I don’t know how your holiday breaks were but mine took a hit when the 2012 Pac-12 football schedules were released and it was just a big disappointment for me when I looked at the dates and locations for our Cougars next year.
Due to the new TV contract for the conference, games will be played throughout the season on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. But fortunately for the Cougars, they will only have to experience one week of short rest when they suit for their own version of Friday Night Lights. However, that one Friday game is the Apple Cup against the Washington Huskies.
The game takes place Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, during the school break, not cool. The time hasn’t been announced but I can only hope that the game is an evening start similar to the Arizona State game this past season, which was probably the highlight of the Cougar season in my book.
The Apple Cup will prove to be a true testament to the fans’ dedication for this team by seeing how full the stands are. With a new coach, renovations and donations in the millions coming in, everything’s pointing in the right direction for a new era of Cougar football.
It’s coming at the expense of the students. I don’t mean expense in the dollar sense, but students are being robbed of their home games.
This more leans toward my issue with scheduling annual home games in Seattle at CenturyLink Field. I understand it gives alumni and fans that live in that area a chance to see the team play, but at the very most, it should be a non-conference game.
Despite Sports Illustrated already coming out and predicting a mere five wins for the Cougars next year under Mike Leach, the buzz on campus for next season is louder than the cannon that sits atop the library and goes off after every Cougar touchdown.
A matchup in Pullman against Oregon is being taken away from us for money reasons. Don’t tell me otherwise, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Back on Dec. 7, Athletic Director Bill Moos participated in an online chat with fans on The Seattle Times’ website and he was asked about the game in Seattle.
“It’s my desire to see our game with Oregon and Oregon State become a tradition not unlike Texas-Oklahoma in Dallas and Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville,” he said.
Why? Why are we renovating a stadium that will only see action for five Saturdays a year? Yes, I do realize Martin Stadium is used for other things, but Cougar football is the main event.
I suppose if Oregon and Oregon State agree to play their matchups with the Cougars in Seattle, when they’re the scheduled home team, the Cougars would get their sixth home game back, but I’ve yet to hear if that is in discussion.
Pullman is unique as you’re not going to find fans of other schools around these parts. Play those games in Seattle against nearby schools and the home field advantage goes away. In pure mileage, both Eugene and Corvallis are closer to Seattle than Pullman, not to mention it’s a nicer drive, and you never lose cell phone reception.
When I worked over the summer at Target in Seattle, two of my bosses were Oregon State alums; two were Oregon Ducks, and just one Coug. Not saying that’s how the population breaks down as a whole, but they are over there.
I understand and applaud Moos’ big picture goal of trying to take Cougar football to new heights that we’ve never seen before. I also realize that in today’s world of college football, you have to do things like this. But it’s just unfortunate that the students, who are what make college sporting events so energetic and fun, are the ones affected the most.