Breaking down WSU football's finalized 2024 schedule

The absence of Pac-12 games is still jarring.

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WSU revealed its 2024 football schedule on Thursday, and before I get to my thoughts, here it is in case you haven’t seen it yet:

The release came much later than normal, entirely because of the dissolution of the Pac-12 that left WSU and Oregon State scrambling for a home for their football programs, which was then delayed by various legal maneuvers that led to an agreement with the departing 10 and WSU/OSU, which then freed them up to create a scheduling alliance with the Mountain West that resulted in this.

And if I’m being 100% honest with you … this still all sucks so very hard.

I thought I was prepared to see this, given that we knew it was coming, and we knew what it likely was going to roughly be.

I was not prepared to see this. This has got me feeling some sort of way, all over again.

It’s not so much the presence of MWC teams, who we regularly see on our schedules during the non-conference. That’s not what’s jarring to me. It’s the absence of all those teams that have filled the schedule for all of our lifetimes. No Oregon or Cal or USC or … just, ugh.

But the world keeps spinning, and there will be a season this fall, whether I’m ready for what it brings or not.


This is actually a pretty damn fun portion of the schedule, and isn’t that different from what we’d normally get. There have been lots of years where we’ve gone FCS/midmajor/midmajor/Pac-12/Pac-12 in the first five games; this time, we get one FCS opponent, two Power 5 opponents, and two MWC opponents, with three of the first four at home. Pretty normal stuff, competition wise. And there are lots of interesting story lines here, including …

  • Texas Tech at home. That’s a Big 12 foe that we have long thought should be the kind of team we could be playing regularly in non-conference games. I know they ended up on the schedule because of a swap with Oregon, but still — on the heels of playing Wisconsin at home last year, it’s cool! I just wish Mike Leach was around to see it. 🙁 

  • Apple Cup at Lumen Field. Listen: If you’ve visited the front page of our website, or have been subscribed for a while, you know how I feel about continuing the Apple Cup series. My thoughts have not changed on that. But if you’re a longtime listener to the podcast, you also know that I’ve longed for the Apple Cup to get moved to September. If it goes badly, it doesn’t have to ruin my whole offseason! I might even consider going to the game, since it’s not at The Venue That Shall Not Be Named and will theoretically be 50% Cougs.

  • San Jose State/Boise State. Gonna be honest here — I don’t know much about them, other than they were two of the best teams in the MWC last year. The game against the Spartans should be one of those idyllic September days, while playing the Broncos is familiar, so … yay?


And now, the strictly MWC portion of the schedule kicks in with three games sandwiched between byes. (The two byes is a function of Labor Day being early and Thanksgiving being late — it’s weird this year!) After the first bye, they head out to Fresno State — LA BOWL REVENGE GAME??? — before coming back to play Hawaii (yawn) for what will probably be Homecoming, then heading back out to San Diego State.

With two byes, one home game against an uninspiring opponent, and two road games, I think the two best things we can say about this month is that 3-0 is on the table and the trip to San Diego will be nice for those of you who decide to make it.


Utah State will very likely be Family Weekend, so that should be a pretty lit crowd, especially with two weeks between games in Pullman. New Mexico is a terrible team, and that game will be, just, whatever. Everyone is going to be looking ahead to Oregon State, anyway — our Pac-2 frenemies who will become our de facto rivals in this new, weird world.

I do wish the game against the Beavers was the last one of the season, starting a new tradition. But I assume there was some scheduling issue that prevented it, so playing it on the next-to-last weekend will have to do.

I cannot believe the last game of the year is Wyoming in Pullman on November 30. I feel like there might be 5,000 people at that game.

One quick caveat …

Before you make any plans for any of the road trips to the MWC schools, be aware: I think those games are available to be optioned to a Thursday or Friday for broadcast purposes, since the games at MWC locations are subject to that conference’s TV contract.

As for the Cougs’ TV situation for home games … WSU president Kirk Schulz said they should have some news on that soon. Of course, he said that for months about the Pac-12 TV contract, soooooooooo …

The one relevant piece of news on that front is that the new Pac-(1)2 commissioner said that the Pac-12 Networks would cease distribution before next season and that the studios would focus on production. Your guess is as good as mine for what that means for WSU football broadcasts in the fall.

And one more word about the Apple Cup

Our good friend Michael Preston (formerly of The CougCenter Hour, still occasionally for CougCenter dot com) noticed in the latest Board of Regents packet that there was an item about the previously reported 5-year agreement between WSU and UW for the Apple Cup. It seems the details of the contract got hammered out, and there are some interesting nuggets here:

The first one that jumps out (because this is what matters to me, as a fan) is that my assumptions about venues was off base — I assumed we would get one home game for every two in Seattle, with a rotation of Lumen/Gesa/Husky Stadium. However, only the first game is at Lumen, then it’s alternating home and away. I’m still not a huge fan of the “neutral” site game, but this is less bad than I figured.

The second is the financial terms. Of course WSU would keep the revenues from the home games, but this confirms what we all probably figured — that WSU is getting a cut of the revenue from this year’s game at Lumen. It doesn’t say what the split will be, but I think we can safely assume it will be 50-50?

The total expected revenue being potentially up to $10 million caught my eye, too, but I don’t know enough about WSU’s revenue from home games to parse out how much that means we are expecting to get from the Lumen game. Maybe the fact that UW would owe us $2 million is a pretty good hint — that’s probably approximately how much WSU would forego if UW canceled the game. If true, maybe that means they’re expecting $5 million to $6 million in revenue?


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