Sport at your fingertips: There may be no snow or turning the calendar, but winter and its best are returning this week

SPORT AT HAND • One of the most interesting parts of the year begins today. It’s November 1st, or as some call it, All Saints’ Day. In our house, however, we refer to it as the beginning of winter. And the start of basketball season.

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• The next four months are in our humble opinion the worst of the year. And the best. Sounds like something straight out of a Dickens novel, doesn’t it?

The worst is obvious. Little daylight. Much cold, rain and snow. Until March arrives, we’re somewhat forced to hole up and live a reclusive life indoors.

The best part? It’s the heart of the basketball season. Oh sure, baseball still has some presence today. And football is the 175-pound mastif dominating the queen-size bed for the next 90 days or so. But these next four months have been, and will be, basketball time.

Even though it’s not even the best time of the sport. This is March, with all its hyped high school and college level madness. But it is the most important time. The time James Naismith envisioned that cold, dreary day in Springfield, Mass. when he invented the game.

North of the 45th parallel, winter outdoor exercise is limited. Of course there is skiing. Cross country and downhill. boarding in the snow. Walk for a while. Maybe cycling when the roads are clear. But all bring into play Mother Nature’s generosity, or lack thereof.

Basketball is mostly played in a warm gym. Comfortably warm. Almost like a big hug. OK, we went a little overboard there for a second. But with good reason. There’s nothing like walking through a door into a gym or an arena filled with loved ones on a wet, windy November afternoon, or a muddy, snowy December night, or a foggy January evening, or especially the infinitely gloomy days of February Tires.

It makes us happy. And drives away the blues.

• Yes, college level basketball games begin this week. Even high school hoops have started in some parts of our area. play youth teams. But that’s still background noise for the most part. Football is still in its heyday.

And what better story in the entire NFL than what’s going on in Seattle?

It’s not just the Seahawks are 5-3. That’s happened a lot in the last few decades. Hell, there were years, not too long ago, when 5-3 would have been a disappointment. It’s about how they posted that record.

Look, we understand that football, especially the NFL, is the ultimate sport of the week. That’s part of its charm. We overreact to every part of it, the good and the bad. The Hawks put together a great three-week stretch. It lifted them out of obscurity into relevance. Put the spotlight not only on Geno Smith — the NFL’s comeback player of the year, if not half a decade — but on the rookie class, the receivers, Pete Carroll, heck, the umpire and his mix of sports.

However, it could all end on Sunday. Walk into Arizona’s House of Horrors, lose, and the narrative evolves. Of course, how much depends on the result, but 360 degrees is possible.

Today there are calls for the head of Cliff Kingsbury in Phoenix. The cardinals look terrible. They had Minnesota on the ropes and lost last week. Go back a year. They competed November 7-1, having just lost their first game of the year in Green Bay by three. An emerging powerhouse, people said. From there they went 4-5 and lost four of their last five games. Lost heavily in the opening round of the playoffs. The narrative changed. Kingsbury went from genius to fool in a matter of weeks.

The 3:5 start this season hasn’t changed the perception at all. But a win on Sunday could. At least a bit. And tarnish how everyone feels about the Hawks. That’s the league. And always will be.

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WSU: We don’t want to stack, although we do – often. This is a big week for the Cougars. Colton Clark has his first look at the Stanford matchup Saturday. You know the stakes. No need to repeat them. …Hey, take this. The Stanford tree is in trouble. Shocking. … Elsewhere in Pac-12 and college football, Jon Wilner has his weekly power rankings on the SR and a look at the betting odds on the Mercury News. He also examines the Big 12’s media deal from the Pac-12’s perspective. … Washington plays with a key matchup on Friday, hosting Oregon State. The game can determine who takes the crown as the 5th best team in the conference. The Beavers have both quarterbacks healthy. … If you have a head coaching vacancy there will be coach rumor stories. There is for Arizona State. … Colorado also has a coaching job and a much worse roster. It also plays Oregon this week, though the Ducks have lost a receiver since beating California last week. … Just as Arizona can score, Utah may need all of its offensive weapons. But no one knows who will be at quarterback. … Do you want to laugh? Chip Kelly thinks UCLA will have fewer late-night games in the Big Ten. Why should this happen? … In the basketball news, a couple of brothers should help the state of Arizona. … A freshman will certainly help UCLA. … The NCAA told Arizona it will be without a player for three early games. … Colorado starts games this week.

gonzaga: Of all the Zags we’ve seen over the year, maybe Jeremy Pargo was the one — what a smile — we thought was headed to Hollywood. Right behind Eric Gem, of course. Anyway, Theo Lawson has a story about Pargo moving off the hoops and into another, bigger film role. … David Stockton is not going in that direction just yet. He’s still trying to help the US national team. Jim Meehan has this story. … Andy Katz counts his top 11 (no, I’m not sure why he has 11) non-conference games. The Zags are part of three of them. Kentucky’s visit to the arena is #1, the game on the Abraham Lincoln vs. Michigan State is sixth, and the Baylor game in South Dakota checks in at 10 p.m. … Elsewhere in the WCC, the USF women may face big things.

EMU and Idaho: All around the Big Sky, the conference has the same five teams in the rankings. However, some places have changed. … UC Davis is trying to put together a playoff run. … The state of Montana has reinforcements for its northern Arizona date this week. … An Idaho state player with local connections was recently cited for DUI.

Whitworth: The Pirates’ top finisher at the Northwest Conference Cross Country Championships was a woman with local ties. Madelyn Buckley’s finish highlights SR’s latest column of local briefs.

Preparations: District soccer games were held yesterday. Dave Nichols has the results in this summary.

Seahawks: Real? Secure. Long lasting? We will see. We’re not just referring to the Hawks, we’re also referring to Smith. … Bud Grant and Pete Carroll have a lot in common. … The Seahawks are still the kings of Seattle. … Questions? We’ll pass on the answers.

Sailors: We had a deal last night. Kim passed out candy and we sat in the basement with the dogs and watched the World Series. The series did not live up to its end of the bargain. Rain. At the end we also distributed sweets.

Octopus: Ron Francis isn’t unhappy with how Seattle is doing.

sea ​​dragon: This is a new segment of our link pack. Mainly because this is a new (old) XFL team.

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• Times are tough. We have evidence. As we were handing out our regular-size candy bars last night — thanks to Costco — we noticed something different in our visitors’ pockets. We were the only ones doing that. Unusual for our neighborhood. By the way, we had less than 15 visitors so it didn’t cost us too much. See you later …

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