It might be unusual, but it's going to be an awesome college football atmosphere for Washington State on Saturday. The Cougars play Notre Dame in San Antonio, Texas on Halloween. That's a pretty cool mix if you ask me.
WSU will get a huge payday for taking part in this game. The numbers aren't firm, but the Cougs can bring in as much as $1.5 million ($600,000 from the TV deal and $900,000 from the Fighting Irish). That's the biggest non-bowl game paycheck in school history.
With that said, Wazzu will be at a big disadvantage when it comes to fans. The Alamo Dome in San Antonio seats around 65,000 people. 25,000 seats were reserved for Notre Dame (it's considered a home game for them), while only 5,000 seats were reserved for the Cougars. Expect the Irish to have a huge home field advantage even though they are playing away from South Bend.
Wazzu was working hard at practice on Wednesday. The Cougs are 1-6 this year, but their enthusiasm hasn't slowed at all. There might be some extra excitement this week because they play the 23rd ranked Fighting Irish this weekend. The answer we got from most of the players today was that it's cool to be playing one of the top teams in college football history, but that doesn't mean they'll be in awe on Saturday. They all agreed that it will be a nice change of pace from the Pac-10 schedule.
The Cougars are still battling injuries. It sounds like linebacker Louis Bland is more than likely done for the season (he has a knee injury). There was some good news on Wednesday. Linebacker Andy Mattingly returned to practice after missing out on Tuesday with a bruised knee. Defensive back Chima Nwachukwu started practice with a yellow "no contact" jersey, but he replaced it with a regular uniform once drills started.
I wasn't at practice, but our weekend sports anchor Chris Bach was there (I trust his word...otherwise I wouldn't have hired him). He says Jeff Tuel is looking more and more comfortable every week (his numbers against California prove that). WSU still says that the running game will be the key to success on Saturday. They said the same thing about the Cal game, but they fell behind early so they were forced to go to the air (the Cougars gained only 55 yards on the ground against the Golden Bears).
Staying competitive early is another key to the game (that way the game plan can stay intact). That's much easier said than done. The Cougars have been outscored 112-3 in the first quarter this year, so I know that's asking a lot.
Going away from this weekend's game...the November 7th game against Arizona was picked up by Fox College Sports. If you don't have that channel, the game will be rebroadcast on FSN Northwest at 7:30pm (the contest actually starts at 12:30pm).
One more thing...I'm sure you've noticed that there is a new KREM.com. It's still a work in progress at this point. There is not a separate page for my blog right now, but there will be one eventually (I'm not sure when that's going to happen). For now, I'll just be posting my blog as a normal story on the website. That's the best thing I can come up with at this point.
We are also figuring out a time efficient way to put raw interviews on the new site. Right now it takes a really long time to upload the video, etc. I promise we'll get interviews on here (like we did on the old site) as soon as we can. Again...it's a work in progress.
That's all I have for now.