Commentary: All the elements are in place this year for the classic Apple Cup University of Washington ( News Washington )

History has shown that the Apple Cup doesn’t need two quality teams (or even one) to produce epic games. Part of the training event – as with any competitive game – is when the more overwhelmed of the two teams emerges when it least expects to lose to the other’s sky-high ambitions.

Think back to 1982, when a 2-7-1 Washington State team stunned a 9-1 Washington, denying the Huskies a third consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl. Or 2003, when a 5-6 Husky team was coming off a 54-7 loss to Cal, a 9-2, eighth-seeded Cougars 27-19 to end Rose Bowl hopes.

Other examples abound, with memories both satisfying and distressing, depending on the year. However, I would like to state that the very best Apple Cups are those in which both teams are good and have some weight to sing beyond the annual standards, like pride and bragging rights.

That’s why this year’s version of the Apple Cup, set for the Palouse on Saturday evening, is so appealing. Washington State and Washington have each shined in their full seasons under coaches, both of whom entered with many questions to answer. And they both did positively, Washington carrying a 9-2 record into the game while Washington State is 7-4. The Huskies have a five-game winning streak, and the Cougars have won three in a row. Both are playing for tangible rewards outside of emotion — a (still longshot) role in the Pac-12 title game or a possible New Year’s Six bowl for the Huskies, and a higher quality in WSU’s case.

There are other factors that spice up this game, such as the cold, snowy fall in Pullman. There’s nothing like bad weather to produce a Chaos Ball, like the legendary Ball in Pullman in 1992, when WSU upset the defending national champion Huskies 42-23. The image of Cougars wide receiver Philip Bobo sliding into a snowbank in the west end zone while catching a 44-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe is indelible. So pictures of snow flurries at Martin Stadium as recently as 2018 when the No. 16 UW dominated the No. 8 Washington State 28-15 en route to the Rose Bowl.

Another factor that balances the hype enough for Saturday’s ratchets is revenge, an ever-welcome wrinkle in the Apple Cup. Not only did the Cougars defeat Washington 40-13 last year – at Husky Stadium, no less – marking the largest margin of victory in WSU’s series history. Thus ending, in spectacular fashion, Washington’s seven-game Apple Cup winning streak, in which he had won by an average margin of 22.7 points.

The Cougars are remembered for celebrating on their home turf, and especially Jayden de Laura after leaving the fourth quarter with the purple flag on the Washington logo, which drives the Huskies. The image was omnipresent in preparation this week.

“I take it personally, the whole flag is about our logo,” Washington receiver Jalen McMillan said Tuesday. “We don’t take that lightly. We play it all over the weight of the room. Wherever you walk in that building, you’re going to see that image. We take it so personally.

Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies quarterback who had his breakout season, was in West Lafayette, Indiana over the weekend, watching injured from the sideline as his Indiana team lost to Purdue, 44-7. But he takes the resentment of his new teammates by osmosis.

“The people who were here last year, what they felt with the whole scandalous thing,” I understand. “Of course, some contempt, but my brothers feel that way, I will feel the same way, because I am behind them. I’m a dawg right now, so whatever they feel, I feel that way, and we know what we have to do this week to make sure we don’t have that feeling again.”

DeBoer also took up the cause, despite not being hired to replace the 2021 Lake Cup in Jimmy Lake until a few days later. Husky linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio recalled on Tuesday that DeBoer didn’t have to wait long after taking the job to prioritize beating Washington State.

“I remember in one of his first elections, he just said he saw the game. And one of his priorities was that, “We’ve got to get that back,”’ Ulofoshio said. “.

All the elements are there for a Saturday classic. With Washington a mere two-point favorite, it won’t be a huge upset no matter what. But enough will be enough for the winner.


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