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Football games: In the stadium, or on your couch?

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USC v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Good Saturday morning Coug fans. I know its February, but let’s talk football.

If you subscribe to The Athletic—I joined a month ago and love it—you no doubt read Stewart Mandel’s mailbag. The former Fox Sports writer now runs the college football section of The Athletic and I’m bummed I didn’t subscribe until just before the National Championship Game. I always loved Mandel’s writing at Fox Sports, and his podcast with Bruce Feldman is excellent.

I bring him and his mailbag up this week because he touched on something ($$$) that got me thinking: do you prefer being at college football games or watching at home? Why?

That wasn’t the exact mailbag question, but that’s the discussion it created. Mandel made this interesting point:

I don’t travel to as many games as I used to, but for those I have, I’ve definitely noticed the emphasis on in-game entertainment. I can remember going to games in college where we just sat there and waited during the TV timeouts. Now, even venerable stadiums like Notre Dame’s continuously crank the music. Video boards with a million different recurring features (in-game trivia, tweets and IG posts from fans in the stands) are a must. Anything to keep you from texting your friends outside of the stadium to find out what they’re up to.

Let’s look at some pros and cons of different football-viewing settings:

In The Stadium

Pro: If you watch in-person, you have the opportunity to do a little tailgatin’. WSU has a unique setup for tailgating, in that it’s mostly RVs. You have fancy RVs with fancy televisions set up and a kitchen with an island, and you have older RVs that catch on fire just before heading out on the highway (it has happened, trust me).

If it’s a Cougar football game, there’s always the fieldhouse. Piss and moan about the food and drink prices if that’s your thing, but the setup has improved greatly over the years and it’s always nice when the team walks through:

The anticipation and roar of the crowd can’t be duplicated watching on TV. I’ve never heard Martin Stadium louder than when Jahad Woods caused Sam Darnold to fumble to clinch the USC game. It was incredible.

Of course, I suppose it matters where you sit. In the lower level of section 25, the people are good.

Cons: Weather? I mean, only if don’t prepare for it. As the saying goes: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. There are definitely exceptions to that, and the Colorado game this season was miserable, while the Stanford game—much colder and snowing—was fine if you dressed for it.

Obnoxious fans? There are annoying fans everywhere, but I can see how this can really impact your experience. I’m sure we all have stories.

The price. From driving to the game, to possibly staying at a hotel, to the cost of tickets and donations, to food, drink and an RV spot, the investment adds up. The price is a real issue for a lot of fans.

At Home

Pros: Well, you control the weather, so that’s nice. You don’t have to worry about driving home after the game, so you have a free pass to the beer fridge. And I’ve often found that yelling at the TV to be kind of therapeutic, you know?

The price. It’s much cheaper to watch at home, and the fancy TVs make it more enjoyable, too.

Cons: All the pros I mentioned above? You don’t get that at home. I guess you could have your kids pretend they’re the marching band and you can walk behind them to your couch as if you were Leach and Co. You can even have your friend dress up as Antonio Huffman.

Oh, and you have to deal with the commercials by actually viewing them. At least the fans in the stadium get Tay Ali every other break, or so it seems.

At a Bar

Pros: Since you can’t get the in-stadium atmosphere, sometimes a bar is the next best thing. Now, there are different categories of bars: ones with lots of your fellow Coug fans, and ones where you’re the lone Coug. Cheering on the Cougs with your new friends at the bar can be a unique experience, and you naturally gravitate to each other solely based on the colors you’re wearing. Football is the great uniter!

At bars where you’re the only fan, it could be lonely. I watched the Arizona game from the only bar in New Orleans that had the Pac-12 Network while everybody else went nuts for the Houston Astros during the World Series. I tried to make friends by mentioning Tay Martin and Hunter Dale were from the area, but nobody seemed to care. Good job, good effort.

Cons: You have to pay a tab, and you run the risk of somebody switching the only TV you can see to something else. This is often the case when you’re the lone Coug fan in the bar.

**************

So there are some pros and cons. I understand everybody’s experience is different for many reasons, including where you live. You folks in the Eastern Time Zone, God bless you.

Poll

Where do you prefer to watch Cougar football?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Martin Stadium
    (179 votes)
  • 33%
    At Home
    (92 votes)
  • 1%
    At a Bar
    (5 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now

Links

Football

Former Mississippi State safety commit Tyrese Ross pledges to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Ross is expected to sign with the Cougars next Wednesday on National Signing Day. Twenty high school and junior college prospects inked with WSU during the early signing period, but the Cougars still expect a few more letters to trickle in on the 7th.

WSU gets commitment from three-star safety Tyrese Ross | The Seattle Times
WSU gets another commit right before Signing Day — this time a three-star safety from Atlanta.

Former Gonzaga Prep, Washington State standout Travis Long hasn’t forgotten his time with the Philadelphia Eagles | The Spokesman-Review
When Travis Long talks about the Philadelphia Eagles, he still uses the first-person plural. As in, “We had some good people.”

Mandel’s Mailbag: Which non-blueblood can be our Playoff hope? – The Athletic
The Mailbag is my weekly attempt to lighten up your day, but it’s hard to avoid how dark these past couple of weeks has felt around college sports.

Basketball

FIVE SCORE IN DOUBLE-FIGURES AS THE COUGS CRUISE IN TUCSON | Washington State University Athletics
Borislava Hristova joined the 1,000 career point club.