EW! It’s Eastern Washington and We Need to Worry

Alan Lohner Humor

The Eastern Washington Eagles swoop in today, creating trepidation and real concern for Duck fans flocking to Autzen Stadium: “Did I pack the paper plates for the tailgate?” “Is there enough ice for the IPA?” “Where’s the Weber grill?” I know the answer to that last one–it’s in the garage under all that junk that’s been thrown on top of it since the end of last season.

Yes, I know there’s also football going on, but the only way that Our Beloved Ducks lose against Eastern Washington is if Coach Lanning starts The Duck at quarterback and kicker.

Not that The Duck couldn’t run the offense and lead the team to victory. He could. I hear he’s a pretty decent passer, even if his kicking game needs work. Too bad Nike doesn’t make size-30 shoes.

Great news: The Duck has years of playing eligibility remaining.

Go, Duck, go!

We’re hoping that Lanning puts The Duck in the game during mop-up time, say around the middle of the second quarter. Okay, okay, I’m not giving Eastern Washington any respect, but how can you seriously root for a team called EW?

Fan #1: What team is that?

Fan #2: EW.

Fan #3: Yeah, they do look uncoordinated. EW!

And no, I’m not concerned about this week after last Saturday when all those referee calls went against us. You know exactly what calls I mean–the ones where the refs lifted their arms straight up in the air and signaled another touchdown for the Scaredy-Dawgs.

Sorry, not sorry. You can be national champs and still be chicken-hearted. Georgia last played a regular-season game on the West Coast in 1960, seven years before Autzen Stadium even existed. The Scaredy-Dawgs like to travel about as much as Ted Kaczynski.

Some people–like the Georgia Bulldogs–are real homebodies.

Hey! It’s Payday!

Let’s face it, the only reason that Eastern Washington is showing up today isn’t to try to put a few points on the scoreboard–it’s to collect a paycheck so fat that it may need a Jenny Craig weight-loss program.

Payday games, also commonly called cupcake games, creampuff games, and fan-worthless games, are an all-too-often occurrence in college football.

In a payday game, one party agrees to be taken advantage of by another party for an exchange of cash–stacks of it. The same kinds of transactions occur nightly on sleazy street corners across the U.S.A., except that the amounts that change hands aren’t in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. At least there is moral equivalency.

The idea behind payday games is rooted in history.

The SEC–The First Name in Cupcakes

The Southeastern Conference has elevated cupcake games to a science, one of the few sciences explored at SEC institutions.

In fact, the SEC makes more cupcakes than Betty Crocker. Alabama ordered three non-conference cupcakes this season, which gave the Crimson Tide three wins even before Nick Saban threw his first sideline tantrum.

Seven other SEC teams–Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas A&M–automatically padded their 2022 win total with three payday-cupcake blowouts of their own. Four SEC teams baked in two cupcake conquests.

A sad fact of American life is that obesity runs rampant in the South. The culprit is not too many helpings of grits, biscuits, and gravy. It’s too many cupcakes.

And Then There’s That Special Treat–Vandy

Vanderbilt is the SEC’s signature delight, topped with yummy chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles. It’s a sweet deal for everyone, except the victory-starved Vanderbilt players. The other SEC teams get to snack on good ‘ol Vandy, pick up more cupcake wins, and lick the excess icing off their fingers.

Since 1960, Alabama has tormented (tortured might be the better word) the bleak-and-blue Commodores 45 out of 47 times. In tragic maritime fashion that some say rivals the Titanic disaster, Vandy has been drowned by the Tide 22 straight games. (The Titanic only sank once.) I’m not exactly sure how Vanderbilt recruits its victims, I mean athletes, but then the Washington Generals always manage to find five jabronis to perpetually lose to the Harlem Globetrotters.

I sheepishly admit that a thousand years ago during the disco craze, I danced the Hustle and the Bump, but truth be told, Vanderbilt belongs in the Southeastern Conference like I belong in the Bolshoi Ballet.

Nick Saban looks on with his arms crossed.

This master chef has cooked up more cupcakes than Duncan Hines.

What’s In A Nasty Name?

Eastern Washington assembled its first football squad in 1901, when the institution was called State Normal School and the team’s nickname was…wait for it…the Savages. Would you coach a team called the State Normal School Savages? For the team’s first two seasons, nobody else would coach that gang of hooligans either.

It took more than 70 years for the state’s abnormal school to adopt a new mascot–the eagle, a predatory bird that viciously attacks its prey. We would attach a video of an eagle tearing apart a helpless field mouse, but it’s too, too savage.
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Eastern Washington Can’t Escape Its Geography

I won’t get hired any time soon as an ambassador for Eastern Washington, but I would turn down such a position faster than you can say, “Ty Willingham.”

You see, you can’t bring up Eastern Washington without being reminded of its wretched western cousin, the University of Washington, ew, ew, ew. Sharing your geographic identity with the depraved and deranged Huskies is akin to being born into the Kardashian family.

The Eastern part of Eastern Washington’s name is fine. That’s the direction from which the sun greets us every morning. It’s the other part of the name that’s the problem, and no, moving to southwestern central Washington isn’t going to cut it.

My recommendation is for Eastern Washington to get as far away from Washington as humanly possible, in order to erase the residual stench that will surely remain. Eastern Uganda sounds about right.

Uganda’s capital is a lovely Husky-free zone.

The Ducks Are Cool–But Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know

Cool schools like Oregon can bask in glitzy, classy history, like “The Pick.” Cal, the luckiest cluster of nerds to ever own cleats, has “The Play.” Eastern Washington, neither cool nor lucky, has “The Turf.” Yes, let’s all bow our heads in mock sadness and suppress our laughter.

The Eastern Washington Eagles football program is best known for the color of its gridiron–a grotesque red that endangers every eyeball that scans its expanse. The team has nicknamed its field “The Inferno,” which is wholly appropriate, because it looks like hell.

When a program resorts to gimmickry, such as coloring its playing surface the way a kindergartner would, it loses, not gains status and respect. Eastern Washington, by painting its football field an intense shade of the planet Mars, is demonstrating that it has all the lowbrow crudeness of the kings of uncoolness–the Boise State Broncos, whose “Smurf Turf” is also unimaginably horrible.

Is this hell? No, it’s Eastern Washington.

One Burning Question for Eastern Washington

We were amazed, shocked really, to learn that on its website, Eastern Washington is hawking the jersey of a really good football player, and we are not making this up. To be fair, this is a really, really good player, and if Eastern Washington put him in today’s game, it could cause heaps of trouble for the Ducks.

If you’re a fan of Eastern Washington–and don’t worry, we all make mistakes–this news should make you happy. It should give you hope. We looked up this player’s highlights from last year and he made incredible plays and scored many touchdowns.

But then we searched Eastern Washington’s 2022 roster and we couldn’t find him. Perhaps you, dear Eastern Washington fan, can help us out. Where, oh where, is Cooper Kupp?

EW and Last Year’s ‘Winning’ Record

In order to collect its grossly bloated payday check, Eastern Washington is required to dress up a bunch of EW students in helmets and pads and throw them to the wolves, I mean Ducks.

Don’t be bamboozled by Eastern Washington’s winning slate from last season. It turns out that the not-so-savage Eagles feasted on some squishy cupcakes of their own, namely Central Washington, Western Illinois, and Northern Iowa. Not exactly impressive. And neither was EW’s loss at home to the Weber State Wildcats. The What State Who? Please don’t make me repeat it. All I know is that they’re an oddball outlier out of Ogden.

However, last year is history and today is today, and by later tonight the Eastern Washington Field Mouse Killers are also bound to be history. The biggest drama? Crossing our fingers and hoping that The Duck gets in the game.

And lastly, here are words to remember for every Duck fan from East to West, North to South, and Milky Way to Andromeda: last week is history, too.

Alan Lohner
Tigard, Oregon
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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