Attendance for Washington State’s showdown with No. 8 Stanford at Martin Stadium was announced as 30,012. Meantime, the Alamo Bowl scouts the Cougars.
PULLMAN — On Halloween morning, 3,000 tickets for Washington State’s Saturday night game against No. 8 Stanford remained unsold.
Even though the Cougars entered the game in second place in the Pac-12 North, and off to their best start in more than a decade, the late start, heavy rain and the fact that it was Halloween night conspired to keep WSU from its second sellout of the season.
Attendance at Martin Stadium was announced at 30,012 on Saturday.
“A lot of people would choose to stay where it’s nice and warm and watch the ESPN version,” said Wenatchee’s Bruce Grim, who sat in a parking structure across from Martin Stadium tailgating with his brother, Doug, and their wives, Lynn and Tina, before the game. “The weather is forecast to be terrible, it’s a 7:30 p.m. game, so for the people who had a long distance to travel, there’s really no place for them to stay and they’ll have to turn around and go back home.”
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Bruce Amundson, a season-ticket holder and 1975 WSU graduate, drove from Seattle to Pullman Saturday afternoon to get to the game and said he was disappointed that it didn’t sell out.
“Since I missed Woodstock, how could I miss this game? Coming from Seattle, I understand the challenges of getting to Pullman,” Amundson said. “But we hired (Mike) Leach to get us into the position to play a meaningful game at the end of October. Now that we’re in that position, it’s disturbing to hear ‘it’s Halloween’ or ‘it’s raining’ as excuses to stay home. Put on your GoreTex and get to the game.”
Would things have been different if ESPN’s “College GameDay” show had chosen to come to Pullman instead of going to Philadelphia for the Temple-Notre Dame matchup?
Most of the fans who steadfastly came out to watch the Cougars in the driving rain said yes.
Decked out for Halloween in a padded suit complete with fake muscles and a Cougar head emblazoned across his chest, Victor Whitney, a WSU senior, attended the game dressed as Cougarman, a superhero of his own invention.
Whitney said he was shocked the game had not sold out before Saturday given the magnitude of what WSU is playing for – first place in the Pac-12 North and a sixth win to become bowl-eligible.
“If ‘College GameDay’ were here, I’m sure this game would be sold out,” said Whitney, a criminal justice major. “Even though it didn’t sell out, I would still expect (this) to be packed tonight.”
Alamo Bowl scouts Cougs
Jack Rogers, a member of the Alamo Bowl Selection Committee, and the 2004 chairman of the bowl game, was in Pullman to scout the WSU-Stanford game.
“When we come to visit a team, the team we’re looking at is generally the home team,” Rogers said. “So we’re here to look at Washington State because they’re in second place in the North right now.”
After the College Football Playoff makes its selections, the Alamo Bowl gets first pick of both the Pac-12 teams and the Big 12 teams. The game will be played in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 2.
“We’re trying to get (two) teams that are in the top 15,” Rogers said. “I’m not going to name names, but we always like great teams that travel well and have a good TV following.”
WSU hasn’t played in the Alamo Bowl since 1994, when the 24th-ranked Cougars beat Baylor, 10-3.
In addition to dispatching Rogers to Pullman, the bowl also sent a representative to Salt Lake City to watch Oregon State take on the Utes. Utah won, 27-12.