I've been thinking about this Gonzaga vs. Washington State thing way more than I should. A few moments ago, I had the breakthrough I have been waiting for: this move by Mark Few, Mike Roth, and everyone else has me pumped. It finally dawned on me as I was writing down my thoughts in a reply to a post on CougCenter which I figured I would just make a post over here. Let me take you through my thought process:
Frame everything with "I want this program to do anything it can to win a title". That is truly what I believe. I believe that Gonzaga should approach everything with the mentality that it is championship or bust. I, of course, believe these things should be done within the framework of our country's laws but, other than that, have at it.
There have been implications that Gonzaga is sleezy for doing this. Please. The series had expired and was due to be negotiated once again. At that time, the staff was working on the rest of their schedule and opportunities with Arizona and UCLA had arisen. They were also likely targeting other big time games. I will always maintain that Gonzaga has to be extremely aggressive with scheduling to remain relevant. What's more aggressive: establishing a new series with UCLA and Arizona or maintaining the existing terms of their deal with a Washington State team that has been woeful over the past few years? You likely already know my answer to that question.
The accusation that Gonzaga is pulling a UW on WSU is utterly laughable. Like, maybe one of the most hilarious misconceptions that I've ever read. Again, frame everything with "I want this program to do anything it can to win a title". I will forever argue that Gonzaga's intentions were in line with this when they proposed their deal with Washington State. Can you argue that Washington was acting with the goal of winning a title when they proposed the absurd deal of having every game take place at Key Arena? I mean, you could argue anything, but I would argue back. Not to mention the fact that Gonzaga will be in Pullman in 2015-16 which nullifies any comparison.
Prior to this recent breakthrough, I had thought the reason I didn't care about the scheduling was because I'm not a native of Washington and thus I couldn't grasp the depth of the rivalry. That's not the reason at all. I don't care because Gonzaga scheduled Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, and likely SMU (so far) in addition to being in the NIT Tip-Off. I don't care because I want this team to do whatever it takes to be at its best in March and if it means pissing off WSU for a year, I'm cool with that. And if the roles are reversed in the future, I won't scoff at WSU for making the same move as it will be the best move for their program.