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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 16, 2009 at 9:08 AM

More on Qwest Field and Apple Cup

Well it looks as if this one idea — moving the Apple Cup to Qwest Field on a yearly basis — has done the seemingly impossible by uniting Husky and Cougar fans in a common goal.
The comments on this board are running at least 10-1 against, and everything I’ve seen everywhere else is of a similar bent that this is one seed that shouldn’t come to fruition. Three Facebook pages attempting to organize people against this have already been established, including this one, which already has more than 200 members.
Nick Daschel of Buster Sports also opined against it, and in a poll on our site, only 31 percent of people, as I write this, think it’s a good idea.
We first heard about this yesterday afternoon and I can say that our sources didn’t indicate it was as much of a done deal as did one quoted by The Spokesman-Review. Our sources indicated this was still in the preliminary stages with nothing yet set in stone. So this could be one where healthy protest on both sides could have an impact.
Interestingly, this is an idea that’s been floated before. Former UW coach Rick Neuheisel suggested it in 2002, citing how well the USC-UCLA worked for years played in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. At that time, however, the Cougars were staunchly against it, Mike Price saying a simple “no” to the idea of ever taking the Apple Cup out of Pullman.
The idea pretty much died there.
But with both schools facing some financial troubles now, and working more closely together than ever inside and outside of athletics in attempts to market their schools and programs, the idea of playing the Apple Cup every year at Qwest Field earned new life.
It would obviously be a huge shot to tradition, though that’s already taken hits with each school in the last few years scheduling games after the Apple Cup for TV purposes, and also agreeing to play the Apple Cup after the first Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Fans have balked at those but have also continued to show up, and I’m sure officials of both schools are thinking the same would happen again — everybody would grumble a bit but ultimately wouldn’t actually sit it out. That’s pretty much worked in every sport where the powers-that-be throw tradition to the wind in the chase for the almighty dollar and fans keep shelling out the coin, only further emboldening the powers-that-be to further wash away tradition.
You also wonder about UW’s attempts to get $150 million in public money if it’s just going to take one of its biggest draws every two years out of Husky Stadium. Conversely, WSU fought long and hard in the late ’70s and early ’80s to get UW back in Pullman after years of playing the Huskies in Joe Albi Stadium when it was WSU’s home game. Guess the passage of time and prospect of green has dulled the memory of that effort.
As someone who has attended all but five Apple Cups since 1981 — as spectator and reporter — I hate it. To me, the end of the season was always either making that trek to the Palouse, or having the Cougars come here. Everything always built to the Apple Cup. This idea doesn’t necessarily tear it down — and who knows, maybe there would be some competitive fairness to playing it every year on a neutral site that might be a long-term benefit. But it wouldn’t be the same, and I have a feeling that in a few years, everyone would decide to again play it on their home fields — back to tradition, as it were.

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