Cougs invade Seattle

Oct 20, 2011, 4:36 AM | Updated: 10:25 am

Living in Seattle comes with frustrations. Rain. Absent-minded drivers who treat the left lane of the freeway like their driveway. And, of course, husky fans. Every once in a while, though, there’s respite from these annoyances and this Saturday, when Cougs show up and invade the Emerald City we can relish the fact that purple and gold takes a back seat to crimson and gray.

The Seattle Game, despite the complaints of many East-siders (of the state, that is), is one of my favorite games of the year. Yes, the game is minus the tight-knit community feel that only Pullman offers, but it also offers a reunion of sorts for many Cougar fans who are stuck here on the West-side. Motivated mostly by the fact that a cross-state trip is difficult for many alumni on any given Saturday in the fall, the turnout for the game and the subsequent revelry is something to seen.

With a 7:30 p.m. start time, there will certainly be a raucous crowd. The fact that Oregon State is the opponent will only add to that. OSU is the perfect foe in a game like this. First of all, they represent a friendly rivalry. Cougs don’t dislike the Beavs and I think the feeling is mutual. We both have to put up with pompous neighbors and we both love the fact that said neighbors bring out the worst in each other in their longing for what each has (UO wants UW’s history and UW wants UO’s present).

It doesn’t hurt the Cougar fans’ excitement that OSU is the only real team the Cougs beat last year and based on this year’s record, may be one of the few teams left on the schedule they can beat this year.

OSU is struggling mightily. At 1-5 they’ve played some pretty bad football from Week 1. They opened the season with a mind-blowing loss to FCS Sacramento State, followed that with a 35-0 shellacking by Wisconsin and then dropped two more to UCLA and ASU. They woke up a bit to beat Arizona, a win so shocking that it cost Mike Stoops his job. Then, they lost to an unimpressive BYU team who Utah beat by 44 points. Granted, the Beavs were smacked by a rash of injuries on defense in the game.

Right now, the Beavs feature a decent passing offense that is seventh-best in the conference, but a rushing offense that is 10th, gaining only 101 yards per game. QB Sean Mannion is throwing for 264.7 yards per game, but has a miserable nine interceptions to go with his five TDs.

On defense, things don’t get much brighter. The OSU defense has been hit hard by injuries, with five players going out last week against BYU, including DL Castro Masaniai who broke his leg. The Beaver D struggled mightily against BYU’s mobile QB, a very positive sign for Jeff Tuel and the Cougar offense.

Tuel didn’t have a great game against Stanford’s very tough defense on Saturday, but that was certainly a result of coming off the injury and if the reports from practice are true, he should be in nearly top form for Saturday’s contest. A running and throwing Jeff Tuel could mean a big day for the Cougar offense. But please, no more inside screens.

As a part of the Seattle Game festivities, Butch toured the city waving the Cougar flag. You can see the pics here.

If you want to take part in some of the events this week leading up to the game, you still have a chance. On Thursday, you can meet up with King County Cougar Club at the Market Arms Pub at 2401 NW Market St. in Ballard. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m.

On Friday, you can choose from two events. If you’re near Bellevue, head to Joey for a family-friendly pep rally with Butch and the Spirit Squad at 7 p.m. If you’re in the city, then motor on down to Pier 57 above The Fisherman’s Restaurant for a Cougar Dance Party, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, on Saturday parties will be held throughout the city and no doubt in the parking lots surrounding CenturyLink Field, but the official party will be the Cougar Kickoff Pregame Rally held in the CenturyLink Events Center. The Cougar Marching Band and Butch will be there, along with a lot of family-friendly activities.

At 5:20 p.m., head to the intersection of Royal Brougham and Occidental for the Cougar Prowl and cheer the players as they walk to the stadium.

There’s one Pac-12 contest on Thursday, so here’s my early “prediction.”

UCLA @ Arizona – 6:00 p.m.

Arizona is terrible.

UCLA 29, UA 16

Go Cougs!

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Cougs invade Seattle