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Originally published Monday, April 20, 2009 at 3:54 PM

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Moving the Apple Cup to Qwest Field dilutes the rivalry

The Apple Cup is about more than dollars, writes Ryan Blethen, referring to plans to move the annual football showdown between the Cougars and the Huskies to Qwest Field. School officials should respect their fans and keep the Apple Cup as is.

MOVING the Apple Cup to the not-so-neutral Qwest Field does needless damage to an exciting rivalry.

I am a proud Coug and was in Martin Stadium for last year's battle for ninth place between the Cougars and Huskies. It was an overtime thriller as memorable as any game I have seen. It did not matter that the Rose Bowl was not on the line. What mattered was that we beat those lowly mutts, again. Martin Stadium might be old and small but it is an intimate venue that becomes electrified when the Cougar faithful get riled.

My zeal for the Apple Cup is not contained to Pullman. I equally enjoy watching the Cougs play at Husky Stadium. I respect the venerable old stadium and its picturesque view of Lake Washington. The stadium is filled with history and memories.

A move to a so-called neutral site will change the game in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. That annoying siren the Huskies blare after scoring and the shaking stadium will not have the same effect in the spiffy and solidly built Qwest Field.

The perfect remoteness of Pullman will not be evident when Cougars announcer and Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson bellows, "and that's another Cougar first down!" Instead of standing up and flinging my arm in the direction of a first down and admiring the campus I love, with the gentle Palouse hills as a backdrop, my gaze will instead be greeted by a parking lot and Pioneer Square.

This idea is as bad as some of the play calling Husky and Cougar fans have had to endure in the recent past. The Apple Cup is about more than dollars. School officials should respect their fans and keep the Apple Cup as is.

— Ryan Blethen

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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