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Playing On Red Turf?

I never thought I’d see the day that a college football team would play on red turf, but that day is coming quickly.

Eastern Washington University (located about 30 minutes outside of Spokane) is installing red field turf for the upcoming season. Take a look at these pictures. It’s outrageous!

The biggest donors to the project are two high-profile EWU graduates. Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Michael Roos gave the university $500,000, while ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd pledged $50,000 more. They must see some value in this if they’re giving up a chunk of their salary.

Roos has done so much for the university since he graduated in 2005, that the school is changing the name of its stadium to Roos Field this season. The dude is 27-years-old and he already has a football field named after him. He’s definitely doing something right.

The red turf has generated a lot of buzz for a university that many people haven’t heard of. I saw them talking about the project on Pardon the Interruption, SportsCenter, and even FOX News (among others). If you google red turf, you’ll find stories from all over the country, including New York, Orlando, and Seattle. The buzz is probably enough to make all of this worthwhile, but how long will that last?

This is a gimmick…just like the “Smurf Turf” at Boise State. The better the Broncos get at football, the more and more I see them on television. In turn, the more and more I get annoyed by their ugly blue turf. I think it looks stupid. As for Eastern Washington, they are a Football Championship Subdivision team (DI-AA). They can be as good as they want (and they are one of the best teams in the country every year), but their games won’t start to show up nationally. There’s just not a market for FCS football across the country (until the playoffs start).  That’s going to hurt the impact of the red turf. I think the excitement will wear off fast.  

Speaking of wearing off…will the turf fade to pink after a few years of use?

I probably wouldn’t be so annoyed by all of this if it wasn’t part of my job to cover the team. I have to hear about or see the red turf all the time. I’m a traditionalist (if you couldn’t tell). I enjoy football outdoors on the grass. I’m not even a huge fan of domes, but I don’t mind field turf as long as it’s green. If colored turf was a good idea, the major universities would be installing it.

Following in the lead of the environmentalists out there…go green!

I would love to know what you think about the red turf at Eastern Washington University. You can leave a comment below, follow me on Twitter @lewissports, like me on Facebook, or email me at tim@timlewissports.com.

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