In the evening of Black Friday, the Washington State Cougars will seek to end a five-game losing streak in this annual culture clash, while the Washington Huskies look to continue dominating their intra-state rival.
The stakes will be high in this year’s feline vs. canine mascot match-up in the state of Washington. The PAC-12 North division title will be on the line, and an entry into the Conference Championship Game, as well. Both teams are coming off victories by large margins, with Washington State riding a seven-game winning streak. The Washington Huskies record stands at 8-3; 6-2 in conference play. While the Washington State Cougars are 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the PAC-12.
This season’s Apple Cup contest will be the tenth straight played on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Before the NCAA extended the FBS schedule to 12 games in 2006, the yearly Washington State-Washington gridiron battle usually, but not always, took place on the weekend before the national holiday.
This rivalry, that includes 110 contests, has the Huskies with an overwhelming 72-32 advantage and six games ending in a tie. In fact, the first meeting, played in Seattle, between the two Washington state schools in 1900 did end tied at 5.
The Cougars were the first to claim a victory the very next year in 1901 by a score of 10-0; when the school was known as Washington Agricultural College. In 1902, the Huskies won 16-1. I still haven’t found out how that one point was assessed. I’m guessing scoring rules were different very early in the 20th century.
The series began fairly evenly with another tie in 1908 to go with three straight Huskies wins bordered by two Cougar wins. Subsequently, UW began to exert their superiority. Twice, between 1959-’66 and 1974-’81, Washington ran off eight-game win streaks. Whereas, Washington State could only sustain winning two games in-a-row eight different times.
The Huskies have won the past five Apple Cup meetings. That includes four straight under present head coach Chris Petersen. Those four victories have been against the Mike Leach coached teams at WSU by scores of 31-13 (2014), 45-10 (2015), 45-17 (2016) and 41-14 in 2017. Clearly, the recent superiority of Washington over Washington State is evident, despite the overall improvement in Wazzu’s football program under coach Leach since he took the helm in 2012.
Leach’s team actually won the Apple Cup in his first season of 2012. However, that was against counterpart Steve Sarkisian in his next to last season as head football coach at UW. Consequently, it was Sarkisian’s only loss in the Apple Cup during his five years in Seattle.
The question will be whether or not the Cougars can prove they are equal to UW in this annual historic rivalry game and come out with a win. Or do the Huskies continue their long-held and current dominance? This year’s Apple Cup could be pivotal in determining the progress of the Washington State University football program.
Check back with us throughout the weekend for more Apple Cup Coverage.