Weekend Thoughts Around The Northwest – The Good, Bad, And Ugly

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Looking back on the sports’ scene from this past weekend for the Washington teams, I can only think of three, simple descriptors: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

First off, the Good. The Washington State Cougar football team continued to roll through their powder-puff early schedule with a 59-17 beating of Northern Colorado on Saturday. The Cougar game scheduler clearly needs to step up his game. 

I realize these games are scheduled years in advance, but in what realm of reality was Northern Colorado ever going to be any kind of a test for a team with Pac-12 title aspirations? Same with the Cougars’ first game against New Mexico State. Come on!

To be taken seriously on the national landscape of college football, the non-conference schedule needs to be a better test. The Cougs’ first two games, not so much. 

However, they did dismantle both teams as they should. The team put up 58 and 59 points respectively, and their new fifth-year-senior quarterback, Anthony Gordon, has looked fantastic. He has patiently waited his turn behind Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew the past four seasons, and those are two quarterbacks currently playing on Sundays. Ok, Falk is on the Jets practice squad. 

Gordon picked up right where Minshew left off when the Cougs won a school record-best 11 games last season. Gordon already has nine touchdown passes and 884 yards in the two games. But again, look at the opponent and pump the brakes. We’ll check back once the Pac-12 schedule starts and see how the team looks. Two games into the season, so far so good. 

The Bad has to be the Washington Husky team’s loss to the Cal Bears for the second year in a row. I attended the game, for the first 10 minutes, before thunder and lightning sent me home and out of the rain. 

I do have to say that storm was like nothing I have ever seen before. I’m from Montana where lightning is quite common, but Saturday night was otherworldly. It went on and on, and the weather service said there were over 2,200 lightning strikes. Wow! 

Unfortunately for the Huskies, the two-and-a-half-hour delay did them no favors. Yes, both teams experienced the delay, and both had to play deep into the night. But the Huskies had a 15 home-winning streak on the line and just came out flat. 

Their play was sloppy with fumbles, interceptions, missed tackles, and dropped passes, which is very un-Chris Peterson-like. Usually the head coach’s teams do a great job of protecting the football and forcing the other team into costly mistakes. Not Saturday. 

I do have to say seeing new transfer quarterback, Jacob Eason, in person is quite a sight. That is one big human. He is not only huge; he is also a genuine athlete. He can move around in the pocket and has a rocket for an arm. I think once he gets more comfortable with that team, he is going to be really good. He’ll need more help from an experienced crop of receivers, but the sky is the limit. 

On paper all the ingredients are there for a successful season: great running game, stud quarterback, and a daunting defense. Putting it all together seems to be the challenge. On a very strange evening, Saturday just wasn’t the Huskies’ night. Dropping the Pac-12 opener makes a championship run even more difficult. 

The truly Ugly part of the weekend in Seattle, however, was the Seattle Mariners. Ugh.

When I looked at my phone to check their score on Saturday, I thought I was still on the college football scoreboard. 

21 to 1. 

What?

The Houston Astros continue to play big-brother to the Mariners and swept them over the weekend. They are 16-1 against the M’s this season, and they still play two more times. Ouch. 

Felix Hernandez continues his farewell tour …… wait, what? That hasn’t been announced? Oh, my bad. 

The King continued his slide into the scrap heap, giving up 11 runs in just two innings. He has been so good for the Mariners for so long, doesn’t he deserve to go out with a little more respect than leaving him in the game when he obviously doesn’t have anything? Just saying.

The throw-away, step-back, tanking or whatever you want to call this season can’t get over fast enough in Seattle. There is nothing to play for other than getting young players some game-time experience. But what are they really learning when every game is nowhere near competitive? The poor kids have to look at the standing every day and see the team 36+ games out of first place. Demoralizing. 

Let’s hope this season doesn’t leave a scar on some of the promising prospects in the organization. Only time will tell, but right now calling the Mariners “ugly” is being kind. 

It was truly a strange weekend for our state’s college football teams as well as the Mariners. The football teams have the whole season in front of them, so their future is bright. What comes of the Mariners’ season remains to be seen. For all those fans, fingers crossed. 

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About Author

John D. Hunter is Montana native but grew up in the Tacoma/Seattle area and proudly attended Washington State University. He is a former morning show producer on KJR SportsRadio in Seattle. For 7 years he produced ‘Knight in the Morning’ with Michael Knight and New York Vinnie. From there he moved to ESPN.com where he spent another 7 years as an Interactive Editor and Soccer reporter/writer. He has covered 3 Super Bowls, the NBA Finals, 1998 World Cup in France and many more sporting events.

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