The Apple Cup is always crazy because of the rivalry. Upsets are common place. Underdogs win, road teams win, bad weather, goofy plays. You name, it’s happened in this rivalry. All of these events are being talked about as possibly happening in the latest edition. For the first time in years the Huskies have something tangible to play for besides pride. A win and the Dawgs finish 3rd in the Pac-10 and most likely an Alamo Bowl birth. This fact alone is amazing considering the last time UW played in Pullman they lost to a previously winless Cougar squad, going 0-12, and threw the program into the darkest winter it has ever seen, being the butt of jokes and the door mat of college football. Under Coach Sark the Dawgs have improved by leaps and bounds. A win in this game will vault the program back into relevancy. It will be a needed shock to the system, giving a once very proud program reason to have some swagger. For the seniors playing in this game, it will mean the world. The Huskies have everything to play for. Everything. This is it. No tomorrow. Pride is a small part of this equation. We are talking legacy. We are talking foundation. We are talking about us telling our grandkids about this team, this team that broke through, even at a mediocre 6-6, they broke through, learned how to win, and got the program going in the right direction. Guys like Jake Locker and Mason Foster will forever be etched in Husky lore as warriors who got beat up and beat down more often than not, but went out winners, went out on their terms. The final drive at Cal last week and the gutsy performance the week prior verse UCLA have battle hardened this team. They are not afraid of a street fight. They are not afraid of the road. Not afraid of some cold temps. They are not afraid of their bitter and hated rivals. The Cougars have nothing but pride to play for. There is no legacy. There is no grandkids talk. Sure, they can razz us until next season, but for what? To go 2-10, 3-9 again? If the Coogs win or lose, it won’t matter to that program. They have upset the Dawgs before, and they will no doubt do it again. But not this day. The chemistry of this game favors the UW. Better athletes, better coaches, more to play for, and a desire for more to play for. This current roster has never played for anything but pride and a win. The past two wins have given us glimpses into what they can do when backed into a corner. The final drive at Cal really showed their grit, showed who they really can be. Now, they have it within their grasp. This is it. This is the game. 60 minutes to glory. Impose your will. Play the game of your life. Everything you have worked for since you first picked up a football has led to this moment. Be legends. This day it begins. None of this can the Cougars say to themselves. Every word of this is true for the Huskies. Throw the X’s and O’s out the window folks, this game is about who want it more, and there is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind who wants it more.
Huskies 35 – Cougars 17
I’m scared to write a prediction for this game. There’s too much on the line, and it doesn’t seem like risking a jinx just for a prediction. I’ll risk it anyway. Objectively, I really think the Huskies should roll in this game. Well, maybe not roll, but be in good control. I’ve thought this many times before when nothing of the sort has happened, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised by a close game. Ultimately, I’m hoping the Cougar optimism is overblown and the Dawgs bring them back to reality.
Huskies 31- Cougars 17
3 weeks ago I drew a parallel between last year’s UW basketball team, and this UW football team. I wondered if the football team could pull off what the basketball team did last year. After following to 7-7 in conference play, the Huskies had to win out in order to make the tournament. That team could have tanked it the rest of the year. Instead, they rallied around their senior leader, Quincy Pondexter, and won 9 straight. After 3 straight blow out losses, UW football was 3-6, and would have to win out just to make a bowl game. So far, the team has responded just like the basketball team did. Now, just one game separates the Huskies from breaking through to the bowl season, and I think they’ll get it done. I could back this claim with statistics, by comparing strengths and weaknesses, and using logic. But all that is thrown out when these two teams play. The Huskies appear to be a team of destiny, and I can’t see Jake Locker and this senior class being denied.
Now, I’m going to take this prediction one step further, and take a crack at picking the play of the game. I see a Locker to Goodwin connection for 60 yards. It may look something like this:
These predictions have been a little weird. Joe’s is a mini novel, Dan’s includes a video of him playing X Box and Matthew’s email prediction involved one of the strangest subject lines I’ve ever seen (Woof woof. Meow. Oh, I thought you were supposed to be cougar. You’re just a cute little kitty. Woof.). I’m not going to do anything too crazy, I just want the Huskies to win. We’ve waited 8 years for this. It’s been completely frustrating. Sitting through Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham was painful. Our fans deserve this. Our players have been beat up more than they’ve beaten anyone. They deserve this. This program could be in a much brighter place at about 7:30 Saturday night. Yes, the Cougars are improving but they still aren’t good. This is it Husky fans, the game we’ve been waiting for. I think the Dawg’s win and we’ll celebrate through the night.
Huskies 31 – WSU 21