Worst Seat in the House

A month ago EWU played Tennessee State and part way through the second half a storm passed by and the fans were instructed to leave the stadium because of lightning strikes nearby. So we did. My buddy Ken and I went to my car while others stood outside throwing footballs or reconnecting at a tailgate party. So that was a late summer storm for eastern Washington.

Just this past Saturday the Eagles were scheduled to play the University of Florida Gators in Gainesville. This game was originally scheduled when former EWU QB Jim McElwain was the UF head football coach. What better way to help out your alma mater than to schedule a $750,000 money game for the Eagles? It was pretty cool to envision especially with former Eagle McElwain on one side of the field coaching against his alma mater.

Then McElwain was relieved of his duties as the Gator head coach and when the game was actually going to be played Covid-19 did its best impersonation of Lee Corso by saying, “Not so fast my friend!” You remember when seasons were canceled with some teams playing in the fall and some in the spring? It was incredibly crazy. So the game between Florida and EWU was put on the back burner so to speak and would finally be played this past weekend

Then Hurricane Ian decided to do its dance through Florida making landfall and destroying many communities. Since no one knew exactly the direction it would take when it hit Florida the game between EWU and Florida was rescheduled for Sunday. Gainesville was spared from any destruction just some rainfall and the game was played. EWU lost 52-17 but won the $750,000 payout. So many thanks to Jim McElwain, who is now the head coach at Central Michigan for getting this payment game in the first place.

If you are counting this is the second payment game for EWU this year as they played the University of Nike (Oregon) Ducks in Eugene the second week of September. I’m not sure how much the Eagles were paid that day but it wasn’t $750,000. On top of it neither one of these teams is in the lower echelon of the FBS. Both of these schools have top tier speed and talent. EWU recruits a majority of their team from the state of Washington.

But how does a coach get the really good football talent to come to Cheney? Well last year the Eags played a game in Las Vegas. This year they played Oregon and Florida. Imagine playing in front of 88,000 screaming Florida fans. If you are a real football player you want that type of game each week. It’s the nature of the beast. If you want to recruit talented athletes you need money for facilities and you go after the money anyway possible and you sell your team on how to make that happen. The Eags played tough the second half especially and should have confidence in their ability to fight through the Big Sky conference.

The WSU Cougars took it to the University of California Golden Bears on Saturday winning the game 28-9. QB Cameron Ward had a pretty solid game but made at least two key mistakes throwing interceptions in the end zone instead of throwing the ball away and regroup for another shot at a better opportunity. Those plays became insignificant late in the game but one pass was certainly frustrating in the first half when points were at a premium. So now it is on to USC and a shot at taking down the Trojans.

The defense is playing very good football right now. In order to have a shot Ward will have to make better decisions and not throw the football up for grabs. So when he is being chased my advice is to run, pass short or throw it away. The home run ball hasn’t always been there.

For Cougar fans that have been around for a while, I can remember when WSU scheduled money games like EWU has to do now. They played Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois with no chance of a home game on the Palouse. How many times did the Cougs go to Kansas? They can pick and choose now that they have revenue from television to help them schedule but some of the games of yesteryear were brutal but when the Cougars pulled off an upset all was right with the world.

The last finally is a shout out to the Seattle Mariners for securing a Wild Card playoff spot. It has been a long 21 years since Seattle’s last playoff appearance in 2001. If they can heal up they have a good shot at winning a few games. I hope so.

 

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