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

A Grip on Sports: Getting a different perspective on a college football Saturday is always a good thing

A GRIP ON SPORTS • What was that old line? Are you ready for some football? We are. It’s just all the games are at a weird time for us.


• We know we have a few readers that live outside the Inland Northwest. Quite a few, actually. And a subset of those live in the Eastern Time Zone.

What was always forget, after we travel back to Spokane from that side of the country, is how hard it is to be a sports fan in that part of the country.

No, not just a fan of West Coast schools and pro franchises, which is the worst of it. But a fan of sports in general. Take last night’s National League playoff game between Arizona and the Phillies. If we had been sitting in a Seattle pub at 7:30 last night – as we were here – we would have been neck deep into that exciting game. Instead, we were still waiting for it to begin.

By the time it ended? Us Medicare customers were on our way to another night of restless sleep, wondering if our retirement nest egg would last the 40 years we expect to need it to – hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Anyhow, when we awoke at 1:30 in the morning, we not only found out the Diamondbacks had rallied to win (and tie the series) but that Paul Sewald had earned the save. Dang you Jerry Dipoto.

Today, we expect to be discombobulated in another way. Did you Big Noon Saturday actually starts at noon? Me neither. Or that you can sleep in a while and still see all of GameDay? With the sun above the horizon for the entire show? What a concept.

However, the late-night games are just that. Or early morning ones, of Pac-12 AfterDark bleeds into Sunday. And that 12:30 kickoff in Eugene? It’s 3:30 here and we have to wait most of the day to critique ABC’s crew. Then, when it’s over, we don’t have any sun left to wander around outside, muttering about missed calls and poor decisions. We will have to do that in a watering hole again.

The worst aspect of being east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, however, won’t reveal itself until next Saturday. When Washington State’s game at Arizona State not only starts at 8 p.m. (Eastern), but is going to be broadcast by the Pac-12 Networks.

Now that will be a challenge. We don’t know if we will be in South Carolina or Tennessee or even Ohio but we’re certain of one thing: Finding someplace to watch a Pac-12 Networks game on a TV will be impossible. We’ll either have to stream it or just surrender to the inevitable. Larry Scott’s legacy lives – while the conference dies.


WSU: Can the Cougars get back to their September form as October winds down? It won’t be easy considering the quality of the opponent, the ninth-ranked Ducks. In Eugene. The fact Oregon is coming off a rivalry-game loss is sort of offset by the debilitating nature of the Cougs’ Arizona defeat. All that factors in to Greg Woods picking Oregon to win. … Greg also has his game preview and three keys for Washington State. … From the Oregon side of things, we can pass along these stories, including one on the key matchups, the Ducks’ offensive line against the Cougars’ pass rushers. And another we really agree with. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, we have a couple items from Jon Wilner to pass along, including a Pac-2-centric mailbag in the Mercury News. … Wilner’s piece on the ABC openings is in the S-R this morning as well. … He passes along a recruiting summary too. … John Canzano writes about Chip Kelly’s ideas concerning college athletics. … In case you are wondering, Colorado has a bye this week. … In basketball news, there was actually a game last night. A non-counter. For Arizona. Against a local school, Lewis-Clark State. Heck, there is even a local player siting, with Colfax High’s John Lustig getting a shout-out for a dunk. Didn’t stop Arizona rolling to an easy win though. … Colorado expects success this season. … Finally, there is a growing chorus that won’t be heard. It concerns keeping the Olympic sports in the Pac-12 together.

Now on to today’s Pac-12 football games:

• No. 14 Utah at No. 18 USC (5 p.m., Fox): The two-time defending champion Utes have the Trojans’ number. And it’s three. That’s the number of times Kyle Whittingham’s squad has bested USC in the past two years. In each of those games, the Utes have scored 42 points or more. If they get to that number today, they will grab the upset win.

• Arizona State at No. 5 Washington (7:30, FS1): How big a letdown would the Huskies have to suffer to let ASU stay in this game? Not sure it is quantifiable, but if it happens, Kalen de Boer, architect of a 13-game winning streak, should immediately by sentenced to five years coaching in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Or at least having to play games there for the foreseeable future. Oh, ya. Right. Something similar will happen anyway. The Sun Devils have nothing to play for, except trying to convince first-year coach Kenny Dillingham not to go all Deion Sanders on the roster in the offseason.

• No. 25 UCLA at Stanford (7:30, ESPN): No lead is safe against the explosive Cardinal. Well, not if you are playing in Boulder. But at Stanford? All 47 students who got lost and ended up at the game might just will them to another four-score comeback but we doubt it. This time the Cardinal might just lead the entire game – after UCLA’s freshman throws an early pick-six, of course.

EWU: For the Eagles to do something they haven’t done in a while, to wit, defeat visiting Weber State, they will have to contain the Wildcats’ rushing attack. Dan Thompson has his things to watch today. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, other than second-ranked Montana State traveling to No. 3 Sacramento State this evening, the conference football slate is pretty light. OK, that one is enough. … The bottom two teams in the conference meet in San Luis Obispo tonight, with Cal Poly hosting Northern Colorado.

Preps: OK, there is an official 4A/3A football champion in the GSL. And this year it is Gonzaga Prep. The Bullpups traveled to Union Stadium and limited Mt. Spokane’s high-octane offense, winning 21-10 over the previously undefeated Wildcats. Dave Nichols has the coverage. … Dave also was out at the District 3A/2A slowpitch title game between Mt. Spokane and University, won by the Titans 12-5. … He also put together this roundup of the night’s other action.

Chiefs: Spokane gave up three third-period goals and lost 5-4 in overtime at Victoria.

Seahawks: The offensive line is healing. Slowly. But it is healing. … Jamal Adams had another confrontation with a concussion doctor in Cincinnati. This one cost him $50,000. … Geno Smith is ready to bounce back. … DK Metcalf might not be able to play against Arizona on Sunday.

Kraken: Hey, there was a lot to like about Seattle’s first win.

Mariners: Have we ever mentioned we hate the Astros? Still hold a Mariner/Dodger-infused grudge? Still can’t believe MLB let them skate after they admitted to cheating for years? We have? Sorry. They won again last night in Arlington thanks to “hey-don’t-pull-off-my-wire-hiding-uniform” Jose Altuve’s game-winning home run.

Sounders: It’s decision-day in the MLS. Seattle may end up in a few different spots for the playoffs depending on its match with St. Louis.


• We haven’t addressed the stupidity of the NCAA’s rules against sign stealing as it pertains to Michigan, mainly because it’s part of whole bunch of antiquated rules the organization hasn’t gotten around to updating just yet. It’s possible there just aren’t enough employees in Indianapolis to fix such things or any of the hundreds of silly regulations – don’t get us started on the no-spectators and publicity of basketball scrimmages – but we doubt it. After all, one of the 500 or so that work for Charlie Baker there should be available to spend an hour on it. … By the way, we failed yesterday. But there is a donut shop about a hundred yards from where we are staying today. Until later …