So after watching yesterday’s Spring game on the Pac-12 Networks and seeing the turnout I am left with this question; Does the game benefit Washington State enough to continue to play it in Spokane as part of the annual “Spokane Week”? It’s highly debatable now, I think.
Washington State had all week been touting 15,000 fans (much over-hyped for the second year in a row I might add) but the city of Spokane came up about half of that short. With a paltry showing of just over 8,000 fans, it’s possible that the Spring game at Joe Albi is mostly a waste of time for the Cougar football program. And I love all of you in Spokane, but if you want to keep the Cougs coming back to the place you have to show up and support them! For crizzap sakes, it’s free!
Consider that no students are going to (or should be expected to) make that trip and spend gas money and food money for what in essence is a glorified scrimmage and while they want to see the team, the elder fans in Pullman and Moscow don’t really want to make the trip either. So it’s 90% Spokane Cougars that have to show up for things like this, and honestly, that’s the way it should be. Earn your stripes (or claws, as it be)! What good is a Spring game over there if nobody shows up to see it?
Generally, I don’t talk about something like this because it can be construed as attacking or demeaning to other Cougar faithful across the state, but good grief 8,000? When you think about the fact that Spokane is predominantly Coug in nature and is the 2nd biggest city in Washington you have to be concerned when that small amount shows up. Cougar fans are always touting how loyal they are, but I have to say, I don’t always see it, especially in Spokane. By and large, we have more ‘fair weather’ fans than we would like to believe out there and I’ve been saying that for a year now. People try to convince me otherwise, that there are more loyal fans and what not, but I’ve held my ground. This was your chance to prove me wrong Coug fans of Spokane! You blew it!
Auburn had 83,000 PLUS show up for their spring match=up and a lot of those are a long ways away. Also remember that their students are already on campus and can just cruise right over the stadium and partake. Several other programs had 50,000 PLUS. And judging by the look of the Washington crowd, they had probably triple what WSU threw out there… for a “Spring Game” that was more like a spirited practice, with a bunch of drills, skeleton-reps and one-on-one competitions! And they weren’t at their stadium either.
I contend that Pullman would pull close to 18,000 for a Spring game and it would be far more enjoyable for the team and the program in general than a few spattered golf claps every now and then. Also, it would help the fans (and especially the students) around here bond with their team before Summer so that when Fall hits we’re more excited about the outlook of the program and what-not. Mike Leach and Bill Moos are always talking about what a great thing it is to play in Joe Albi for fans a little more West, but is it really?
Based solely on the past two seasons of disappointment from the city, (and NO I’m not talking to those of you who showed up because you guys are awesome) I really would like to see Pullman host the Spring game for a couple years and then WSU could hold their final practice in Joe Albi for everybody to see for the “Spokane Week” kickoff. After that a decision could be made on which is better.