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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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EWU players see the big picture

You don’t find a lot of gratitude in college athletics here in the Age of Entitlement. But there is an unmistakable air about the Eagles that their achievement this season is tied to appreciation.

John Blanchette: Colonial knows football

The best thing about Eastern Washington playing for a national championship is … well, Eastern playing for a national championship. There doesn’t even have to be a second-best thing. But there is.

Whitehurst won’t be the answer

So the story goes that Matt Hasselbeck was still in coach Pete Carroll’s ear to start Sunday’s playoff-for-the-playoffs even as the Seattle Seahawks made their way through the tunnel canopy just before kickoff. One can only imagine. “C’mon, Pete, I’m ready … You’re not seriously going to go with ol’ ‘Passion of the Christ’ here, are you? … Pete, I’ve started 131 NFL games … Hey, my butt’s healed – although you’re really starting to make it ache again … What, are you trying to re-enact ‘The Last Supper?’ … Be serious, Pete – you want a quarterback who’s been there or a guy you signed straight out of a BeeGees tribute band?” But Carroll went with his gut over Hasselbeck’s glute and put the game into the hands of backup Charlie Whitehurst.

Blanchette: Laugh with Seahawks, not at them

And you think the BCS is a cockamamie way to decide a football champion? It has to be a playoff, right? Gotta have a playoff. A playoff is the only way. OK, ladies and gentlemen, presenting your playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks. Your precedent-setting, D-minus, no-way, 7-9, playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks. Don’t you just love them? Why wouldn’t you?

Zags draw energy from Baylor win

The exhale in Spokane would have registered 13 on the Beaufort Scale if it went that high. In any case, Marquise Carter felt it – heard it – all the way down in Dallas. Gonzaga had outlasted ninth-ranked Baylor in the Bears’ backyard, the Zags’ first win over a ranked opponent in 10 tries over 22 months. Steven Gray missed the last 25 minutes with back spasms. Elias Harris played just 18 because of foul trouble. The lineup on the floor at the end had the combined firepower of 28 points per game and included two newcomers with less than 300 minutes of major college playing time between them, and a walk-on.

What a huge difference a game makes

There’s something different now about this place, this program. Maybe one victory shouldn’t do that, necessarily. Maybe it won’t be completely true without one more.

Even good product needs advertising

Episode 4,382 in the ongoing reality soap that is The Real Cougs of Spokane County: That’s how many passed through the portals of the Spokane Arena on Friday night for a live eyewitness sizing up of the Washington State Cougars, who a day before were the talk of office water coolers for their 22-point pasting of Gonzaga.

EWU’s Sherritt knows his defense

J.C. Sherritt will not tell you what the initials stand for, but he will tell you why he won’t tell you. “My two older sisters,” he said. “When they got mad at me, they would call me by my first and middle names. So it stuck in my mind that I do not like being called that.” Julius Caeser? Joe Cool? Jimmy Crackcorn? How bad could it be, really?

Blanchette: Cougs would do well to take page out of Huskies’ book

PULLMAN – Bowl berths are doled out like bailouts anymore, but that’s how the system has been corrupted and the football player’s job is not to reform it but leverage it. Which the Washington Huskies did on Saturday evening, and since it has been so long since this once-proud program has done even that much – all the way back to 2002 – the players celebrated on the turf of Martin Stadium not once but twice.

Game could’ve stolen thunder

PULLMAN – In the confluence of three hyperrific games here in the space of six days, would you ever imagine that the least of them might be the – heresy spoiler alert – Apple Cup? Well, at least it can’t be anticlimactic. Not quite.

Excuse us if we’re not bowled over

“I’m so happy for the state of Washington that this Apple Cup is really going to mean something – for both schools.” – Steve Sarkisian

Blanchette: Moos’ silence ominous for Wulff

Since logistically they’re treating this bizarre double bye at Washington State “like a bowl game,” according to coach Paul Wulff, does that mean the school will extort itself into buying 20,000 Apple Cup tickets? So much for the fun questions. Here’s one that’s not so fun:

Blanchette: Wynne, 24, realizes his dreams at CC Spokane

Some days, Preston Wynne is up and on the road by 5:30 a.m. and may get home barely in time to tuck in his two children at bedtime. He is 24, back in a classroom after a six-year hiatus, still not completely sure where he’s going but convinced education will take him there. The definitive non-traditional student.

Williams, Seahawks revived together

SEATTLE – Not to put an indelicate spin on it, but the Seattle Seahawks are the Farmer Ted of the National Football League. Remember him? From “Sixteen Candles”? He crowned himself – and we’re cleaning it up here – king of the dipsticks. Well, here are the Seahawks, alone atop the lamentable NFC West, on the strength of Sunday’s bizarre 22-10 burlesque over the Arizona Cardinals, who ruled the roost the past two seasons. Beating the division champs is such a distinction that Seattle coach Pete Carroll “didn’t even mention it all week. Didn’t talk about it after the game, either. “I love being in first place, but it doesn’t mean anything right now. To me, it’s like the BCS.” Oh, sure. Flout the NCAA rulebook and then diss the clunky mechanism to decide the national champ. Pete probably thinks the term “student-athlete” is a joke, too.