Colorado State Rams vs Washington State Cougars, 9/17/2022, 2pm MTN

Final Score: Cougars 38 – Rams 7; Attendance: 23.611

Weather:  Sunny 70; Ticket: Free (Face $100?); Parking: $20

Review: “We’re on the List” by Tree

The Location:

Washington State University is in Pullman. It is a couple of hours from Spokane, which you may or may not be able to get a direct flight to. The logistics are not difficult, but they are not easy either. The University of Idaho is literally right down the road (10 miles). As it can expected, lodging is tight. We ended up in nice little Airbnb in Lewiston, which was about a half-hour away. Other options would be Moscow or go further up north and stay in Spokane. If you want to spend a lot, you can always stay in Coeur D’ Alene on the lake with all the potato money. If you want to be in town, you will need to make reservations very early.  We ended up in Lewiston in the heart of the Palouse, a hotbed of U.S. agriculture. It seemed only right that we had dinner at the Wrangler, with live Country and Western music and one woman who was a dead-on doppelgänger for “Ruthie” from Ozark. Alas, neither myself nor my traveling companion had the courage to give her a spin on the dance floor despite her obvious overtures that she was desperate for a dance partner. We did manage to stop at local brewery, where we sampled Huckleberry brews. The Palouse is all about the Huckleberry. Huckleberry jam, huckleberry pancakes, huckleberry tea, etc. Later that night at Wrangler, the locals undoubtedly referred to us huckleberries.

The Site:

This trip was a double weekend combined with a visit to the University of Idaho. While Washington State was the priority for the weekend, I felt a visit to the Kibbie Dome justified missing the Washington State tailgating. One, it wouldn’t be the first time I relied on fan feedback for the tailgating. Two, I was traveling with Doug, who has connections on top of connections (see Iowa, Iowa State, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin reviews). Doug had managed to secure of seats in the Coaches Club compliments of the WSU Office of the President. I have friends in low places; Doug has friends in high places. Given that we would be noshing with the local gentry in the box, missing the tailgating seemed to be reasonable. We found parking on campus in one of the local lots, paid $20 via an app, and started walking to the stadium. It should be noted that everything in Pullman is uphill, even the return trip. Even with the hills, the campus is a treat to walks. It is beautiful. Plentiful with trees and unform in design themes, I was very impressed. Martin stadium, while of medium size, offers plenty of good views. There is only one video scoreboard, but it is a big one with a lot of clarity. We, of course, were sitting in plush padded seats, but it looked like the rabble below us were equally comfortable in their bleacher seats. I did venture out to lower levels of the stadium to evaluate the concessions, which were a mix of standard and local concessions. The lines moved effectively enough, and I was able to secure my souvenir cup with I believe some level of free refills. Not that I validated that of course. I mean what’s the point when you are sitting in the Coaches club. We did note that there was in and out access of the stadium, if your ticket was scanned. We saw quite bit of this at half-time as folks ventured over to the beer garden set up just outside of the stadium. It looked very popular from our perch. I didn’t notice too many unusual traditions other than the student body heartily singing some songs during the game.

The attire of the fan base was casual, even in the box. Mostly jeans and t-shirts, with some polo’s sprinkled in. I thought the fox in the box might be a bit more dressed up, but it was all standard stuff. Walking around the stadium, the student attire also seemed relaxed. There was the occasional tennis skirt and bare midriff, but I didn’t see any ‘club attire or guys running around shirtless. I am sure there was some of that somewhere. It is a college campus, but in general, this was classic game day attire with lots of scarlet and gray. The scoop on the tailgating is that the RV lots are very popular, not surprising considering the location. I was told that shots of Fireball are common. Again, not too unusual. It is one of the easiest shots to do and I often see that at tailgates.

The Game:

We had low expectations for this game. I had seen the University of Colorado Buffaloes twice and they were terrible. Unfortunately, Colorado State looked to be even worse. The Rams were winless, and WSU was undefeated. I was a bit worried that if the short trip from Moscow over to Pullman was delayed at all, the WSU game would be all but over. While it wasn’t exactly that bad, it was pretty close. We rolled in WSU Stadium right after kickoff and the Cougars were already up by seven, less than five minutes in. It was more of same from our view. Even when the Rams would manage to put together a few plays, they would find some way to mess up the drive. WSU, on the hand, was flawlessly executing their offense. It was 21 – 0 at the end of the first quarter and 28 – 0 at the half. Like a cougar cub that had got bored with the rabbit it captured, WSU did lighten up in the second half. This gave me a moment of concern as the line was 17 and I wasn’t sure that they were going to cover. Thankfully the Coogs rose up, and my wager was safely won.

Personal Notes:

As we left the stadium, I was admiring the scenery of the WSU campus and noted a couple of fans who agreed with me. We started up a brief conversation, and it turns out Doug had a connection to these folks. The gentleman was an attorney, Doug’s brother is in law enforcement so, of course, they knew each other. What followed was a twenty-minute conversation ranging from the Spokane justice system to the aforementioned fireball shots intel. This is what it is like traveling with Doug, we meet people everywhere and find common bonds almost immediately. Not surprisingly, I look to work in a game with him every year. That’s why he’s a member of the prestigious “Five Game Club”. It might seem like a low number but managing to hit five or more stadiums with me is a combination of commitment, enthusiasm and a very accommodating significant other.

That, and a willingness to sit anywhere, because it is not often that I am in the suite sections at college football games. It is not exactly something foreign to me either. I worked in corporate America for over 20 years, so I have had my fair share of suites, In fact, it got to the point when I was in Sales that it was almost a burden. I was based in northern Virginia, and I prayed neither my customers nor suppliers would suggest a visit to see either the Redskins or Wizards. Watching those teams was work, hard work. However, a trip to a box at college game is such a rarity that I quite enjoy it. Of course, it does limit the enthusiasm to tailgate. It is hard to gear up for a big pregame when you know you are going to have plenty of refreshments in the box. It can also be a bit difficult to get a handle on the typical game experience. At WSU, the game was such a blowout that I was able to do some walking around and get a better feel for the overall environment. I would characterize WSU as a goldilocks experience. Not too big, not too small, but just right. The people were friendly, the stadium well designed and the campus beautiful. The actual quality of the program is probably best characterized as middle of the road, and I must admit that losing Leach to Mississippi State a couple of years ago felt like a blow. When I think of WSU, it is old scarlet waving in the background on ESPN’s Game Day and a wild Leach offense on the field. To be honest though, the program would have to be terrible before this experience would suffer. There are just too many positives. Don’t get me wrong, I would not characterize this as a must-see experience. But I also don’t think you would regret the visit either. It is hard to beat a fall day in the Palouse, watching football and drinking a cold huckleberry sour – coaches club or not.

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