A Grip on Sports: Cougars head home, just as Idaho and Seahawks head to Bay Area over fun weekend ahead

SPORTS MASTERY • What a weird weekend ahead. How’s that for weird: The Seahawks are first in the NFC West. The Mariners are tied for first in the American League wildcard standings. The Cougars will live a season without a perfect conference. Washington too. And Idaho? He’s expected to perform to a sold-out crowd as he welcomes Drake – no, not this Drake – at the Kibbie Dome.

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• At least if you want to watch Seattle in their Sunday rivalry game at the 49ers, you don’t need to buy an Amazon Prime membership. Unlike last night. Anyone watching? Hotels don’t have the capability on their TVs and we weren’t about to sit in front of our laptop (we’re too old for that) so we missed it.

In other words, we didn’t get to see Jaylen Watson do things that we’ve seen him do for the past two years in Pullman. But his old school will be available tomorrow to anyone with access to Pac-12 networks, so not us yet. Hotels are weird that way. So do loved ones looking to save a few bucks.

Either way, the Cougars host winless Colorado State at 2 p.m. If you really like Palouse football, you can probably catch the first half of the Vandals game in Moscow, then cross the border – not too fast, especially if you’re heading back through the airport – and also watch WSU . Or, you can sit in your living room and watch the UI on SWX (starting at noon), then switch to Cougs at your leisure.

Washington has a big cross-sectional battle (is that the right term anymore?) with Michigan State in 11th place tomorrow at 4:30 a.m., with ABC showing the game to everyone from Montana to Montlake. And other less sophisticated places.

Speaking of those places, if this was the 1970s, we’d be glued to the 9am TV. Oklahoma invades Nebraska but that’s not the game, or the rivalry, it once was. Heck, the two schools aren’t in the same conference, they’ve both lost coaches in the last nine months and neither Billy Sims nor Johnny Rodgers in the backfield.

What is really bizarre, the best games of the day can include Pac-12 schools. California is at Notre Dame (NBC, 11:30 a.m.) with one of the two winless and the other undefeated. But not who you might think. Additionally, 12th-ranked BYU travels to No. 25 Oregon for a game at 12:30 p.m. on Fox. Sounds more interesting to us, anyway, than No. 22 Penn State at Auburn (also 12:30 p.m. on CBS).

The Seahawks could actually have an advantage in Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon. It’s supposed to rain. Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers have traditionally not handled rain well, including last week’s Midwest monsoon in Chicago. If you like playing the “if the season ends today” game, then you’re in luck. The Hawks would be champions in their first post-Russell Wilson season. In reality, they are injured, with Jamal Adams out for the season, the ground game suspect, and San Francisco angry after the loss to the Bears.

What else is there? Well, baseball of course. The M’s are in Anaheim for a four-game set. It could be interesting because Seattle killer Mike Trout is healthy again – he recently homered in seven straight games and none of them were against the Mariners – and Shohei Ohtani will start on the mound this week-end.

• A brief word on the end of an era. Roger Federer retired from tennis yesterday. The first question that comes to everyone is whether he is the best of all time in his sport. We are not sure. He was certainly among the best, with his 20 Grand Slam titles spread fairly evenly across three of the big events (although he only won once, in 2009 at the French). He has won Wimbledon eight times, a record. He was world No. 1 a record 237 consecutive weeks. He won at Wimbledon at 21 and in Australia at 36. Pretty good.

It doesn’t matter that he is the best of all time. His demeanor, class, and competitiveness put him on a level above many who came before him. He was more of a throwback to the golden age of tennis and helped usher in a new one, in which his rivalry with Rafael Nadal took tennis to levels of global popularity never seen before.

Federer was special. And will be missed.

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WSU: Colorado State is very similar to Washington State. At least that’s how Jake Dickert sees it. And how he described the Rams to Colton Clark for this preview of Saturday’s game. … The Pac-12 has released the final basketball schedule and we have the Cougars’ perspective to convey. … The football team routed Northern Colorado 6-0. … Elsewhere in Pac-12 and college football, we passed on Jon Wilner’s picks yesterday. Today we add those of John Canzano. … Wilner has some thoughts on the weekend in the Mercury News. …Washington would like to turn Husky Stadium into a huge home field advantage again. Michigan State really doesn’t want that, or to see Michael Penix Jr. again. … BYU couldn’t run the ball against Baylor last week. Can the Ducks learn anything from this game plan? It starts with Oregon containing the Cougars quarterback. … The offensive line needs to play better for Oregon State … Yes, California is playing a guaranteed game at Notre Dame. The Bears need the money. … Colorado has been better at the start of games so far. … Cam Rising burst onto the scene at Utah last year against San Diego State. … USC and Fresno State are set to put on an offensive show Saturday night at the Coliseum. … The Sun Belt was tough last week. This one, UCLA hosts southern Alabama from this conference. Are the Bruins ripe for a surprise? … North Dakota State might be the best team Arizona has faced this season.

Gonzaga: Jalen Suggs is set for the NBA’s No. 2 year. Are the Orlando Magic ready to give him a big role?

Idaho: The vandal defense was marked with takeaways. Wait, that word has another meaning in a sports context. OK, so we’ll use the turnover numbers to be more specific. Ignore the meaning of bakery please. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, could the conference lose its commissioner to Mountain West? … The USD is heading towards UC Davis this week. … Idaho State is working to improve its defense before facing central Arkansas. …Northern Colorado goes to Lamar. … A Montana linebacker really stepped up.

Whitworth: The Pirates host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Southern California’s three-headed school, at the Pine Bowl on Saturday. Jason Shoot has a preview. Three against one doesn’t seem fair.

Preparations: It’s Friday so Dave Nichols helps you get ready for high school weekend with a story about Rogers’ big win last week. … He then adds in coverage of last night’s GSL match, a victory for Mead. Tyler Tjomsland has a photo gallery from the contest. … Finally, he throws a roundup of Thursday’s other action your way.

mma: Charlotte McKinley has a story about the Spokane siblings fighting on the same card at Auburn this weekend.

Sailors: Seattle had another day off before the weekend wrap-up series in Anaheim. They are still in the joker driver’s seat. How is this determined? … What job was the key to the reconstruction? The one with San Diego.

Seahawks: We linked Matt Calkins’ thoughts on Jamal Adams yesterday when the story was in The Times. He ran in the SR this morning. … With Adams out for the year, who will replace him? … Cody Barton made a KJ Wright-type play against the Broncos. … Shaun Alexander is heading to Ring of Honor on October 16th. … Can the Hawks stop the 49ers’ run game?

Storm: Breanna Stewart wasn’t just a WNBA pick, she was a unanimous pick.

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• Thank you for listening this morning. Remember, we won’t be here tomorrow. We leave early for a college football game at the West Coast’s most famous stadium. Which is it? Here’s a hint. This is a place where we covered our first game of bowling – wrote an article about Jacque Robinson. OK, another clue. One year we played our high school baseball games next door. It’s also next to where we learned to play golf. To abandon? So you haven’t been paying attention for the last decade. It’s yours. Catch up. Find out when we return on Sunday. Until later …

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