Sept. 8, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars football helmet sits during a game against the Eastern Washington Eagles during the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars would go onto win by a final score of 24-20. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington State Cougars have been known to schedule games in the past that more or less sacrificed the success of the team for a paycheck. In the past it was necessary, WSU did not get equal revenue sharing from the Pac-10 Conference and the school has seldom put a product on the field worthy of garnering enough funding from its’ boosters to cover so much as half of the scholarship funds for all athletic programs. That number currently stands at $8.2 million and the boosters are covering about $5 million, which is more than ever before.
Now that the WSU faithful are putting more money into the program and there is equal revenue sharing among the 12, many Cougar fans are wondering why Moos is still pushing for the “sacrificial” game each season. Especially when considering that Wisconsin just backed out of a similar deal that would’ve have brought them to Pullman in the next two seasons. Now the idea of Moos is to schedule teams like Michigan State, TCU and Florida State, preferably in a home/home format, where the teams would travel to the others’ stadium for a contest in separate seasons. Fans on message boards around Cougar nation are finding it hard to get behind this idea for some reason, saying that the team would be better served taking three “winnable” contests to make a bowl and expanding the program that way.
It’s important to note that while the goal is always to get dates with everybody you’re in conversation with, you talk to multiple teams because in the end the expectation is that at least one or two will fall through. If you can get one of the teams to say yes, you have to consider that a win. And the way Moos talks about wanting to have three different level games (A-level, B-level and FCS-level) per year, the Cougars would only face one of these teams per year, even if they got all three to say yes to a home-home series. I get the impression some fans are thinking they want to play all these games at once, but it’s not the plan to give WSU the toughest schedule in the country year after year.
It’s also worth noting that Moos and WSU aren’t planning these contests till closer to 2020, so around FIVE years or so down the road at the earliest. That’s a potential of SIX seasons covered by A-level programs down the road, with a higher likelihood of only one of those programs saying yes to a two year deal. More than likely, this type of game will be more available when the Cougs start winning. Winning would also change the perception of the “sacrificial” game to the fan base which should benefit the Cougs even more from a money standpoint from the boosters.
Listen, Moos is aiming high. He has been ever since he entered the Washington State campus. These aren’t your “same old Cougs” and it’s not simply ok to accept the losing mentality of being one of the smallest schools in the conference. That’s part of not just putting together a patty-cake schedule to make it through and barely get into a bowl game. As opposed to trying to sell out the program for money, he’s out to generate enthusiasm about the future of Cougar football, not just in Washington, but all over the country. It has tiered benefits but the biggest is that Washington State becomes a premier place to be for athletes who are serious about competing at a high level.
For more on what Bill Moos is saying and how things in the athletic department are moving along, read this article from CF.C.