his retirement. … What do the Mariners need the most from the offseason? Here’s one answer. … They have three Silver Slugger finalists.

Kraken: Two wins in a row. That’s new. But with Seattle’s home win last night, it’s also true. … The Kraken will soon be welcoming back an injured player.


• We mentioned this earlier but we wanted to pass along the warning one more time. Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend. The sun will begin rising in the 6 a.m. hour again, though not for long. And the set? It will come before 5 p.m. and right around 4 before the world begins to tilt back. Sorry to harsh your mellow that way but sometimes reality sucks. Until later …