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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: GU back on gridiron? Lots of questions

If Gonzaga University still played football …

Would an annual rivalry game with WSU eclipse even the Apple Cup?

Would the two schools even schedule each other?

Would GU resume playing Idaho, as it did before WWII?

What impact would it have on basketball’s familiar place in the spotlight?

Would Washington regularly defeat both WSU and GU?

Would GU, wanting to keep sports in perspective, elect to choose Whitworth as a football role model?

If WSU and GU did play each other in football, would it bring out the best in Spokane-area sports fans?

Or would it bring out the worst?

Where would GU’s stadium be situated and what well-heeled donor or image-conscious corporation would it be named after?

If GU football became haunted by a tradition of flubs, failures and disappointments, would the expression “Zagged it” become common?

Would GU join a new conference with Notre Dame, Boston College and other like-minded institutions?

Would young catechism students be confused about the origins of the “Hail Mary” pass?

Would someone in the GU athletics administration briefly contemplate a “Battle of the Bulldogs” series of matchups with the University of Georgia before sobering up and scheduling games with Fresno State instead?

Would GU football spend a few years in the Big Sky Conference, the way the basketball program did?

Would Spokane media lose bladder control when the first modern-era GU football player got drafted by an NFL team?

What graphic would adorn their helmets?

Would recruiting wars between GU and WSU result in local blue chippers going to Boise State?

Would 90% of the players come from California?

Would beer or sacramental wine be served at the stadium?

How big a roar from the crowd would greet a marmot unexpectedly scampering onto the field?

Would sports section headline writers be able to show restraint re: canine themes if GU played the Huskies?

Same question re: cats and dogs themes if GU played the Cougars?

What would the addition of a football program do to GU’s overall student body GPA?

Would area sports fans, spoiled by GU basketball, automatically expect the grid Zags to go to 21 straight (or whatever it is now) bowl games?

What impact would a politically controversial head football coach have on donations to the university?

How long would it take for the first football-related admissions/grade-fixing scandal to emerge and how many S-R subscribers would threaten to cancel their subscriptions because of the newspaper’s reporting on it?

Would the football team’s travels prompt all-new rounds of “How to pronounce Gonzaga/Spokane?”

What would be different about tailgating before a GU football game?

Would everyone associated with EWU hope and pray that GU agreed to play the Eagles?

Would the presence of a football program at Gonzaga prompt a spike in the number of orthopedic surgeries in Spokane?

What percentage of early naysayers would change their tune once the team started to win?

What magnitude of a war would it take to prompt cancellation of the Gonzaga football program again?

Who would be the first in Spokane to note that, like the “Touchdown Jesus” mural at Notre Dame, the twin spires of St. Al’s can remind one of goal posts?

Low-hanging fruit

Tuesday’s column about my backyard apple tree prompted feedback from readers. Here’s a sample.

Kathy Harris shared this: “We have a semi-producing tree in our yard. We collect the apples each fall that land on the lawn. (Half the tree is over the dog run and we leave those for the fall squirrels, birds, etc.) We put them in a basket in our large freezer to distribute during the winter to the wildlife that inhabits our backyard. It’s a win-win as these animals appreciate a little extra food on top of the snow.”

Susan Bates-Harbuck had a suggestion: “You could always use the apples for cider. We hold a cider pressing in mid-October for friends, or anyone with excess apples. They don’t need to be apple pie sweet.”

Pat Carlin, who has a prolific apple tree, recommended using a pooper scooper to pick up fallen apples: “You can get two or three at a time this way. Try it.”

Evelyn Gillespie-Paulson contended you need to let them freeze before picking. That’s what she said: “It allows the sugar to spread through them.”

And Dallas Godwin offered encouragement: “Hope you keep growing your apples no matter what you do with them. I did think of maybe collecting a pickup truck-load and donating them to someplace where horses and pigs could make use of them. Maybe someday.”

End note

Who around here has the most impressive list of games seen at Major League stadiums that no longer exist?

It’s certainly not me. I’ve heard from readers over the years who attended games at Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Sportsman’s Park, Sicks Stadium and, well, you name it. But I’ll go first.

I saw games at Crosley Field, Tiger Stadium, Comiskey Park (the old one), Arlington Stadium and the Kingdome. I had to look up the Astrodome, to see if it still exists. Apparently it does.

OK, your turn.

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached at

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