The Huskies won’t be the only team in the state on national television this Saturday.
While the shores of Lake Washington are buzzing with Game Day excitement and morning chants on ESPN, the rolling hills of the Palouse will also be getting prepared for ESPNU coverage for a very important game in Pullman. The Cougs and Beavs are every bit the “rivalry” that Washington shares with Oregon and it’s closer too.
For a very long time (looking back from 1980-2000) the Cougars dominated the series, losing only twice in an 18 game span. Since the turn of the century, OSU holds an 8-4 advantage. A couple of unexpected wins by the underdog over the last decade have steadily brought this series to it’s current rivalry status.
ESPN is taking advantage of this game between a couple of four win teams by showcasing the game on ESPNU at 7:30, a few hours after the excitement of Washington/Oregon has died down across the state. The Cougars are no stranger to national television this season. They’ve taken advantage of both their conference contest on Fox Sports 1 with wins over USC and California (both on the road). But they’ve also flopped a bit, giving away a winnable game against Auburn on ESPNU to start the season and eventually getting blown out by Stanford on ESPN just two weeks ago. WSU crushed SUU and Idaho on the Pac-12 networks.
With games against Arizona State on ESPN Halloween night and Washington on Fox the day after Thanksgiving, the Cougs are guaranteed at least half of their contests being seen by a national audience. Most of those were/are late-slated games, meaning the Cougs are bringing home the college evenings. That’s good for publicity and recruiting.
Plenty of moonshine for a program that’s turning it around, maybe faster than was generally thought possible this season.