It will be nice to watch an Apple Cup that is actually worth a damn for the first time in quite a few years.
In this years installment of the Apple Cup, both teams come in with some momentum. In the case of the Cougs, they have become bowl eligible for the first time in what seems a very long time from the successful squads of the early 2000′s. For the Dawgs, this is a chance to get over the 7-win hump (albeit by one game) and continue to show progress for the program that Sark has built.
All too often this game has meant literally nothing for either one or both teams involved. If anything, it has become a battle for who won’t be living in the cellar at the end of the season.
The tradition from the game has been sapped a little just due to the fact the game is being played on the day after Thanksgiving, and at noon to boot. However, if it wasn’t for the TV money that is helping schools like Washington State hire Mike Leach and allowing the assistants at Washington to be some of the highest paid in the land, you have to give and take some things.
For Washington State, getting to 7 wins should assure them a bowl birth. While bowl eligble now, 6 wins doesn’t guarantee a bowl game, it just guarantees that they could be selected for one. If I was in their shoes, this is a must-win game to get to that point. Getting to 6 wins and not getting picked would be heartbreaking.
For Washington, the “Fire Sark” crowd grows with each loss in the column that piles up. Despite getting to bowl eligibiity, many Washington fans are expecting more from the program and seeing progress that goes beyond qualifiying for the Humanitarian Bowl. Unfair or not, this is an expectation that he can put to rest with a victory over the Cougars at home to get to eight wins.
I will be in enemy territory this Thanksgiving, unable to make it back from the east side of the state to be able to attend the game. I will be sitting in a probably lopsided pro-Coug bar with my Washington flag flying. It will be nice for the majority of the crowd to have a little bit more on the line than getting to anything less than six wins. It will also be nice for the Dawgs to get a victory over a team with some more momentum going for it than Oregon State.
It’s that week kids, get your colors out. Warm up the Apple Cup jokes and get ready for a game that both teams are going to be revved up to win.
I love college football.