Washington State Cougars fans are going to get frustrated when they hear how the Pac-12 Conference has moved the 2012 Apple Cup. It could turn out just as frustrating for Washington Huskies fans as well, because travel to the game has just become a chore.
WSU athletic director Bill Moos stated that the 2012 Apple Cup is going to take place the Friday after Thanksgiving in Pullman. It means that everyone is going to have to try to make it back to Pullman from Thanksgiving break to attend the game. This makes it much tougher for the fans to attend the game, especially if they still live in the residence halls. Typically, the more than 4,000 students who live in the residence halls can't get back in until that weekend.
For out-of-town fans, this could mean that travel is actually required on Thanksgiving to make sure that they are in Pullman in time for the Friday game. The Apple Cup used to take place the Saturday before the break, allowing fans from both schools to enjoy the last football game of the season before heading out for Thanksgiving. In the last few years it got moved to dates after Thanksgiving, with Seattle hosting it on that Saturday and then last year the game got played on the first Saturday in December.
The main focus to this change is to make the game more attractive to a television audience, and the decision-making process seems geared more towards that than actually putting fans in the stands. This isn't the only change coming to the Pac-12 Conference though, as the schools will have to play both Thursday and Friday games beginning in 2012 to spread out the weekend of football. It will certainly give the new Pac-12 Network many games to choose from, and allow fans from the conference to check in on other games. Whether this is a better method of doing things is still out for debate.
The full Pac-12 schedule hasn't been released yet for 2012, but it's bound to have a number of games that might seem odd at first. Playing college football on a Friday night just seems weird for a conference that has played on Saturday's for many years. On one hand it is exciting that the 2012 college football weekends could begin earlier in the week, but it also becomes tougher to remember when all the games are getting scheduled.
As for playing the Apple Cup on a Friday night after Thanksgiving, that's not an idea that fans are going to accept right away.
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*Ryan is a former Washington State University student that bleeds crimson and gray. He has continued to be a die-hard Cougars supporter through the ups and downs of Cougar sports. Once a Coug; Always a Coug!