The Apple Cup has been a bit bruised the past few seasons, as both programs have struggled to stay competitive. The series reached a low point in its 102 year history in 2008 when the teams stumbled through an ugly 16-13 OT Cougar win. Because of this recent history the game is not on the national college football radar, and the animosity amongst alumni of both schools has cooled.
This year has some extra juice to it and it’s time again to bust out your favorite joke to that jerk Coug/Husky in accounting. Jokes like â€œQ. How do you keep a Cougar out of your back yard? A. Put up some goal postsâ€ or â€œQ. How do you get a Husky Grad off your doorstep? A. Pay for the pizzaâ€.
Here are five compelling reasons to watch this year’s Apple Cup:
1. The game has meaning for UW:
Neither team has been to a bowl game since 2003, and the Apple Cup has had little meaning since then. This year is different. After their last second victory against Cal last Saturday the Huskies sit at 5-6, one win away from being bowl eligible and ending an embarrassing and frustrating drought for a once proud program. For the Husky seniors a win would solidify their careers and wipe the taste of the 2008 0-12 team from their mouths. Not to mention that a bowl game will keep the momentum that coach Steve Sarkisian has been trying to build for his program.
2. The game has meaning for Paul Wulff:
Coach Wulff has done anything but light a fire under the Cougar fan base since being hired in 2007. Coming into the game his record is an abysmal 4-31 and his job is in serious jeopardy. Many people think that his fate is already sealed no matter what happens on Saturday, but with their surprising win against Oregon State two weeks ago and their generalâ€¦ shall we say â€˜competitiveness’ this season a win against the Huskies might buy Wulff one more fall on the Palouse. If nothing else, he will leave knowing he beat his rival twice in 3 attempts.
3. It might snow:
The Apple Cup has never been played in Pullman in December. The weather forecast is for snow all week, including Saturday. Football in the snow is pretty great, and who doesn’t remember Drew Bledsoe going crazy in the Apple Cup in 1992 during a blizzard? Neither team would seem to gain an advantage in the snow, but the white stuff would provide a beautiful canvas for some Husky or Cougar to join Bledsoe in Apple Cup lore.
4. May be last chance to see Jake Locker:
Locker’s season has been disappointing on many fronts. But by all accounts he is a great kid who turned down millions of NFL dollars to try and help bring the Huskies back to respectability. This season, and his college career, may not have gone down as hoped, but he has a chance to create a legacy as the face of the Husky resurrection. Win or lose, it’s the last Apple Cup and last Pac-10 game for one of the sport’s most talented athletes.
5. Bragging Rights:
This might actually be the most important reason to watch. Everyone knows a Husky or a Coug who they can’t stand, and would love to hold this game over them for another year. This is the bowl game for the Cougs, and winning would be extra sweet knowing it kept the Huskies out of a bowl game. For the Huskies, winning would feel like they have righted their ship and have drubbed the pesky Cougars back into their rightful position of the have-nots in the state.