Bill Moos was on the west side of the state this week and we learned some interesting things about Qwest game plans, Donnie Marbut, and Pac-12 alignment. The most encouraging thing is the outreach he's making across the state. His past three days were filled with meetings that ranged from high-end donors to interviews with key press outlets. Yesterday, Moos was the first Pac-10 AD to talk publicly on Pac-12 expansion when he was interviewed by Ian Furness on KJR. Furness, was absolutely giddy about landing that interview. Here are a few things we learned in talking with Moos, his staff, and a couple of boosters he met with. Moos is planning to be over in this direction about every three weeks with presence among donors and key reporters. Great news for WSU's athletic department profile and donation potential. You'd be shocked….and VERY depressed at how little this was done with the previous regime.
Here are four things we learned that you'll find interesting:
1) The twist on plans for the Qwest game in 2012 and beyond.
We told you about plans for a Red River Shootout style rivalry with Oregon about a week ago. You can read about what that would look like here . It's an awesome plan and it remains the target scenario and it would start in 2012 ideally. We'd do it every year and split seats and revenue down the middle. It would be a true neutral site game with about 3 million in proceeds to split every year. The pitch to Oregon has been made and will be again when the new AD is in office. It's pretty compelling for them as they hate to travel to Pullman and they only make about 250K a trip when they visit us. So, they'd make about the same amount as they do at Autzen when giving up a home game to play at Qwest and they'd make about 1-2 million additional dollars in years when we are giving up the home game. Additionally, there is big time value in being the "home" team in Seattle as they'd be able to have recruits on their sidelines and obviously doing that right in the heart of Huskyville is something that's very appealing to Cougs and Ducks alike. This is a no-brainer scenario and unless the Ducks hire Scott Woodward, Jr. we think that it will be locked up sometime this Summer.
Ok, brace yourselves for the "back-up" plan as it might be a little more controversial. Moos is determined to bring a game to Qwest in 2012. He's not excited about doing UNLV there in 2011 either but he's pretty locked in to that contract. Again, like we told you….there is a very small chance for 2011 movement but the most likely scenario is 2012. If the Red River Shootout thing doesn't line up for some odd reason, then he's planning a scenario where we would rotate Oregon and Oregon State at Qwest. Now, this is going to raise initial concerns with the fans as we would essentially port those home games to Qwest when they are scheduled to visit Pullman. There are a couple of HUGE benefits though that override many of those concerns.
One, under this scenario we would take home ALL of the gate from these games. That means about 3 million a year for the Cougs to add to their budget. For context, we brought home 1.5 million from the Notre Dame game last year. Another context data point for you to consider, with the Pac-16 everyone is saying we would have made 18-20 million a year and with the Pac-12 that's probably around 15 million. Well, if we add the Qwest game under this scenario we'd essentially add into our budget what we would have gotten from the Pac-16 scenario without adding the competition of Texas, Oklahoma, etc.. With the new TV contract and the Qwest plans we are talking about adding 15-18 million dollars of money to our operating budget folks. That would represent a 50% increase over our current expenditures! Let me say that again, Moos will move from having about 36 million dollars to spend to about 54 million dollars in 2012 if things break right. We'll break down how he might spend that in a future article but needless to say, this is unprecedented in the history of the program.
Have I convinced you yet or are you still annoyed at the idea of the Ducks and Beavers avoiding a trip to Pullman?
Two, the recruiting factor. I wasn't aware of this as I thought you were barred from doing much with recruits at off campus games but I was apparently wrong. When we do this as the home team, we will be able to bring as many recruits as we want into the locker room and onto the sidelines on our side of the field for games. Awesome stuff to be able to do right in the heart of Seattle.
Three, and this is really just a more entertaining scenario to fuel the rivalry. We apparently met with First and Goal while over here in Seattle and we locked up a couple of key dates that have scheduled UW home games. Remember, this would be when UW is in the middle of their renovation so they would currently have to move dates for their scheduled home game on the date we just locked up….or I am sure they would be welcome to go over to Seattle Center and play their game at Memorial Stadium.
2) Moos supports geographic alignment to the Pac-12.
Bill Moos confirmed that Utah has been officially offered and will join today (probably). He also gave his POV on division alignment. He said that he is endorsing the "geopgraphic" scenario that is out there. Cougcenter did a good job of describing it here . Basically we would be in a division with UW, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, and Cal. We'd all have scheduling arranged to assure SoCal coverage but this is the alignment Moos is most comfortable with and he expects that this would be the choice when all is said and done.
3) Donnie Marbut is a priority.
USC is courting Marbut. There is no question about that. Marbut and Moos are going to meet real soon and there is absolutely no reason that we foresee him jumping ship. Moos is not going to lowball him and Marbut wants to be a Coug for life. Folks, we could be looking at a long-term contract and our version of Mike Riley before the Summer is out. Again, this is contract negotiation and USC is a factor so things could go very wrong but it looks like Moos is determined to keep our best coaches and stop this vicious cycle of starting over with a new one every time we see some success. Thank you Elson Floyd and Bill Moos, you two might be the best thing to happen to WSU in three decades.
4) Spokane is going to get a Spring football scrimmage.
That's right. Moos was unsure as to whether it would be the "grand finale" scrimmage that closes Spring practice but he was definite in saying that a scrimmage is coming to Spokane at Joe Albi. That's right Spokane fans, you'll be able to drive right down the street to Joe Albi and watch the Cougs scrimmage at least once. Just note, that he was pretty non-committal about whether it would be an annual thing. He wants to see how it goes that first time around. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be a two-hour thing. He's looking at making it a destination weekend thing that would bring fans from the West side to hang out at Northern Quest Casino and stay in Spokane hotels. He's really looking to illuminate the economic benefits that WSU brings to Spokane so businesses and the community wake up on what a gem they have right in their backyard. Count me in on flying over and seeing the Cougs scrimmage.
So, there you have it. Hope you enjoy a little "inside" scoop on what's going on if you take away only one thing from this article it is that we are in GREAT hands with Bill Moos and Elson Floyd. As always, Go Cougs and Go Bill Moos and Elson Floyd!!