Back-to-back road trips against traditional college football powers Auburn and USC await Washington State at the start of the 2013 season.
Such quality opponents are absent from the Cougars’ home schedule, which features just three Pac-12 games in Pullman and a matchup against defending conference and Rose Bowl champion Stanford at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
WSU will also play two more non-Saturday games, including the Apple Cup against Washington, which will again be played the day after Thanksgiving in the renovated Husky Stadium.
Reached by telephone on Thursday, WSU athletic director Bill Moos said he knew ahead of time that WSU and UW would play on a Friday again in 2013, but said the Apple Cup will be exempt from such scheduling during the next cycle.
The past two seasons, WSU has moved home games against Oregon State and Oregon to Seattle and billed it as “the Seattle Game,” a chance for West Side alumni and fans to attend the game and for WSU to generate extra ticket revenue by playing in a larger stadium.
This year, the opponent for that game will be Stanford, by far the most high-profile team on WSU’s home schedule. The five Cougar opponents who travel to Pullman in 2013 posted a combined record of 28-33 in 2012.
Moos said the game against Stanford was moved to Seattle largely because of the hole that would have been created in WSU’s home schedule if it had moved the OSU game.
WSU’s home opener is scheduled for Sept. 14 against Big Sky conference member Southern Utah, and the Cougars play the next week against Idaho – it’s also WSU’s Homecoming game – for the first time since 2007.
And if the OSU game (Oct. 12) had been moved to Seattle, as expected, it would have meant the Cougars going more than a month without playing a game in Martin Stadium. WSU plays at California on Oct. 5 and at Oregon on Oct. 19, then has the first of its two byes on Oct. 26 before a Halloween matchup against Arizona State on Thursday, Oct. 31.
Playing against Stanford in Martin Stadium also would have given the Cougars three consecutive games in Pullman.
There were other factors, too.
“The local merchants here were upset with us taking the Oregon schools to Seattle, because they do travel so well,” Moos said. “And we honestly think we have a chance to have a packed house playing Oregon State here.”
The Cougars were originally scheduled to play Brigham Young this season in the second game of a home-and-home series – WSU opened at BYU last year – but that game was moved to 2019 at WSU’s request.
The result is a less-than-stellar home schedule that might not do wonders for ticket sales. WSU’s Oct. 31 game against ASU was also discussed as a possibility for the Seattle game, Moos said, but he felt that Stanford’s national alumni base made the Cardinal a better option.
“Hopefully we can have some fun marketing (the ASU game) with our students and such,” Moos said.
WSU ends its season by traveling to Utah, hosting Arizona and then playing at Washington on Friday, Nov. 29.
Games against USC and Arizona will be WSU’s first since the conference expanded to 12 teams. With the schedule rotating this season, the Cougars will miss Colorado and UCLA.
Moos said he isn’t thrilled about WSU’s Pac-12 opener coming at USC in the second week of the season.
“But we had no choice there,” Moos said. “I think it’s a good schedule, with the exception of having to play on the road the first two weeks and one of them being a conference game.”
Single-game tickets for the Seattle game and road games will go on sale in April. Single-game home tickets go on sale in August. Season-ticket renewal forms will be mailed in February, and deposits are now being accepted for those wishing to become season-ticket holders.
|Aug. 31||at Auburn|
|Sept. 7||at USC|
|Sept. 14||Southern Utah|
|Oct. 5||at California|
|Oct. 12||Oregon State***|
|Oct. 19||at Oregon|
|Oct. 31||Arizona State|
|Nov. 16||at Arizona|
|Nov. 29||at Washington|
|*Homecoming, **At Seattle, ***Dad’s Weekend|