Bowing Down and All That Good Stuff: Apple Cup 2010

Jesus was actually supposed to be born in Pullman, rather than Bethlehem… but they couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.

I just have to preface this post with a very factual statement: I am not actually a huge sports fan. Shocking, I know. But, as it turns out, I spend a lot of time with (arguably) the biggest sports fan in the world. When being forced to watch all these tedious games of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, curling, fishing, rock climbing {I’m embellishing a teensy bit here}, I usually base my support on which team’s colors/uniforms are more appealing. I don’t read up on stats, and typically bring either a magazine or a girlfriend to keep my focus on anything besides the actual sporting event. Isn’t it supposed to be about the boozing anyway?

When it comes to Husky football, I’m not going to lie, it has been good to have a girlfriend (or nail polish, or Martha Stewart Living, etc.) to serve as a distraction these past few years. But purple is still a prettier color than crimson, and I have tried to avoid watching football for the last three months so as to save all my focus and positive vibes for this one sporting event that I will actually care about: the Apple Cup. I will pause here for some thoughts that may have some real validity behind them (read: clearly not written by me).

Apple Cup is the most fun week of the year. There’s no hate between the teams like there is with Oregon; it’s just a sibling rivalry that encompasses the entire state. Fortunately for us {Husky fans}, we’re the older, stronger, wiser and smarter sibling.  No matter how much Cougar fans want this to be a close game, sadly their dreams won’t come true. Washington has every conceivable advantage on the field and off.

The Huskies’ low point of an 0-12 season gave the Cougars their greatest moment of the last 8 years. Their Apple Cup win sent Washington crashing down as the worst FBS team in the nation. WSU fans still point to ’08 as a positive for their program (they were 1-11…). Every team gets knocked down, but the true test of a program is how you recover. Only two years later, and one great coaching change, the Huskies are staring at a bowl game for the first time since 2002, while the Cougars are about to fire yet another coach and start over. I have yet to talk to a Cougar fan that thinks Paul Wulff in the answer. Conversely, Steve Sarkisian has been heralded as the next Don James (blasphemous, I know).

Off the field, Coug fans know that a win will mean that Wulff will stay another year and continue the mediocrity (if it’s even that good). On the other hand, a win for Cougs would mean that they would have the trump card in any Apple Cup argument for the next five years. The Huskies know that a loss would be catastrophic for the team and its fans. The Cougs have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The Huskies are the opposite. Therefore, the Huskies will be way more motivated on the field.

Also on the field, the Huskies have another, even bigger advantage. Even though it is in Pullman, the 30 degree weather and snow favor Washington’s rushing attack rather than WSU’s passing game. The Cougars have the worst rushing team in the Pac-10 and if the snow starts to fall it could get ugly fast. Washington State ranks last in the Pac-10 in … (inhale) scoring offense, rushing offense, scoring defense, rushing defense, total defense, pass defense efficiency, first downs AND sacks against. If each team plays their “A” game, the Huskies will win. If each team plays their “B” game, the Huskies will win. If each team plays their “C” game, the Huskies will win. I’d be hard pressed to find someone who could argue with that. Sorry Cougs, it’s going to be a long Saturday night.

Huskies 32, Cougars 17.

{The above is courtesy of Griffin W. Bennett (you know… that HUGE sports fan?). If you like the sports angle (and know that you’re not going to be getting too much more of that here at LU) you can read more by Griffin at NW Roots, Montlake Madness, and MYNorthwest.com.}

Hopefully we’re not jinxing the game here… but, as Don James said, “Attending WAZZU is great preparation for real life. It teaches you not to expect too much.” So in the end, regardless of what the scoreboard says, Huskies still win. GO DAWGS!

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