Sports Handled: A packed college football Saturday begins with a brunch in Tucson where revenge is on the menu

SPORT AT HAND • There is nothing quiet on Saturdays at this time of year. Or plenty of time to breathe deeply. Start with brunch with the Cougars – make sure it has a Southwestern theme – and finish with the best of the Pac-12 conference. Be prepared for anything in between.


• Actually this morning should probably start with a long look at GameDay. Coming to our home from Bozeman, Mont., it features temperatures never seen before on the show. How does 1 degree sound?

We are fascinated. Mainly because we’re wondering if the cougar flag is flying or just frozen in place. Most likely, a student from the state of Montana will show up on ESPN and pull a Christmas Carol and stick his tongue to the pole just to get on national television. If our younger son were still in the middle of his lonely semester at MSU, we could imagine that.

But an icy GameDay isn’t as sweet as a cold revenge meal. Who gets to serve it in Tucson today, the Cougars or Jayden de Laura?

It’s no secret that de Laura wanted out of Pullman as soon as the Nick Rolovich vaccination debacle broke out. Maybe even before. Maybe even since his DUI last summer (he was found not guilty). Before he left, however, he led Washington State to one of the most memorable Apple Cup wins of all time.

He then threw a pile of rotting fruit at school and reportedly found his UA landing spot before the Cougars’ bowl game.

He mentioned after the Wildcats’ excitement over UCLA last weekend that the WSU game was “personal” for him, which was to be expected. When a divorce happens, the happy memories fade for a while, replaced by all the bitterness of the breakup. On both sides.

He will have his chance today to make a statement. So are the Cougars on defense. Can they force de Laura into some unwise throws? Can they contain his favorite spin move? Can they cover his stable with outstanding receivers? All good questions. And all likely keys to a WSU win today.

That and the injury-free offensive line protecting Cameron Ward. And opening holes for Nakia Watson.

The Wildcat defense has struggled this season but did just enough to earn an away win last week against Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the ninth-placed Bruins. Now they’re home, still clinging to bowl game hope — WSU has snagged their berth — and trying to get de Laura a present.

It should be interesting.


WSU: Colton Clark admits this morning he struggled with his selection. He ended up going with the Cougars. … He also previews the game and the keys to victory. … Elsewhere in Pac-12 and college football, Jon Wilner answers questions on the Mercury News and provides insight into recruiting. … Washington may be eyeing the Apple Cup, but that shouldn’t matter against an overwhelmed Colorado. … The featured game may take place in Los Angeles, but the best may end up in Eugene. However, it depends on who takes the field for Oregon and Utah. Both schools have talent. The ducks could be more exhausted this week. … Expectations are at a zillion points in a windy Rose Bowl tonight. Maybe the Santa Ana’s are keeping the total down. But it shouldn’t be that much since neither USC nor UCLA have lockdown defenses. … The Big Game is anything but for Stanford and California. … Oregon State doesn’t want to look past a wounded Arizona State team. … On the basketball news, what the heck is going on with Colorado? Lose to UMass, then defeat No. 24Texas A&M. The Buffs already have wins against the Aggies and No. 11 Tennessee and some unexplained casualties. … Arizona was much more consistent. … UCLA faced its first test – and failed. …USC was not tested by Mount St. Mary’s. … Oregon will go without players for a while. … Washington suffered another strange loss on Thursday.

gonzaga: The women are in the Bahamas, where they will have a rematch with the school that knocked them out of the NCAA basketball tournament last season. Jim Allen previews the game against sixth-placed Louisville.

EMU: It’s been a bad season for the Eagles. It ends today at Roos Field. Can Eastern finish off with a win over Northern Colorado? Dan Thompson has things for us to look at. … Elsewhere in the big sky, the Brawl in the Wild is being played out in typical Montana conditions. … Weber State hopes to ruin Northern Arizona’s soured hopes in the conference’s latest rivalry game. … The best game is in Northern California between No. 2 Sacramento State and UC Davis. … On the basketball news, Idaho State couldn’t keep up against Denver. … Northern Arizona treated UC Santa Barbara. … Montana State hoisted a championship banner and then rolled Warner Pacific. … Montana has claimed a road win.

Idaho: If the Vandals are to have any chance of making the FCS playoffs, they need to end a difficult week by beating Idaho State in Pocatello. Peter Harriman tells us what to see.

Preparations: Mead and Mt. Spokane failed in the 3A Volleyball Finals and Semifinals respectively, winning Lakeside. … State football heads into the final today where the St George girls play for a title.

bosses: When Spokane loses, it usually loses by a wide margin. That was the case on Friday night in Kelowna, a 10-3 loss to the Rockets.

seafarer: Kyle Lewis was injured so many times and for so long that the M’s just felt like something had to change.

Octopus: It’s always better to have a competent backup goalkeeper.


• We’ll be back this afternoon with a TV take from the Washington State game. My friend Kent suggested making a drinking game out of the mentions of WSU’s Jayden de Laura. Only real cougars should probably play this game. It wouldn’t be safe for a teetotaler like us. See you later …


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