Seen & Heard 9/17

BE IT SWEATER VESTS or recruiting violations, I've always had doubts about <b>Rick Neuheisel</b>. But his latest entry into the annals of badinage convinces me he really is little more than a modern-day carpetbagger.

For Montlake grads who may be reading this, the word carpetbagger derives from the post-Civil War period (and no, this has nothing to do with the Oregon-Oregon State rivalry). It was a time when ever-smiling hucksters headed south with their traveling bags (made out of carpet-like fabric) and proceeded to hoodwink folks with all manner of sweet-sounding schemes.

So what to my wondering ears should appear on my drive home the other night than Slick Rick on the radio talking about what a great place Seahawks Stadium is and how cool it was that 65,000 Cougar faithful filled it up against Nevada.

So far so good.

But then Rick adds that he thinks all Apple Cup games --- as in every one, every year --- should be played in Seahawks Stadium.

And get this --- he was completely serious. In fact, he was so magnanimous as to suggest that the ticket allocation be split 50/50.

When pressed by KJR-AM's Mike Gastineau about why the Cougars would want to move Pullman Apple Cups to Seattle, Neuheisel insisted that it made sense because Seahawks Stadium holds 65,000 and Martin Stadium 40,000. Basically, he said, the name of the game is revenue maximization. It makes perfect sense, he insisted.

Wrong, Mr. Izod. The name of the game is winning. Assuring you and your team a good night's sleep in your own beds isn't conducive to that.

What made me cringe was the fact he came across so darn sincere.

If this was one of the typical ciphers -- er, callers -- you hear on KJR you'd think the idea quaint but stupid. But this is a seasoned, big-time college football head coach. The audacity to foist this as some sort of thoughtful idea is patently offensive.

Let's see, now. Would you rather play in your own campus in front of a crowd that's made up 90 percent of your fans or travel across the state to play in a stadium where 50 percent --- or more! --- of the attendees are hostile?

News alert, Rick. Seattle isn't Dallas. Texas and Oklahoma have for years scheduled their annual battle in the Big D because it's halfway between both campuses and it does maximize revenues.

You needn't look any farther than Spokane to see the folly of moving Apple Cups out of Pullman. From 1956-80, the Cougars played their home Apple Cups in the Lilac City --- in front of way too many Husky partisans -- and lost ten out of 13 there.

When Jim Walden insisted that the game move back to Pullman in 1982, the Cougars proceeded to win four of the next seven Cups played on the Palouse. And the losses were mostly nail-biters -- one in overtime, another on Rico Tipton's right-hook and another that went down to the final play. In between, the Cougs also managed to win a couple in Husky Stadium.

Moving the game back to Pullman restored the balance of power. Moving it to Seattle every year would be a boon to one school and one school only and Neuheisel knows it.

This guy's as disingenuous as they come, folks. And his performance on KJR the other night proved it in triplicate.

AND SPEAKING OF questionable types, can you believe what's gotten into the Seattle Times this season? Praise the Lord. Their Cougar coverage is getting downright Tacoma News Tribune-like. Even their Sunday coverage is outstanding. If they keep this up, I'll have to take back all the nasty things I've said about them over the years. Well, maybe not --- after all, the rest of the paper still is a glorified National Enquirer.

FINAL THOUGHTS FROM COLUMBUS: Thank goodness architects had the foresight to add 1,400 urinals and toilets to Ohio Stadium as part of the recent $194 million remodel --- otherwise, all the pissin' and moanin' I heard at halftime about the 7-6 Cougar lead could have created quite the bio hazard … He last suited up for the Buckeyes 28 years ago but the stadium was full of OSU faithful wearing jerseys emblazoned with Archie Griffin's No. 45 … The ever-present Woody Hayes bobble-head guy on the Ohio Stadium big screen is about as annoying as any character this side of Max Headroom … Oh, how I long to see the Cougars throw a pass to the tight end or use Jason Gesser's fancy footwork the way the Dawgs used to use Marques Tui … Open container laws apparently don't exist in Columbus ---- people were working all over the place with brewskis …. The words hot and humid don't begin to describe how uncomfortable Ohio Stadium was on Saturday --- especially with all those beer-drinkers breathing on you ….. Did you see that juke by Cougar receiver Devard Darling in the fourth quarter after catching what looked like a button hook? That was as major league a move as you'll ever see on a football field, college or pro!

APOLOGIES ARE IN ORDER: Earlier this year I let our executive editor add a line to one of my columns suggesting that Cal was the only team in the Pac-10 not capable of competing week in and week out. After watching part of their resounding defeat of Michigan State last weekend --- the Bears' third straight win this year --- the ‘Fan falls on its sword and confesses that the Bears look like the real deal to us.

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