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THE FRONT ROW with JASON ELLIOTT Dec. 25, 2010

| December 25, 2010 8:00 PM

It's true, I was pretty bad this year.

It's probably the main reason why Santa flew straight over my house last night and left me a large lump of coal on the front porch.

My list wasn't even complicated for this year, but instead I came up empty.

THE FIRST thing on my list was the Mariners going to the World Series.

Laugh now - but it looked as though they'd be a favorite with the addition of Cliff Lee at this time last year.

By the time Lee was healthy enough to take the mound, Seattle had fallen out of the American League West race and later traded the star lefty to Texas for a few minor leaguers and Justin Smoak.

Lee went on to make it to the World Series after helping Texas defeat the New York Yankees (thanks for that one), and later signed a multi-million-dollar deal to return to the Philadelphia Phillies.

At least Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award, but it was for a last-place team that looked nothing like I'd expected.

ANOTHER ITEM that was overlooked was an improvement over the season for the Seattle Seahawks.

Granted, a new coach needs time to get things turned around, but when Pete Carroll took over the team they were horrible on both sides of the ball.

Right now, nobody really knows which team is going to show up - the one that beat the Bears in Chicago on Halloween or the one that got destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 12.

Regardless, there was at least some buzz about the team this season after a 4-2 start, but now after a 2-5 record in the last seven games, most of that buzz has been replaced with worry that another loss will likely end all hopes of a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Whether the Seahawks advance comes down to games at Tampa Bay and at home against St. Louis.

Should San Francisco beat St. Louis on Sunday, the 49ers have a chance at the playoffs if the division comes down to a three-way tie.

THE FINAL item on my list was to see a team from the Northwest compete for a national title at some point this year.

Fortunately for me, that will happen twice as the Eastern Washington Eagles will face Delaware for the FCS championship in early January and the Oregon Ducks take on Auburn for the national title on Jan. 10.

Not exactly the teams I wanted to see, but at this point, I'll take what I can get.

Or exchange it for something better down the road.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d'Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via e-mail at jelliott@cdapress.com.

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