(Second editorial note: Cougfan dropped a blurb here Â with Moos comments on WSU v. Oregon at Qwest. It pretty much syncs up with what we've been hearing. To add some color, WSU and First and Goal have a solid framework for the game and how it would work. Oregon is quite aware of it and some of the details. They are just waiting for an AD to really start to close on the idea. Also, we noted below that 2011 is the "earliest humanly possible" date and it's still in the mix as a possibility. It was the first time we'd heard him say that Oregon State is a consideration as well. Awesome idea. We are big fans of either scenario but the Beavers would be potentially more compelling year in and year out if the finances could work the same.)
(Editorial note: Thanks to CougCenter for linking this article. One point of clarification. I note "next year" as the possible timing. That's not clear enough. It would NOT be "this year" as in 2010. Earliest humanly possible scenario would be 2011.....that's what I meant by next year. Also, a good note from Nuss highlighting that this is not us "breaking" news for you. It's a very likely scenario we are hearing quite a lot the past few weeks and fun for all of us to discuss.)
Things are beginning to solidify around the Seattle game and it's looking like the Northwest is could get it's own version of the Red River Shootout. It would probably be more appropriate to call it similar to The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. It is the Cougs after all and it's looking like it won't be primary rivals playing each other like you see when Texas vs. Oklahoma meet in Dallas.
How does the idea of WSU versus Oregon annually meeting up in Seattle strike you? Imagine a scenario where half of the Qwest field stands are covered in green while the other half is covered in crimson. Imagine a packed house of 70,000 crazed fans playing a game of verbal seesaw every single play. Imagine bars in Pioneer Square split down the middle going back and forth between the Oregon fight song and the WSU fight song. It could be an absolutely amazing fan experience that only a few lucky schools get to experience. It's far from a done deal but we're comfortable writing about WSU v. Oregon in Seattle as very likely to happen and possibly as soon as next season.
Let's look at why this makes sense:
1) Fan experience- You don't have any clown AD's (read: Scooter Woodward at UW) demanding a disproportionate number of seats. The scenario would split Qwest right down the middle every year. It would be a true neutral environment in a location equidistant from both campuses. You have to figure that it would be a slight advantage to WSU if you assume that most locals attending the game would default to rooting for the Cougars . This will be a very high demand ticket for both schools. In our worst seasons at Qwest we've still sold around 35K seats. This ticket would be closer to the first game we played at Qwest where we brought more than 60K Cougs to the game. Oregon won't have any issues selling their allotment either. This will have stadium appeal for national television as well with a raucous crowd in a sold-out stadium against two programs that don't like each other very much. The recipe is there for a tremendous setting.
2) Money- The Apple Cup proposal would have given WSU and UW more than $1.5 million dollars a school each season. This game won't approach that number but it will be within shouting distance. Think along the lines of $1 million dollars to each school every year. This would immediately become one of WSU's bigger revenue and exposure generators for the athletic department. Last season, the Notre Dame game brought us around that sum and it was pretty close to a body bag game. This would be a true neutral site game in the city where we have 60K alumni living and working. Win/win in terms of money and crowd support for the Cougs.
3) Trickle down to OOC games- There are two other huge benefits for WSU in the scheduling department. It would eliminate the need to schedule an OOC body bag game with no return home game. In other words, we won't need to travel to Tennessee or Michigan with no return guarantee because we need the money. That frees up OOC slots to schedule more winnable games that would take us closer to a bowl game . Moreover, it would free up money to pay for OOC games that we could bring to Pullman. We probably aren't going to convince Georgia to fly to Pullman any time soon but even if we take just $500K of that payout and offer it up as part of a home and home contract you are immediately in the conversation with middle class schools at other BCS conferences. Would you be excited about playing someone like a North Carolina or Kansas State in Pullman and then travelling to Chapel Hill or Manhattan the following year? A bigger opponent like that in Pullman would also be a nice story for local businesses that would probably cry about losing the business an Oregon game in Pullman would bring. More winnable out of conference games with bigger opponents in Pullman? Great scenario for WSU in both regards.
4) First and Goal, Inc.- Cultivating a relationship with Paul Allen is important to WSU. He hasn't been enthusiastic about supporting WSU athletics in the past. The company that runs Qwest field scheduling is a Paul Allen company. It certainly can't hurt to have Bill Moos partnered with a Paul Allen company to bring him some business and an extra date where Qwest is filled to the rafters with people buying beers and hot dogs. It's not going to turn on the Paul Allen cash machine for WSU but it's a good opportunity to bring the two parties together. Wouldn't it be nice to see Bill Moos and Paul Allen in a Qwest Field suite watching the game together with other WSU donors?
I've been a big fan of the idea for a long time but I've always preferred to bring Oregon State to Qwest on an annual basis. I'm fine with Oregon. It probably brings us more cash and it eliminates the need to travel to Eugene for a game every other year. It brings cash to school and provides us a presence on the west side where a lot of the alumni base and cash resides. Amping up the opponent here also makes it an immediate national television candidate for ESPN and ABC. I can only imagine what a night game at Qwest televised nationally on ESPN would do for excitement in the Northwest and for our fan base. We should all root for this to happen as quickly as possible.