Grip on Sports: A Saturday in early October is always perfect for watching football

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s another cool, crisp fall Saturday morning, so we are constitutionally mandated to talk college football. No one here wants to head to jail, so we will comply. Read on. •••••••••• • Yesterday was one of those days in which there was so many sporting events on television, sometimes parts of your body began to go to sleep from inactivity. We’re talking about the part that makes contact with the Laz-E-Boy. Why move? There were baseball playoff games on all day. The U.S. National Soccer Team played a crucial World Cup qualifier. A college football game. Heck, if you wanted to watch hockey or the NBA, those games were on as well. A cornucopia more than a month before the word “cornucopia” is legally allowed to be used. But today is different. (Oh, sure, baseball is still on, though the Yankees aren’t playing so a certain segment of the viewing public – the frontrunner crowd – thinks the game is dormant today.) Today is Saturday. College football Saturday. A day, and night, filled with pageantry, passion and passes. There is a pre-show on now, with the Washington State flag overseeing GameDay for a Cal Ripken-like 200th consecutive week. There are battles ready to be waged from Boston to San Diego, from Seattle to Miami and everywhere in between. The sun will rise on college football and will set long before the games are done. For once, however, the sun will still be shining when all of our local teams kick off. Of course, only for a while for the Cougars and not at all for the Vandals, who are in the Kibbie Dome. No complaints here. The start times this week are just fine. Wait until next week for the whining. Anyhow, the TV is ready. The snacks are ready. The yard will have to wait. The gutters can be cleaned out tomorrow. College football is on. • Earlier this season I sat down and figured out Luke Falks stats against Oregon State. They are eye-popping, of course. After this season’s win, he finished his four starts against the Beavers – all wins – 153-of-206 passing for 1,689 yards. His completion percentage was 74.3 percent. And he tossed 22 touchdowns against just two interceptions. Pretty darn good. But his statistics against Oregon are also pretty good. In his two starts, Falk has completed 86 of 122 passes (70.5 percent) for 876 yards. He’s thrown six touchdowns and nary an interception. Washington State has won both games by a combined margin of 96-71. Which means, in six games against Pac-12 teams from Oregon, Falk’s Cougars are 6-0, while he was throwing for 2,565 yards, completing 72.9 percent of his passes and accounting for 28 touchdowns. For those of you who root for one of the Oregon FBS schools, there is some good news. Luke Falk is a senior. ••• WSU: Theo Lawson is confident Falk will end his Washington State career 7-0 against Oregon’s Pac-12 schools, picking the Cougars 35-27 in this one. He does point out, however, this Duck defense is under new management, and that manager, Jim Leavitt, had a good game plan for Falk last season at Colorado. Physical defensive backs too, which may not be the case tonight in Eugene. … Theo also has his keys to the game. … WSU’s Speed D is, well, speedy. The Times’ Stefanie Loh explains what that really means. … Who will start at quarterback for the Ducks today? No one knows for sure.  Elsewhere in the Pac-12, there are always questions. And answers. … We have one. Do late kickoffs cause trouble for Pac-12 Heisman candidates? We are of two minds on this one. … Washington hosts California tonight. There is some history between the programs. And one great running back. … Two teams who can’t afford to lose, Colorado and Arizona, meet in Boulder. … After the frustrating loss to Washington State, USC hopes to bounce back at home versus Oregon State. The Trojans will. … No. 18 Utah knows it has to stop Bryce Love, the best Stanford running back in, well, this year. … Arizona State coach Todd Graham would like to stay Arizona State coach Todd Graham. … In basketball, UCLA’s Steve Alford has signed an extension. Gonzaga: Former GU player Kyle Dranginis earned an honor. EWU: The Eagles are in sunny California, where UC Davis has turned it around under first-year coach Dan Hawkins. Jim Allen has an advance of the contest with the 3-2 Aggies. … The Aggies are hoping their winning record is the truth. … The Eagle soccer team picked up a win at North Dakota. … Around the Big Sky, Southern Utah gets back in action against winless Cal Poly. … A bad season is getting worse for North Dakota, which hosts Northern Colorado today. … Portland State travels to Montana State, which is expected to play even more youngsters today. … Idaho State hosts Montana in a game with a lot of connections. … Northern Arizona has a non-conference home game against Northern Illinois. Idaho: The Vandals are looking to get over the .500 mark today when they host Louisiana-Lafayette and its porous defense. Peter Harriman has a preview of the 2 p.m. contest. Whitworth: The Pirates will need to bounce back after the loss at Linfield and who better to do it against than George Fox? Except this year’s Fox team is pretty good and brings a 3-1 mark into the Pine Bowl. Whitney Ogden has a preview. Chiefs: The power play has been Spokane’s one weak link this season and it bit the Chiefs some last night in a 6-1 home loss to Portland. Kevin Dudley was in the Arena and has this game story. … Spokane signed a defenseman yesterday. … Everett is on its Eastern road trip, which it opened with a victory. Preps: Friday night featured a showdown in the Valley, with Central Valley holding off Gonzaga Prep 24-14 to take the inside track in the 4A title race. Dave Nichols has that story. … But Mead stayed in the hunt by winning its rivalry game with Mt. Spokane. Kevin Blocker covered that game while James Snook put together a photo report. … Jim Meehan witnessed Post Falls’ easy 49-14 win over visiting Lake City and has this story. … We also can pass along a football roundup and another from volleyball. … A B Tournament legend died recently. Seahawks: There is a chance first draft pick Malik McDowell may still play this season. That was talked about after Pete Carroll revealed Quinton Jefferson broke his hand the first day after re-signing with the team. … The Rams expect Jared Goff to be tested by the Legion of Boom. … Tavon Austin will lend a helping hand. Sounders: If the U.S. Men’s National Team had lost Friday’s World Cup qualifier to Panama, the road to Russia would have been like I-405 during rush hour in Renton. But the U.S. took care of business, blowing out Panama 4-0 in Orlando. •••        • Betting is allowed on college football. That always makes one worry about the temptation to manipulate the line. Which is why some folks shy away from wagers on sporting events and play state-sponsored lotteries instead. But the next time you buy one of those tickets, think of this. It’s my favorite story of the day. Give the man his money. Until later …

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