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SEATTLE – Never before has a shovelful of dirt fit a man better than tailored Armani. We keep trying to bury Matt Hasselbeck, but he will not go quietly, like the Python character on the oxcart of dead bodies protesting, “I feel fine.” His contract is up, his callow relief was poised and conservative last week and he’s been a mess for a month or more. He keeps getting fluid drained from his hip. On Saturday, the defending Super Bowl champs and the Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year were imported to nudge him over the lip of the grave.
FRISCO, Texas – So here it is, Eastern Washington football redefined, by the Eagles themselves: The unlikely is humdrum.
Let’s be real: the Blue Hens blinked. Eastern never did, all year.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Resolutions don’t have to wait until New Year’s, but sometimes the calendar paints a guy into a corner.
After review, could we go back 13 years for even further review? Just for the what-if fun of it?
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.
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.
Dear Montana fan, I’m not sure how to say this, so I’m just going to say it.
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.
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?
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.
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.
“I’m so happy for the state of Washington that this Apple Cup is really going to mean something – for both schools.” – Steve Sarkisian
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: