$3 billion TV deal dictates that Washington and Washington State play for the first time on the day after Thanksgiving in Pullman. Who’s going to make that drive?
In case you were looking for downsides to the happiness attendant to the Pac-12′s humongous $3 billion TV deal, here it is: The Apple Cup will be played Nov. 23, the Friday after Thanksgiving, when Washington State students are on holiday, as well as nearly everyone else.
The development is believed to be unprecedented. Until 2007, the Apple Cup had always been played before Thanskgiving.
It wasn’t a total surprise because Washington State athletic director Bill Moos let the cougar out of the bag at a November luncheon. There were reported to be behind-the-scenes talks to avoid the date, for all the obvious travel and logistical headaches for the Huskies, as well as fans who are more than a walk away from Martin Stadium. Those seem to have gone nowhere.
UW’s biggie is the trip to Baton Rouge to face Louisiana State, which is currently unbeaten, ranked No. 1 and will play Alabama in the BCS championship game Monday.
“I am excited about the 2012 schedule and the opportunities it provides for competition and exposure on the national level,” UW athletic director Scott Woodward, who worked at LSU before coming to Washington, told the school’s website. “The magnitude of the game at LSU on national TV speaks for itself.”
In exchange for the money, the Pac-12, as well as all BCS conferences, surrendered to ESPN and Fox the right to do what’s best for its schools regarding scheduling. If the nets wanted the Huskies and Cougars to play in the Safeway parking lot in Leavenworth at midnight on a Wednesday, the teams would report, snow shovels at the ready.
Besides the Apple Cup, the Huskies have another Friday game, Nov. 2 at Cal, as well as a Thursday home game at the Clink against Stanford.
The entire Pac-12 Conference schedule is here. The Huskies’ portion is below (all games Saturday, except where noted; game times will be announced later by ESPN or Fox):
Here is the Washington State schedule:
The Pac-12 title game is Nov. 30 at the home of the team with the best record.
The still-to-be-launched Pac-12 Network will televise all games not chosen by the nets.
The Cougars annual game in Seattle at the Clink is against Oregon Sept. 29, which follows by two days the Washington-Stanford game.
Washington again will not play Arizona State and UCLA in 2012, according to the conference rotation schedule. Those teams will be back on in 2013-14 when USC and Colorado will move off. The Cougars do not play Arizona and USC.