PULLMAN – Bill Moos has tirelessly advocated his reasons for the Seattle Game being an in-conference matchup for the Cougs – with a sellout the Cougs stand to net between $1.5 million and $2 million and it serves to showcase the program and school. Two Wazzu players, however, didn’t get the memo.
For some, the issue is multi-layered. You take away an in-conference home game away from the students in Pullman and you’re also, as the number of tickets sold for the Ducks-Cougars is illustrating, eliminating the home field advantage.
For two Coug players, though, the concept is more black and white than that.
“It’s not a true home game,” sophomore quarterback Connor Halliday said this week. “It’s kind of frustrating that we don’t get to play the game in Martin Stadium.”
Halliday was quick to note that it’s a ‘50-50 deal’, adding that it’s exciting for the west side of the state that doesn’t regularly get to see the Cougs play. That being said, it didn’t stop him from conveying his overall message.
“I just wish all of our home games were here,” Halliday said. “I don’t see why we need to go somewhere else to play a home game. That’s just my opinion.”
Halliday also held the notion that it doesn’t matter if the game is in Seattle, Colfax or anywhere else, the game isn’t a home game if it’s not in Martin Stadium.
“We just need to go out there and execute,” Halliday said.
FRESHMAN DEFENSIVE LINEMAN Xavier Cooper echoed Halliday’s sentiment, agreeing that a game anywhere but Martin Stadium shouldn’t be considered a “home game.”
“I wish the game was here,” Cooper said. “We deserve to have it here, but obviously that isn’t my decision.
Cooper said the move does have its benefits, most notably how accessible it makes the team to the fans on the west side of the state.
“I have a lot of family in Tacoma,” Cooper said. “I feel good about it because my family that doesn’t get to drive up here can head up there to see me play.”
Cooper, still just a freshman after grayshirt and redshirt seasons, said he has “about 25” people coming to the game in support.
The entire concept of the Seattle game was drawn up by athletic director Bill Moos and it doesn’t appear to by going anywhere for quite some time, and it doesn’t appear Pullman will host a game against Oregon or Oregon State for the foreseeable future, although Moos hasn’t eliminated the thought of playing an out of conference opponent “once the Seattle game has established itself.”
AS FOR Mike Leach, he said issues regarding execution, not the locale, are front and center on his plate right now.
“We’re excited to play anywhere no matter what,” Leach said. “Martin Stadium is my favorite of course, but we’re excited to play anywhere.”
The Cougs take on the Oregon Ducks, Saturday at Century Link field in front of what is expected to be a crowd of over 60,000. Some estimates estimate the crowd will be split about 50-50.