Eastern Washington Proves That Turf Colors Other Than Green or Blue Can Work

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJanuary 7, 2011

Boise State is not the only school with a colored pitch that knows how to win the games that matter.

Actually, when Boise won a national title in the Football Conference Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) back in 1980, they didn't have a blue surface like they do at Bronco Stadium today. They wouldn't install that bad boy until six years later.

Eastern Washington University—a school from Cheney, WA—have upped their neighbors to the east. They have shown they can have a different-colored playing surface—and win a national championship with it.

NFL bookend and Eagle alum Michael Roos must feel like he was a part of all of this. The stadium was renamed in his honor after the new playing surface came to fruition. And as a result of that turf? History.

On Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, Beau Baldwin's Eastern Washington Eagles rallied from a 19-6 deficit, riding on the arm of quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to win the 2010 NCAA Division I Football Championship over the Delaware Blue Hens.

Can you believe that? This columnist on Bleacher Report couldn't.

You know, perhaps all the schools in the country need to consider playing on colored pitches. That way, they can win national titles.

Note to LSU: get a purple SprintTurf. You there, Tennessee: orange with white hashmarks, keep the checkers, chop chop. Notre Dame: get a navy surface with gold lines, keep the slashes.

Let's have every university exercise their right to have a turf other than green because, hey, EWU showed they could win a national with a red surface; maybe winning a game with a surface in their own school colors will help!

Delaware must be seeing red. K.C. Keeler's Blue Hens—the last hope for those purists who only believe in a green surface and nothing else—failed to secure the lead they had.

The University of Connecticut would be wise to avoid Newark, Delaware in their search to replace outgoing head coach Randy Edsall.

I think Boise State would have loved to take a step down to FCS, even though they probably will be content trying to reprise their Fiesta Bowl heroics of a few years back. But I guess they'll take busting the BCS in the Football Bowl Subdivision any old day.

What are the chances of Boise winning a national title as a Mountain West Conference school? Well, TCU finished unbeaten but they weren't invited, so I would say it's

As for the Eagles, the Inferno may look like a piece of frozen salmon caught off the Inside Passage, but I assure you: it is HOT.

Why? Because the Eagles got hot in the fourth quarter. They got real hot.

Mitchell, who had his homecoming on Friday night, passed for 302 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 2:47 left in the game, a 11-yard pass to Brandon Kaufman.

Delaware's Pat Devlin, who should be considered as an NFL prospect in spite of his underperforming night, passed for 22 yards and a pick, and freshman tailback Andrew Pierce ran for 142 yards and a score.

For the most part, it took the Eagles three quarters to wake up from their funk against the Blue Hens. The offensive line was a babyshambles, and the pass defense was nothing short of decrepit.

Still, one must appreciate their resiliency, and the defense was finally able to invoke the power of the red turf in Cheney.

In fact, as the fans rushed the pitch of Frisco, Texas's Pizza Hut Park, the home of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas, one supporter held a sample of the red surface for good luck.

Let's just hope the NCAA Committee on Infractions doesn't give the EWU the middle finger several months down the road and conduct an investigation for having a field like this.

The Eastern Washington Eagles won it fair and square, after all. Any questions?