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Thursday, March 8, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Huskies getting trounced — in their own poll

Seattle Times staff reporter

Hear a gulp? Perhaps it's the sound of pride, swallowed.

An online poll by the University of Washington Alumni Association that asks "Who has more pride — Huskies or Cougars?" is turning up some embarrassing results for the home team and its army of alumni. As of Wednesday night, the Cougs were winning the unscientific survey with more than 70 percent of almost 85,000 votes cast.

"It isn't a contest," insisted Chuck Blumenfeld, executive director of the UW Alumni Association. "The purpose of this is to get input from both Cougars and Huskies as to why they are proud of their particular institution."

Problem is, nobody told the Cougs.

"This is hilarious. They are getting beat on their own Web site," said Zach Wurtz, student-body president at Washington State University. "Cougar pride is unmatched and unparalleled anywhere around the world.

"It's just a shame the UW has to compete with us directly."

The poll (www.washington.edu/alumni/survey/index.html), which allows only one vote per computer, has mobilized Cougars statewide in an effort to win: "I guess the Dawgs figured they could finally beat us by creating a poll about pride on their alumni Web site. Think again! Let's make sure we win this vote in THEIR magazine," urged one e-mail making the rounds.

Poll respondents are asked to explain why they picked one school over the other: "Pullman provides the intimate, small town college atmosphere. Pullman bleeds crimson and gray," wrote one. "When you're in the middle of nowhere, you have nothing else to do but put all of your energy into supporting your school," wrote another.

The Cougars do seem to have the upper hand when it comes to demonstrations of pride: Two years ago, the top of the Space Needle was painted in crimson and gray for the Apple Cup after WSU won a two-week challenge to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

At last year's game in Pullman, two cups of Tully's "Crimson Roast" were sold for every cup of "Husky Blend." And this school year, 12,000 of WSU's roaring Cougar license plates have been sold, compared to 7,000 sold featuring Washington's revamped "W" logo.

UW alumni, meanwhile, are downplaying the poll results. Despite a note on the alumni Web site that promises to report the final results in the alumni magazine Columns, the association now says it might not print numeric results, but rather more of a "qualitative" analysis.

But even if the UW doesn't publish the results of its poll, the WSU student body is promising to include the numbers in its newsletters.

Nick Perry: 206-515-5639 or nperry@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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