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The Brewery

A gathering place for sports analysis and opinion with Seattle Times sports columnist Jerry Brewer.

February 27, 2011 at 12:40 PM

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Sunday Brunch: The Pac-10 that no one wants to win

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Note:This is the debut of The Brunch. This feature, a Sunday notes column, is part of The Brewery's new programming schedule. Read about it here.

Wait -- so now you're saying there's still a chance the Huskies win this daggum league?

Blessed mediocrity!

The Pac-10 that no one wants to win took a turn back toward the Purple Ones last week. Arizona visited Los Angeles and lost to USC and UCLA. That means Arizona (12-4 in the Pac-10) is now tied with UCLA (12-4) atop the conference. And Washington, considered dead after last Saturday's one-point loss at Arizona, is only one-game back in the loss column.

So, if the Huskies (10-5) can win their final three games of the regular season -- against Washington State tonight, UCLA on Thursday and USC on Saturday - they can tie for the regular-season Pac-10 title if Arizona splits its games against the Oregon schools this week. It could be a three-way tie if UCLA loses to the Huskies and then beats Washington State.

That's the story of this Pac-10 season. There are three good teams, and they're all still in the hunt for the title. Everyone else stinks. There's no middle class at all in this league.

Washington still needs plenty of help, but there's hope. In this Pac-10, there's always hope.

In the bowels of the McKale Center last Saturday, the Huskies were shaking their heads and lamenting a missed opportunity. Preseason favorites to win the league, the Huskies looked like they would run away with the conference title after starting conference play with four straight victories, including a sweep of L.A. The Huskies climbed to 7-1 in the conference and appeared in complete control until a loss to the Cougars exposed the Huskies and led to a three-game losing streak.

Tonight, the Huskies have a chance to avenge that loss and get back into the conference race. It's still a long shot -- coming off two losses, Arizona should crush Oregon and Oregon State -- but at least the final week of the regular season has some drama.

The Huskies better take advantage of this opportunity.

Good thinkin'

Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley just signed up for Twitter a week ago, but he is already a social-media ace. Kelley, whose handle is @shawnkelley23, debuted his tweeting skills last Sunday with this gem of a reaction to Blake Griffin's dunk contest-winning stunt.

Tweeted Kelley: "i want to try and jump over a car and throw a fastball..."

His humor hasn't let up since then, either. Follow Kelley. He's worth two good laughs a day.

The Weak In Review
The past week's five most insufferable sports stories

1. The NFL labor war
Lockout? Players union decertifying? The collective-bargaining agreement expires this week. Depressing.

2. The scrutinizing of Cam Newton
You know, if he wants to be an icon, that's not controversial. He can't do that without becoming a great quarterback first.

3. Carmelo Anthony glee in New York
The Knicks have been irrelevant for so long that this world-class city can't keep from acting as if 'Melo is its first crush.

4. Player mutiny in Detroit
So the Pistons did or didn't organize a revolt against coach John Kuester. Depends how you phrase what happened. But there's one word that aptly describes that situation -- disaster.

5. Miguel Cabrera: Zero accountability
The Detroit Tigers star reported to camp last week after a DUI arrest, his second alcohol-related incident. He apologized, but the Tigers -- or the Pussy Cats, as Yahoo! Sports writer Jeff Passan called them in this scathing column -- aren't expected to punish him further.


-- Check out my column on Mariners manager Eric Wedge in today's newspaper. It's a profile of the many sides of his personality. He's not just the passionate, intense, loud-talking manager who's brave enough to take on this situation.
-- Oscars or Huskies-Cougars tonight? It's a tough call. I love awards shows. My answer to the world's problems is to have a major awards show every week of the year. That's silly, but it's not like anyone else is offering legitimate solutions. I'll probably click back and forth.
-- My extended visit with the Mariners ends Monday afternoon. It's been nice to see what the team has to offer this season (not much). There are enough storylines to keep you interested. Entertained? Not sure. But interested? Yes.
-- My favorite Mariner interview this week? Catcher Miguel Olivo. Great personality.
-- The player who most impressed me? Pitcher Michael Pineda. If he stays healthy, he's going to be a stud. In time, he could become a crazy good top-of-the-rotation duo with Felix Hernadez.
-- The player who least impressed me? Franklin Gutierrez, but only because I thought he'd return stronger and healthier this season. But his mysterious stomach problems are still an issue, and no one knows how that will affect him this season.

Fed up with my long-winded ways? Follow me on Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer. Sometimes, I don't even use all 140 characters there.

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