Washington fans already feel better about their football team, which crawled out of its darkest period with a bowl victory last year, but a wise man once noted that "It is better to look good than to feel good," so it makes sense in a 21st Century sort of way that a major facelift to iconic Husky Stadium will help the program recover "its rightful place of prominence," as a press release on the stadium renovation noted.
The $250 million renovation, which will begin in November and be completed in time for the 2013 season, now has its own website, where fans can get the details and see pictures and simply dream of a stadium that isn't falling apart.
Because, whatever you think about universities spending hundreds of millions of dollars on sports facilities, Husky Stadium had become a decrepit, crumbling dump, though one with an exceedingly scenic location.
Will tickets cost more? Yes, without a doubt. And students will have to surrender their 50-yard line seats, which sort of stinks.
But, as Bob Condotta notes, this upgrade is part of a larger plan to make Washington a national power again. Husky Stadium, one of the nation's loudest venues, used to be a selling point for the program. Over the past decade, it became a (slight) negative in recruiting, particularly in comparison to arch-rival Oregon's Autzen Stadium. Based on what they're telling us about the renovation, that will no longer be the case after 2013.
The biggest change, at least to me, is the removal of the track that surrounds the field, which always whispered "high school stadium" to my raised-in-SEC-country sensibilities.
Further, as sometimes grumpy columnist Art Thiel points out, the remodeling has been privately funded, which is notable in this economy.
Is Washington football trending up under coach Steve Sarkisian? Most signs say yes. Two years removed from an 0-12 season, the Huskies beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. And, as important, recruiting is clearly on an uptick.
Washington officials are expecting that continued improved play on the field will mean more folks will be willing to shell out big bucks to watch the Huskies, resulting in a revenue increase that should fully justify the investment.
I just hope the new press box includes actual chairs and does feel like its going to tumble into Lake Washington every time the Huskies score.