Moos already hard at work on Seattle week

WASHINGTON STATE'S football game with Oregon State doesn't kick off until Saturday night in Seattle, but WSU athletic director Bill Moos flew into town Sunday evening to kick off a busy week of Cougars activities of all sorts.

Moos figures to be busy this week with a number of dinners, luncheons and other meetings with fans, donors and/or media for athletics and other departments.

MOOS PLANS TO play Oregon State or Oregon every year at CenturyLink Field (formerly Seahawks Stadium and Qwest Field). The athletic director said he's making certain everyone knows the annual Seattle contest is a WSU home game, no matter how many fans make the trek up from the state of Oregon.

"We'll have CenturyLink decked out in crimson and gray," Moos said. "It will be a home game setting for the Cougars. I'm excited about it."

Moos did not have time to put together a Seattle game last year after taking over for Jim Sterk. The Cougars played a home game in Seattle every year from 2002-09. Each game drew more fans than WSU's Martin Stadium can hold (35,117 before losing almost 3,000 seats this year due to planned construction).

Ticket sales for Saturday's game have topped 41,000. It's the first conference game the Cougars have moved to Seattle.

"If we get to 50 (thousand), I'll feel real good about it," Moos said.

Down the road, Moos said, he hopes to sell out the 67,000-seat facility. That could happen as soon as next year if the Cougars play Oregon in Seattle.

Moos said the Cougars stand to net between $1.5 million and $2 million with a sellout. The best take so far has been $335,000.

Moos said the value of elevating WSU's presence in Seattle is immeasurable.

"Seventy percent of our undergraduate enrollment at Washington State is from the west side of the mountains," Moos said. "We've got 80,000 alumni on the west side of the mountains. The vast majority of corporate people and businesses (in Washington) are on the west side."

MOOS AGAIN STRESSED that he will never permit WSU's bi-annual Apple Cup home game with Washington to be played anywhere but Martin Stadium. Sterk drew heavy criticism when he discussed the possibility of playing all Apple Cups at CenturyLink, which would have paid the Cougars millions more than can be made in Pullman.

This year's Apple Cup, a Washington home game, will be played Nov. 26 at CenturyLink due to construction at Husky Stadium. Tickets are still available.

Moos said everything remains in place for suites and other premium seats to be added at Martin in time for the 2012 season. The final touches on design plans for the school's football operations building -- planned for completion in the summer of 2013 – are being made in anticipation of the WSU Board of Regents vote of approval Nov. 18.

Moos said the two projects, funded largely with bonds, will cost approximately $80 million.

"It could be close to 50-50" on the cost of each project, Moos said. The football operations building will be approximately 77,000 square feet after once being eyed at 100,000-plus on what Moos termed "a wish list" of preliminary plans before budget considerations took effect.

Paul Wulff's Cougars are 3-3 at the midway point in the season, and the team's goal of playing in a bowl game is within reach. But Moos will probably also be asked about the job status of Wulff from here on out. Moos reiterated Monday that he will wait until the end of the season – "That's always been my practice" – to make a decision on whether Wulff will return next season for the final year on his contract.

Wulff, who inherited a massive rebuilding job when he returned to his alma mater prior to the 2008 season, started this season hot but have lose their last two games.

"Paul and his staff are doing a fine job," Moos said. "I continue to support them. We let one slip away at UCLA (the Bruins won on a late touchdown, 28-25, on Oct. 8). Now we're trying to get back on track.

"I look at the schedule, and I see potential wins there."

There could be potential losses there, too. The Cougars, who let a 10-7 halftime deficit turn into a 44-14 loss to No. 7 Stanford on Saturday, have three additional Top 25 teams on tap: No. 9 Oregon (5-1), No. 24 Arizona State (5-2) and No. 22 Washington (5-1).

The three other teams left to play are 1-5 Oregon State, 3-3 California and 3-3 Utah. Six wins qualifies a team for a bowl; seven wins guarantees a bowl.

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