Last year's Apple Cup caused quite a stir when it was scheduled for Black Friday in Pullman. "Think of the traveling issues!" some cried, "But what will I do for Thanksgiving?" some asked, "American Football? What a hooligan's sport. Now cricket! There's a gentleman's game" Prince Charles likely said one time. Despite all the whining and complaining I'm sure many of our alumni directed at the conference and our own athletic department, we get no reprieve from a Black Friday Apple Cup next season.
The biggest and likely most important difference though is that the location will be far preferable for many of the alumni and especially any students who want to attend than last season's game in Pullman. Also, Husky Stadium will be fresh of a renovation so you won't have to walk down moss infested, skinny stairs to get to seats with no leg room that will give you splinters anymore.
But just because the game is in Seattle on Black Friday doesn't mean some won't be effected. Travel from anywhere east of the Cascades to Seattle will surely be a pain; a similar one felt by those traveling from west of the mountains last season. I know many families made compromises such as cooking Thanksgiving dinner at a student's apartment or even forgoing dinner altogether and having a barbecue in the various RV lots. If the Apple Cup continues to be played on Black Friday, different parts of the WSU fan base will have to sacrifice if they want to attend the game.
Will the Apple Cup continue to be on Black Friday from here on out? Who knows. But with the conference championship always falling on the weekend after Thanksgiving, making the Apple Cup not only the final game of the year for both teams but on an agreeable day will always be difficult. Move it to the previous weekend and, although travel gets easier, both teams have another conference or non-conference game left. Play it on Saturday instead of Black Friday and it gets lost in a glut of rivalry and a few conference championships (MACtion!) which from a television ratings stand point is terrible. If the game is in the middle of the season, the backlash from both fan bases would be incredible and we'd have something to bond over which would make us all feel dirty.
This may be something we have to get used for a long time to come. It's a reality of the new media deal but with all the extra cash WSU is receiving and using to pay for things like the CFP, the football operations building and more, it's a reality I'm fine with. It'll stink for a while but when WSU wins the Rose Bowl next season, you'll forget all about it.
But hey, Halloween football in Pullman! That should be drunk, er, interesting.