Washington State Cougars football fans hosting this weekend’s historic matchup against Oregon State are being encouraged by the school to show their support for the Beavers.
What would normally be a tense game for fans of the 14th-ranked Beavs and 21st-ranked Cougs has a different feel. One of unity. That’s because those two schools, come this time next year, will be the only schools left in the Pac-12.
“Although we’re asking our Cougs fans to make it the toughest and loudest environment, we’re also gonna encourage them,” Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun said. He made the statement as part of a joint press conference with OSU officials, standing in front of a backdrop with both the Beaver and Cougar logos.
That unity will extend to the Cougar marching band.
“Eighteen minutes before kickoff, our band’s gonna play the Oregon State fight song and we’re gonna ask as a show of respect to applaud that fight song because the two universities are in a fight together,” Chun said.
An online movement to have fans of both teams rush the field has gained traction over social media. No matter the outcome, Beaver and Cougar fans could meet in the center of Martin Stadium, hugging each other and high-fiving one another in a show of support and camaraderie.
“As long as the Beavers take care of business first and win the game, then yeah I think a little solidarity in the PAC2 that we have left could be a good sign for the rest of the country. Hopefully it’s a good game,” Beaver fan and owner of Sidelines Bar and Grille in Downtown Bend Trevor Kalberg said.
The unique union on the field would come with a fine.
“Even though I’m a Ducks fan I think that just seeing two teams show such sportsmanlike actions is really cool and uplifting,” Ducks fan Rachel Davis told us.
The game is a sellout with standing room-only tickets left. Kickoff is Saturday at 4 p.m.
It will be the first time in the 120-year history of the series that the teams will meet while both are ranked.