Monthly Archives: November 2010

Gilby’s 2003 Huskies Upset WSU to Go 6-6, But Didn’t Go Bowling

Washington’s 16-13 win over California could go down in the history books as one of the biggest in school history. But it’ll be meaningless if Washington’s doesn’t beat Washington State in the Apple Cup on Saturday. Another 5-7 season won’t be anything to howl about.

But if Washington beats WSU, it’ll be 6-6 and could be rewarded with a trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl. Wonder what Keith Gilbertson thinks about that?Gilbertson was promoted to head coach at Washington in 2003 after Rick Neuheisel was fired and his 5-6 UW team played the No. 8-ranked Cougars (9-2 at the time). Washington upset WSU that day, 27-19, to become bowl eligible. Unfortunately, the Pac-10′s final bowl bid went to UCLA, which went on to lose to Fresno State in the Silicon Valley Bowl. Washington hasn’t had a sniff at a bowl until now.

Snow Bowl?: The latest Apple Cup in history will have more than bowl implications for the Washington Huskies. It’ll have snow. At least, that’s the forecast. Vince Grippi of The Spokesman Review writes about it. Click here to read it.

War of words:  Here’s a story from Cougfan.com’s archives that might help you get the juices flowing. You’ll find lines like this:

Huskies fish from charter boats. Cougars sit on the dock and let the fish come to them. 

Cougars name their kids after sports figures, entertainers and great humanitarians. Huskies name their children after sorority founders and dead Republican presidents.

Cougars donate to the poor and feel good about it. Huskies donate to the symphony so people will think they’re sophisticated.

Huskies think Rainier is a mountain. Cougars know it’s a beer.

Your turn: Have you got a favorite Apple Cup line? How about a favorite Apple Cup game? Post a comment and we’ll print some of the best ones in the paper later this week.

TV Replay: You can watch the UW-Cal football game on FSN-NW tonight and Monday at 7 p.m.

Boise State Thoughts

Friday night’s Boise State-Nevada overtime thriller came down to a pair of missed field goals by the Broncos’ Kyle Brotzman, but Brotzman should not shoulder all of the blame. He didn’t blow a 24-7 halftime lead.

 That loss didn’t prove that Boise State is not worthy of a BCS Bowl berth; I think it proved Nevada’s vastly underrated. The Wolf Pack’s a really good offensive team. Nevada wore down Boise’s defense in the second half. 

So instead of a possibly playing for a national championship or in a Bowl Championshp Series berth for $18 million, the Broncos are headed to the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco (it pays $850,000) or the Humanitarian Bowl ($750,000) on its own blue turf in Boise. Just another sign how screwed up the BCS system. How screwed up? Well, a four-loss UConn appears headed to the Big East Championship and the Fiesta Bowl opposite the Big 12 champ. And if it’s not UConn, then it’ll be a five-loss Pittsburgh team.

Monday Links: Hoops Feast and More

ESPN calls it Feast Week. And if you’re a fan of college basketball, it might be the best week of season until you get to the NCAA tournament. It’s almost wall-to-wall basketball with some really enticing matchups. Here’s a guide to Feast Week.

Monday’s lineup includes No. 22 Gonzaga against No. 4 Kansas State and No. 13 Washington vs. Virginia in Maui:

Noon Men, Wichita St. vs. Connecticut ESPN2  
 
2 p.m. Men, Oklahoma vs. Kentucky ESPN2  
 
3 p.m. Men, Clemson vs. Seton Hall FSN  
 
4:30 p.m. Men, Duke vs. Marquette ESPN2  
 
5:30 p.m. Men, Old Dominion vs. Xavier FSN  
 
6:30 p.m. Men, Kansas St. vs. Gonzaga ESPN2  
 
8 p.m. Men, Paradise Jam consolation FSN  
 
9 p.m. Men, Virginia vs. Washington ESPN2  

Hoop Notes

The Huskies will unveil a new uniform and shoe in Maui. … The Gonzaga-K-State winner in Kansas City will face the Duke-Marquette winner. Gonzaga’s coming off a loss against a very good San Diego State team in which a veteran Gonzaga frontline, thought to be the strength of the team, wasn’t very good.

Other Links

Joe Posnanski gives you a detailed look why Felix Henandez won a Cy Young Award with a 13-12 record. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the statistics of total wins will no longer be meaningful, Posnanski writes.

If you didn’t catch Blake Griffin’s dunks during a 45-point, 15-rebound effort against the Knicks the other night, you should check out this video.

Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck has had back-to-back triple digit quarterback ratings for the first time since the 2005 Super Bowl season. … Does Earl Thomas has a chance to be the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year? The safety picked off his fifth pass on Sunday.

If Washington beats Cal and Washington State, it’ll earn a date in the Holiday Bowl. Because of the lack of bowl eligible teams, the Pac-10 might end up with just four teams playing in the postseason.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the snow.

Bobsledder Schaaf Returns to Whistler

Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf culminated her first full season as a bobsledder with an impressive fifth-place finish at the 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, B.C. Schaaf returned to the Canadian track last week to begin preparations for the World Cup opener on Thanksgiving Day. I talked to Bree during training at Park City, Utah, and she was in the process of getting herself jazzed for the season.

As you can imagine, coming off an Olympic year, it’ s not as easy to get motivated this time around for a lot of the winter sports athletes. But Schaaf, now 30, is still a relative newcomer to the sport and she’s excited about her chances of a high finish on the World Cup.  She ended up No. 9 a year ago. Bree teamed with Emily Azevedo, her Olympic brakeman, to win an America’s Cup race in Park City, Utah, last week.

Bree spent part of her summer in South Africa, trading in all of her miles to volunteer for two weeks on a game reserve for Wildlife Act.  Look for a story on Bree in the next day or two.

For those of you who might want to drive to Whistler to watch the races, tickets are $10 and are available at the Whistler Visitor Information Center. You can also call (1-800-WHISLTER (944-7853). Kids 6 and under are free, but still need to obtain a ticket. If you’re a skier or a snowboarder, the conditions should be great for this early in the year.

Saturday Links: Villwock Wins in Qatar, Ties Muncey’s Record

Quick Hits on a Saturday afternoon:

Hydros: South Kitsap graduate Dave Villwock won his 62nd career unlimited  hydroplane race, and now shares the all-time record with Bill Muncey. Chip Hanauer retired with 61 wins. The three are regarded as the best drivers in the history of the sport. Here’s a link to Villwock’s win in Qatar. He was sponsored by the country of Qatar and said he must have signed 6,000 autographs during the week.

Offshore powerboats: Friends, co-workers and family of Kyler Talbot celebrated the Silverdale driver’s win in the world offshore boating championships in Key West, Fla., on Sunday. The gathering Friday night at the Yacht Club Broiler in Silverdale was a total surprise to Talbot. Here’s a link to a story we ran earlier in the week.

Basketball: Heading into Saturday night’s basketball game against UC Irvine, Seattle U’s Brandon Durham, a sophomore forward, still hasn’t missed a shot through five games. Durham was 2-for-2 from the field in a loss against Louisiana Tech and has now made all nine of his field-goal attempts. … Based on early returns, it looks like this could be Lorenzo Romar’s best team at Washington. The Huskies have size, quickness, depth, the ability to shoot it from outside and legit inside threats. And Venoy Overton and Justin Holiday are two of the top defenders in the country. Of course, we’ll know more after the Maui Invitational. The UW takes on Virginia, coached by former WSU coach Tony Bennett, on Monday. No. 2 Michigan State and Kentucky are also in the tournament. … Will DiIorio, the Metro League MVP a year ago for Bainbridge, is on the WSU roster. The walk-on is expected to redshirt this season. WSU plays Portland on Tuesday at KeyArnea.

Baseball: Aaron Cunningham of Port Orchard, an outfielder with the Padres, was in Victoria, B.C. last weekend to help with a clinic that was arranged by his agent. Cunningham’s not arbitration eligible and the fact that he’ll earn close to the major-league minimum might work in his favor when the low-budget Padres decide on a roster next spring. Here’s an analyis of the Padres’ roster situation.

Seahawks: Seattle’s an 11.5-point underdog against New Orleans on Sunday. The Saints are allowing a league-low 166 yards pass per game. This one could get ugly in a hurry for Seattle, unless QB Matt Hasselbeck can take advantage of the aggressive New Orleans defense by hitting some passes when the Saints are blitzing.

Huskies vs. Bruins: Blackout Thursday

Still ahead: Washington’s clearly been the superior squad, and Chris Polk has already rushed for 130 yards, but the Huskies haven’t been able to tack on any more points. There’s 12:01 left and the Huskies lead, 10-7.

Numbness starts to set in: I’m talking about my fingers. It’s a little chilly up here in the box. Wonder what the new press box will be like after the stadium improvements? The project got the go-ahead from UW regents earlier today. Here’s the story on the UW Website.

UW Leads: Washington got a FG on its first possession of the second half. It was a 9-play, 68-yard drive. UW 10, UCLA 7. Huskies were favored by 2.5 points so they’ve got it covered right now.

Halftime: 7-7. Locker capped an impressive drive with a 3-yard run. The drive was set up by a Cort Dennison interception. Washington’s maligned defense was starting to rise to the occasion against UCLA.

End of 1st Quarter: UCLA 7, UW 0. Not a good quarter for the Men in Black, though Locker ended it with an 11-yard run where he ran through and over about four UCLA defender. That was vintage Locker. Run, Jake, Run! When he has success running it, the Huskies are at their best on offense. We’ll see if they let him carry the rock a little more. There’s reason to hold anything back now. It’s not like they need to save him for Cal and WSU.

Yikes! Locker was nearly picked. He rolled left and threw a perfect pass to a UCLA defender, who dropped what might have been a ball he could have returned for an easy six. Locker was picked two plays later. Scrambling to his left, a pass for Devin Aguillar was intercepted by Evan Hester in front of the UCLA bench at the 31. UCLA doesn’t take advantage as Kai Forbath misses badly on a 44-yard FG attempt.

Ground Rick: UCLA just pounded out a 13-play 92-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead. Johnathan Franklin broke through a big hole the right side to score from 31 yards out. Just because you look faster in black uniforms, it doesn’t mean you tackle better.

Pregame: When ESPN decided to move tonight’s game to Thursday and put it on national television, they probably didn’t imagine that it would be matching a 3-6 Washington team against the 4-5 UCLA Bruins. No, they envisioned this game to be a showcase for a potential Heisman Trophy winner in Jake Locker and a Washington football team that seemed to be on the rise. And you never know what you’re going to get out of UCLA, but I’m sure they thought Rick Neuheisel’s Bruins would be better than they are.

But that was then, and this is now. Locker’s Heisman hopes were dashed long ago, and it’s still a meaningful game. The stakes aren’t all that high, but both teams still harbor bowl hopes.

And, yes, it’s officially a blackout. The Huskies are wearing black uniforms, the student body and most of the fans are in black and the end zones are black.

Here we go. It’s 35 degrees with an 8 mph wind. Chilly and it’s going to get chillier.

Checking Out Seattle U

I took a sea cruise on one of our state’s luxurious ocean liners tonight. Final destination: KeyArena.

The SuperSonics (remember them?) used to play at the place. It’s now the home of the Seattle Redhawks.

We’re about 12 minutes into the Seattle U-Oregon State basketball game. A couple of Kitsap products — Brandon Durham from Central Kitsap and Lane CC, and Bremerton’s Jarell Flora — play for the Redhawks. I hope to chat with them after the game. Durham, a 6-7 inside player, has been getting some minutes, and he’s got four points in a game Seattle leads 25-20. Flora didn’t make it off the bench in Seattle’s first three games, all losses. Seems like he’d really fit in with the Redhawks’ go-go-go style.

Not much of a crowd and I find it strange that neither team is wearing white. Seattle’s got its red uniforms on and OSU is in Orange.  The Redhawks thumped the Beavers 99-48 in Corvallis a year ago.

Notes: OSU coach Craig Robinson, President Obama’s brother-in-law, has gone away from his deliberate Princeton-style offense and given the Beavers the green light to get out and run more this season. … SU’s next home game is Nov. 29 vs. Montana State. The Redhawks plays Washington on Feb. 22 at KeyArena. … Garrett Lever, a senior guard for SU, is the son of former NBA player Fat Lever, one of the top defensive players of his era. He was a former first-round pick of the Trail Blazers who made a name for himself with the Nuggets.

Halftime: Durham had 5 points and two rebounds in eight minutes for Seattle U. The game’s tied 43-43. Except for 13 turnovers, SU’s playing well. They play hard. Sterling Carter, a freshman from Franklin High in Seattle, made 4-of-5 3-pointers and scored 16 points in the first 20 minutes.

Update: The game has turned sloppy. Really ratty. OSU leads 64-56 with a little over eight minutes left. Look for the AP story online after the game. I’m hoping to get a few words with Durham and Flora and will write something for later in the week if I do.

Washington State will play Portland on Tuesday at KeyArena. Here’s an update on WSU ticket sales for that game from our intrepid North Idaho reporter Howie Stalwick:
PULLMAN — Washington State basketball tickets are moving briskly for the sixth annual Cougar Hardwood Classic in Seattle as well as upcoming games in Pullman with third-ranked Kansas State and 11th-ranked Gonzaga, WSU tickets manager Jessica Young said Wednesday.
Young said ticket sales for the Hardwood Classic game with Portland, set for next Tuesday at KeyArena (7:30 p.m., FSN), are running ahead of last year’s pace. The Cougars drew a record 15,341 last December for an overtime win against Louisiana State.
Young said approximately 1,500 tickets are left for the Dec. 3 game with Kansas State (8 p.m., FSN). About 1,100 tickets are still available for the Dec. 8 contest with Gonzaga (8 p.m., FSN).
Young said about 6,500 tickets remain for the Apple Cup football game Dec. 4 with Washington (4 p.m., Versus). Young said the Huskies have returned some of their 4,800 allotted tickets and may return more.
To purchase tickets, go to www.cougars.com or phone (800) GO-COUGS.


Sunday Links and Questions, Questions, Questions

Mike Williams had 11 catches for 145 yards on Sunday for the Seahawks, and he did it with a broken pinkie finger. If he’s not the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, who is? Seriously, Williams has 46 catches. He was out of the league the last two years, and had eight catches in eight games the year before that and just 44 catches in the three years he played after being the 10th overall pick out of USC. Too bad he can’t play against the Cardinals every week. He’s got 22 catches in two games against Arizona this year.

This  big (6-foot-5), strong receiver started the season behind Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and second-round draft choice Golden Tate on the depth chart. Now, he’s become the center of Seattle’s offense. He doesn’t get into the end zone (just one TD so far), but if he has a good game, the Seahawks have a good game.

Does Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals mean we can call them the resurgent Seattle Seahawks? Considering how they were domianted the previous two games, and factoring in they are now in sole possession of first place, I think you can. While Arizona looked inept on offense and puzzled at times on defense, coach Pete Carroll and his staff deserve a pat on the back for getting the Seahawks back on track, or at least out of the ditch and on the road again.

Are you drinking Carroll’s Kool-aide again?

Gray Does It All for Zags

Gonzaga cruised to its second straight blowout win on Sunday with Bainbridge grad Steven Gray leading the way with 17 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals against IUPUI. That follows Gray’s 25-point game against Southern on Friday. The Zags have a bigger test on Tuesday at home against No. 25 San Diego State.

As for Gray, coach mark Few had this to say on Sunday: “He does everything good. He’s our best defender, he’s our best playmaker, he’s our best shooter. He’s just a complete guard.” Read the AP story here.

Quick quiz? What’s IUPUI stand for? If you said Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, you’re right. Can’t they come up with a better name than that?

OK, time for some more links and questions:

Looks like Jake Locker could be a game-day decision this week. The UW quarterback with injured ribs returned to practice on Saturday, but didn’t participate in any contact drills. Washington plays UCLA at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Husky Stadium. What do you think of Locker’s UW career? He’s got three, maybe four games left? Are you disappointed in how he’s played, or are you sympathic because of the players he’s been surrounded with during his career? Just wondering.

Former Husky football coach Rick Neuheisel will be back in town with the Bruins, who, like the Huskies, are trying to become bowl eligible. Here’s a nice L.A. Times piece on Neuheisel’s relationship with a former player he coached at Colorado. Neuheisel still has his share of detractors from his time at the UW, but nobody ever denied that he wasn’t a likeable guy. I’ll never forget the night he climbed on stage with former UCLA teammate Norm Johnson and sang with Joey Dean after the rodeo one night at the Kitsap County Fair.

Many Husky fans still think of Neuheisel as public enemy No. 1. Do you view Neuheisel as a villian, someone who ran the program into the ground, and deserved to be fired? Or should he be held in higher esteem for what he accomplished on the field? His 2001 team won the Rose Bowl and he was 33-16 in four years before he was fired after the controvery surrounding an NCAA betting pool.

Oregon’s making news in basketball, too. The Ducks’ recruiting class for 2011 is ranked No. 19 and Washington comes in at No. 21, according to Rivals.com. Do you hate the Ducks or admire them for what they’ve achieved athletically in recent years? If Oregon plays for the BCS championship this year, will you root for them?

The NBA’s latest dynamic duo, Kevin Durant and Michael Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, could be playing in front of packed houses in Seattle if the franchise hadn’t been wisked away by Clay Bennett. Just for kicks, here’s an Art Thiel column in 2007 about Durant possibly being the player who could save the franchise in Seattle. How many of you ex-SuperSonics’ fans follow the Thunder? Do you care about the NBA anymore? The guy at the next desk thinks we should stop running NBA box scores in the paper. Any thoughts?

Joe Morgan’s a smart guy, was a great second baseman, and a not-so-great baseball announcer who was let go by ESPN recently, along with his sidekick, Jon Miller, after being the voices on the Sunday Game of the Week for 21 years. Joe Posnanski writes about Morgan in his blog, like only Joe Posnanski can. He also writes about his love-hate affair with Derek Jeter. Check it out here. 

Finally, what should the Mariners do to honor Dave Niehaus, who died last week? They hung jersey No. 77 in his broadcast booth during Saturday’s tribute at Safeco Field. Niehaus started calling Seattle games in 1977. Should they retire jersey No. 77? Should they build a statue in his honor? What’s the proper tribute? Any new ideas out there?

Friday Links and Comments: On Wille B, Gray, Hammel, Locker, Hawks …

The Washington Nationals are reportedly interested in Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist, who finished the season with the Cincinnati Reds. Here’s the link. Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune reported that Cincinnati GM Walk Jocketty has made no attempt to re-sign the former Mariner. Bloomquist is also included in this list of super utility players compiled by Ron Neyer of ESPN.com.

Comment: It’ll be interesting to see if the veteran utilityman gets another two-year deal this time around. I doubt it, but he’ll land on his feet and he’ll continue to be a valuable player for somebody. Jim Riggleman, the Nats’ manager and former interim manager of the Mariners, would be the kind of no-nonsense guy who would appreciate what Bloomquist brings to the table: versatility, smart base-running, defense.

If you’re into baseball’s new-wave statistics, this story will interest you. Using something called Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), it compares the 2010 seaosns of Jason Hammel, the Rockies’ pitcher from South Kitsap, with right-hander Clay Bucholz of the Boston Red Sox. Read the story here.
Comment: I have had a hard time getting excited about the FIP, WHIP, WAR — acronyms for other popular statistical measures — but this is pretty interesting stuff. Hammel’s numbers were a lot of better than they looked, especially when measured side-by-side against Bucholz.
College Hoops
Steven Gray said he made it right past intermission before his character — Tybalt — was killed off in the student production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Gonzaga coach Mark Few seemed a little disturbed  that his senior guard, the former Bainbridge and Chimacum star, wasn’t fully devoting himself to basketball during the offseason. At least, that’s what he told Howie Stalwick, who write this story for The Sun. But Gray’s off to a pretty good start, hitting 5-of-8 3-pointers and scoring 25 points with nine assists in the Zags’ blowout win over Southern on Friday night.
Comment: Outside of John Stockton, the Zags haven’t had a lot of players make it in the NBA. Even Adam Morrison was a bust at that level. I think Gray’s got a chance. He’s got the size — Gray’s a legit 6-5 — and an all-around game. I think he’ll prove to be a dangerous 3-point shooter his senior season.

College Football
Ted MiIller of ESPN.com points out that the Pac-10 likely won’t have six bowl-eligible football teams this years. He writes:
The conference started the season with only nine eligible teams for six contracted bowl slots because USC is ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA sanctions. Washington State is already assured of a losing record. Washington and Arizona State needs to win-out to become bowl eligible. UCLA and Oregon State need two more wins. California needs one. It’s almost certain that the conference won’t produce six bowl-eligible teams. And if Oregon plays for the national title and Stanford manages to get a Rose Bowl invitation — or at-large berth to another BCS bowl game — then a number of contracted bowls could end up scrambling for replacement teams.
Comment: It’s stacking up to be an unusual year. Oregon and Stanford are as good as anybody in the country, but the Pac-10 IS NOT the best strongest conference in the country, as some have proclaimed. That honor still belongs to the SEC, which is, by far, the deepest conference in the country. The Pac-10′s passed the Big Ten this year, and the Big 12′s in a major decline with Texas and Okalahoma, its two traditional leaders, having sub-par seasons.
Washington QB Jake Locker has slipped from No. 1 to No. 16 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board, a rating of the top NFL prospects in the country. Stanford QB Andrew Luck is No. 1 on the list. This is what Kiper writes about Locker::”I expect Locker to bounce back during the workout portion of the draft buildup, but he has simply raised a lot of questions.”
Comment: From the get-go, for a vareity of reasons, it’s not been a very good year for the fifth-year senior. But it would be pretty cool to see him lead the Dawgs to three straight victories and get an opportunity to finish his career in a bowl game. His final home game is Thursday, Nov. 18, against UCLA, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be healthy enough to play. You’re not supposed to cheer in this businenss, but it’s hard not to pull for the kid from Ferndale.

The Seahawks
Seattle has not defeated the Cardinals in Arizona since Ken Whisenhunt took over as head coach. Here’s a look at this week’s NFC Worst matchup.
Comment: It’s hard to take the Seahawks seriously at this point. When they were 4-2, Tony Dungy thought they might be the best team in the NFC. They’re still 4-4 and tied for first in the worst division in football, but this is a team in decline. And there’s really no reason to beleive that they can turn it around.