There Must Be Some Kind of Mistake?

After spending six of the last seven years in the Palouse, it's hard to believe the Cougars will actually be visiting Autzen Stadium.

What a difference a day makes…or year…or century! I can't speak to the process which is Pac-10 scheduling, but I'd like to think there is a method to the madness of sending one team (Oregon) to another team's (Washington State) locale three consecutive seasons, in addition to six of the last seven. While I understand I'm removed from the process, and the people involved are far more intelligent than myself, where's the rationale in doing such? After-all, there is a competitive edge to playing in your stadium, on your field, in front of your fans, hence the term "home-field-advantage."

In addition to the aforementioned "home-field-advantage," one also must consider the disadvantage a visiting team encounters when forced to travel to an opponents setting…especially when that setting is Pullman, Washington!

Pullman, or as I refer to it, the Mars Annex, is far from everything and near to nothing. Getting there usually involves a flight to Spokane, followed by a nearly two hour bus ride south to the land of the lost.

Every time I trip to that town I feel is though I'm walking the set of Mad Max 4: Even Further Beyond Thunderdome.

I have very few rules which I live my life by, but one which I adhere to strictly is as follows; unless I'm vacationing in an exotic tropical setting, any site which involves transportation exceeding an hour, by more than one vessel, is not a desirable destination and should be treated as such.

Are you beginning to see my point?

It would be one thing to be sent to Los Angeles, Phoenix, or even Seattle an inordinate amount of times, but to be continually shipped to Pullman is much closer to exile than it is an away game.

While I've already acknowledged an inferior intellect to those behind the scheduling curtain, I recently entered my shabbily-constructed-think-tank and exited with the following bit of brilliance…alternation! I won't waste your time with the many intricacies of the hypothesis, but in a nutshell it goes as follows; I play there this year, you play here next year. And yes, it is as easy as it sounds.

With the newly adopted round robin format within the Pac-10, the alternation system is being applied, and by doing so, sanity reigns supreme. Stretches similar to the aforementioned will no longer exist, giving everyone on the urban end of the scale a minimum of two years between trips to the fields of dreams.

And Oregon is smack in the middle of their hiatus.

It's the Cougs that have to travel this week. (Something that may seem strange and unordinary to the crimson faithful.) So, as a gift to Pullmanites everywhere, I offer the following tips and information, in an attempt to make their trip more pleasant, along with less frightening for those venturing out for the first time:

* Between Pullman and Eugene there will be roads consisting of more than two lanes. While frightening at first, its efficiency and functionality will become apparent to you over time. Stay right and you'll be in good shape.
* Wheat is a crop here and not the predominant landscape. While a form of income for some, it is not uncommon to find trees, shrubbery, and other green stuff in and around the area.
* Oregon is another state and not just the name of a team.
* There's no sales tax in Oregon, so you needn't do the math in your head in an effort to predict prices. (not that you could.)
? You'll need a ticket to get into Autzen Stadium for the game. Your Student Body Card and ASB sticker will not gain you admittance.
* If while en route you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or uneasy about your surroundings, stop in Corvallis. You'll feel right at home. * Look at the bright side…you're not in Seattle. * It's really not uncommon to have multiple Starbucks, so don't bother taking pictures. * When reading the scoreboard, yours is the smaller number.

A small list, but lengthy and drawn out isn't effective in an ADD environment.

So to the dismay of Duck fans everywhere, there will be no voyage to Pullman this year. In exchange for your good fortune, you'll experience brand name food, beer darker than tap water, and conversations entailing more words than pointing.

Not a bad price to pay for a little sanity, a lot of home-cookin', and a home game versus Washington State.

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