Why are you a diehard fan of the WSU Cougars?

James Snook-US PRESSWIRE

You might have noticed Hyundai has sponsored a lot of stuff around the SB Nation network recently. While you might not be the biggest fan of ads, I'll bet you're a fan of free stuff. Want to win a paid trip to a bowl game of your choice? You do? Then read on.

Hyundai Fanthropology is looking for the most diehard college football fans, which means they've chosen wisely when it comes to hitching their proverbial wagon to the SB Nation network of sites. One of these diehard college football fans -- and it honestly could be you -- is going to win a sweepstakes prize of two airline tickets, hotel accommodations and two game tickets to a regular season or bowl game of their choice before the end of this season. It's not quite all-expenses paid, but it's pretty darn close.

Before we get to how you can win, let me tell you a little bit about how I got to be such a crazy Cougar fan. Because goodness knows, there is truly no rational reason why I spend the amount of time I do following, watching and writing about these teams.

My Story

I grew up in the Seattle area, and probably like a lot of you, grew up as a UW fan. My dad had season tickets to the Huskies, and I'm not sure about this, but there's a decent chance I've actually attended more football games in Husky Stadium than I have in Martin Stadium. I even went to the 1993 Rose Bowl against Michigan. So naturally, when it came time to pick a college, I was sure I was headed to Washington - that was my dream.

But I had this persistent teacher - Vince DeMiero at Mountlake Terrace High School - who said, "Hey, you want to be a journalist, right? WSU's got an awesome journalism program. Come with me to a football game. It'll be fun!" I thought: Well, if you're paying ... and I do like football ...

So I went. Of course, 17-year-old me was an obnoxious jerk sometimes (even more so than now), so I spent a good part of the drive over mocking WSU. As we descended down into town, I thought to myself, "Good lord, where am I?" We drove around and up onto what I now know as Stadium Way, where I had a realization that has stuck with me to this day: "Wait - is that the football stadium? Right there? In the middle of campus?" Vince assured me that it was, which I thought was about the craziest thing I'd ever seen, given the fact that my only experience with a college campus involved a monstrosity that's only "on campus" because the boundaries of the school stretch to the lake.

My curiosity piqued, I started to give the place a chance. About the only lame part of the weekend was the game -- Arizona beat the Chad Davis-led Cougars 10-7 -- as I became increasingly intrigued by the idea of attending school in a sleepy college town. I remember walking around late Saturday night and being amazed at how peaceful everything was, and how safe I felt. This was quite the contrast to the U-District, where 17-year-old Jeff was convinced murders and muggings took place regularly.

The communications department threw me a little money, a accepted WSU's offer to become a student, I came for Alive! that summer, learned the fight song, and it was over. The guy who sat at that terrible football game in October who wondered if there was any possible he could ever actually become a Cougar was, in fact, a full-blown Coug. Shared experiences with other Cougs over the next four years -- including a magical trip to the Rose Bowl -- just made the bond stronger. And when I left in 1999, it didn't diminish. If anything, it became a greater point of pride as I found myself surrounded by Husky "fans" everywhere I went.

Being a Coug is so much a part of who I am that my new bride knew it was futile to try and keep us from the Holiday Bowl in 2003 when we were already going to be in San Diego for our honeymoon, anyway. Being a Coug is so much a part of who I am that I spent the past five football seasons writing about them at CougCenter, even as the team didn't really give me a whole lot to work with. Why? Because I'm crazy about my school.

The Contest

So that's my story. What's yours? Tell us why YOU are such a loyal, diehard fan in the comments below. I will read them and choose the one that I like best. Ultimately, the decision will be up to me, and there's no rubric, but I encourage you to let me know how you guys feel about each fan's story by giving a "rec" to the ones you like the best.

Once I choose that person, we'll do a little email "interview," the transcript of which will be published to the site in about 10 days. That interview will be your entry into the grand prize contest, which will be adjudicated by an SB Nation panel with the winner announced on Nov. 22.

Have at it, folks!

By commenting below, you are subject to and accept the terms and conditions of the Hyundai Fanthropology Sweepstakes. Note: You may only enter this contest once. Should you leave comments at two different sites, the one posted first will be considered your official entry.

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