The Washington Huskies play their second-to-last football game of the season Saturday against Cal in Berkeley. And, even though the Huskies are just 4 and 6, sports commentator Art Thiel tells KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick the stakes are high for this game.
Due to this week’s bad weather, Art joined Kirsten by phone.
The Huskies haven’t been to a bowl game in seven years. Art says it’s almost an embarrassment not to make it to one these days: there are 35 bowl games and only 120 Division 1 college football teams. Art says he would rather see a playoff system set up rather than so many bowl games.
The Huskies only need a record of 6-6 to qualify for a bowl game and they’re currently 4-6. They have to win their final two games – Saturday against Cal and the Apple Cup next week in Pullman.
For the UW program, getting to a bowl game this year would be more than just a reward for the players. Art says it would be a chance for the university to court its wealthy boosters and hit them up for the $50 million in private donations needed to help fund a renovation of Husky Stadium.
“They need to show progress in the football program and going from 5-7 to 6-6 and making the first bowl game for Washington in eight years would certainly be a cause for celebration.”
Appearing in a bowl game pays a university about $850,000. But Art says it costs much more than that to house the team, coaching staff, band, cheerleaders and other support personnel in the host city for a week. But the universities consider bowl games good publicity, so they’re willing to pay the price.