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Washington Makes an Indecent Proposal

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It was recently reported by some guy named "Softy" from Seattle's 950 KJR radio station that Lorenzo Romar and Washington have proposed a three game series with Gonzaga beginning in 2010.  This would appear to be a milestone for the state of Washington because it would have signified the rebirth of a great basketball series between the two flagship basketball programs in the state of Washington. 

Then the details of the arrangement came.

Washington's proposal as it is being reported now is for all three games of the series to be played in Seattle at the Key Arena.  That's right, for all three years, Gonzaga would be forced to make the trip across the state to Key Arena to play right in Washington's backyard.  I'm not 100% sure how these negotiations will play out but I could imagine Gonzaga saying yes to Washington if it just became a true home and home or they at least offered Gonzaga one game in Spokane at the arena.  I understand that Key Arena holds probably about 5,000 more fans than Spokane Arena but to ask a team that has dominated this series in recent history to travel to Seattle three straight years is ridiculous.

The last time these two schools played was the 2006-07 season when Washington came to the McCarthey Athletic Center as the 8th best team in the nation and were ran out of the gym by freshman Matt Bouldin (21 points).  The game ended in a twenty point rout for the Zags and the Gonzaga fan base was particularly fired up because it was the final game the two schools would play in the foreseeable future because (according to ESPN):

The game was the last in the annual series the instate rivals have played for the last decade. Washington is choosing not to renew the contract because it says it has no room on its national schedule next season.

Gonzaga has won eight out of the ten games played between these two teams before the series was canceled.  Gonzaga fans often chuckle at the phrase "no room on its national schedule next season".  In-state rivalries are eaten up by national audiences and the Gonzaga-UW rivalry was so special because it took a traditional, BCS power team like Washington and pitted them against upstart Gonzaga that was just looking for a big name on their schedule.  The cool thing now is that Gonzaga is on the map.  They don't have to pander to Washington and Lorenzo Romar to get national attention.  Mark Few has already worked out true home and homes with programs like Michigan State and Wake Forest in coming years and the Washington State-Gonzaga game is now the hottest ticket in town.

In closing, it is pretty clear to me that this is Lorenzo Romar answering his critics by saying "see, I offered a series, but they declined." It's a feeble attempt to get pressure off of his back for pulling out of the series a few years ago.  If I'm Mark Few, I toss this proposal into the garbage can and send Romar the results of the last nine match ups between the two teams and a copy of all the teams that he has gotten to come to Spokane and a brief message along the lines of "we don't need you".