UNIVERSITY STADIUM IN ALBUQUERQUE
THE NEW MEXICO BOWL PAYOUT to Washington State is $750K but that’s actually somewhat deceiving and for two reasons, Bill Moos says. Meanwhile, the Cougs have finals this week and Mike Leach has sent his assistants out on the road recruiting before recruiting shuts down for the holidays. So with the bowl coming up in 12 days, when will the Cougars find time to practice?
First, it’s important to note that in the Pac-12 all bowl revenues are pooled and then shared equally. But there’s a very big catch to that – there’s usually not much left in the pie after travel and expenses are taken out, said Moos. He also noted he’s been to about 10 bowl games including BCS bowls and the end result is the same.
“There usually isn’t much left over, if any,” said Moos.
Moos said he expects the Cougs will spend all of the $750K, and then probably a little bit more, (it’s not uncommon for schools to lose money on many of the bowl games.) The Cougs will travel to Albuquerque their band and spirit squad, plus administrative staff members, strength coaches and others in addition to the Cougar players and coaches. Flight, hotel and meal costs add up quickly for a group that size. For comparison, the trip to Auburn to open the season, that cost the Cougs $200K for just a quick road game trip, Moos said.
“…It’s been my practice to do these things right,” Moos said, adding that everyone who travels will have a job to do and that he won’t be taking “a skeleton crew.”
WITH THE SHORT time frame, the Cougs have some practice challenges to work through. Players are in finals week, assistants went out recruiting again Sunday and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl is the first bowl of the season, kicking off Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. Leach said the Cougs are unlikely to practice Monday but beyond that, the plan is still being formulated.
“Tomorrow we’ll figure what our schedule is going to be so (the players) know when to come for our next team meeting and practice,” said Leach on Sunday.
Any general idea of when the assistants will come in off the road?
“We’ll figure that out tomorrow,” said Leach.
The Cougars practiced on Thursday with only Leach and defensive coordinator Mike Breske running the show. For Saturday and Sunday’s practices, Leach said all the assistant coaches had returned off the recruiting trail by that time and were in attendance before heading out again later on Sunday. Leach will stay in Pullman this week, he told Cougfan.com earlier in the day.
Bowl events begin on Dec. 18 so the Cougars will likely be in Albuquerque by Dec. 17.
It’s been said by coaches and reported my media in years past that bowl teams get 15 practices -- but that wasn’t true then and it’s not true now. The only criteria, and it’s the same as it is in the regular season, is that bowl teams are allowed 20 hours of practice per week.
Leach bristled when asked if he was appreciative that seniors like star safety Deone Bucannon chose to go to Washington State four years ago when the program was struggling. “Washington Stats is an incredible place to go to school. This is one of the proudest alumni groups there is in the nation.. The notion that anybody would apologize or indicate they’re taking a backseat in order to go to Washington State, I think is just ridiculous,” said Leach. (Note: Bucannon’s scout.com page shows he was rated three stars and the No. 102 safety prospect nationally coming out of high school with offers from WSU, San Diego State, Nevada, Army and Cal Poly.)
Moos said he’ll have a better idea in a few days but that he expects the Cougs will more than cover their share of required ticket sales -- $150K, which Moos said amounts to about 5,000 tickets. Moos says he expects CougFans will buy 5-6,000 tickets. There are varying ticket prices between $25 and $40 for the bowl.
Moos said the Pac-12 subsidizes up to half of unpurchased tickets for its teams in contracted bowls -- but again reiterated he doesn’t expect that will be needed for WSU in Albuquerque.
WSU has already taken 2,500 reservations from CougFans since becoming bowl eligible -- before they knew where or even if the Cougs (6-6) would go bowling, Moos said.
Online ticket sales went live around 7 p.m. on Sunday night. You can purchase tickets through WSU’s website HERE
For an interactive stadium map from the New Mexico Bowl with the current tickets available in each section, click HERE and mouse over the various sections. According to the official NMB site, University Stadium has a seating capacity of 39,224 but the capacity for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl is set at 37,457.
Moos was asked if some fans who sent nasty emails last year regarding Leach in the late throes of an eight-game losing streak would be able to buy bowl tickets. “Some of them,” he replied. He added, “Those who said the things they said about my football coach, we don’t need them.” Moos last year forwarded the most over-the-top emails to an assistant AD instructing that the names be placed in a file with others who are not be allowed to purchase bowl-game tickets from WSU in the future.
Leach said Sunday night he was not familiar with Colorado State and didn’t know CSU head coach Jim McElwain very well. “I’m sure there will be a film exchange (soon),” said Leach.
Leach said the early bowl practices will continue to be focused on the youth, as the three held this past week were. As the Cougs get closer to the game, he said that will shift and they’ll work more and more with the starters and two-deeps and on the game plan.
Leach said he told the Cougar players this past week that WSU would absolutely be going bowling. “I told them (in practices) we’re going to a bowl game,” said Leach, who said he didn't find out until Sunday afternoon WSU was headed to Albuquerque. “At no point was there any doubt in my mind we were going to a bowl...You play in the toughest conference in the country against the toughest schedule in the nation... it’s unfathomable we wouldn’t go to a bowl.”