Which was worse?
Both the University of Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars suffered horrific losses last weekend. Both went into their games undefeated and heavily favored, and both were saddled with ugly losses, with the fifth-ranked Huskies losing 13-7 at Arizona State and the eighth-ranked Cougars losing 37-3 at California.
So what was starting to shape up as perhaps the most significant Apple Cup of all time took a serious blow.
But which blow was more damaging? Washington’s loss was a narrow one, but the Huskies perhaps had more at stake because they were well-positioned to earn one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff had they won out. Washington State was probably going to need help to get into the CFP, but the score of the Cougars’ game was more humiliating.
Therefore, I asked the voters in this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll to assess those games, asking which loss was more disappointing. Here’s the results:
POLL: Which Washington college football team suffered the more-disappointing loss this weekend? Full context here: https://t.co/dXvWJXAXqN
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) October 16, 2017
Add the two together and Washington received 65 percent of the vote while Washington State received 35 percent. It could be that the Herald being on the west side of the Cascades is the primary driver of the Huskies’ loss receiving nearly double the votes of the Cougars’. But it also could be because of Washington’s higher expectations, being ranked higher and having reached the final four last year.
What the losses by Washington an Washington State (both 3-1 in the Pac-12 and 6-1 overall) mean is that the Huskies (now ranked No. 12) and Cougars (No. 15) need to be more concerned with just winning the Pac-12 North rather than focusing on higher aspirations. Both teams find themselves a half-game behind No. 22 Stanford (4-1, 5-2) in the Pac-12 North standings, as the Cardinal has sneaked back to the top after dropping off the radar following a 1-2 start. The three teams play a round-robin in November, with Washington State hosting Stanford on Nov. 4, Washington traveling to Stanford on Nov. 10, and the Apple Cup taking place at Washington on Nov. 10.
Washington’s other Pac-12 games are home games against UCLA (1-2, 3-3), Oregon (1-3, 4-3) and Utah (1-2, 4-2); Washington State’s other conference games are home against Colorado (1-3, 4-3) and road games against Arizona (2-1, 4-2) and Utah (1-2, 4-2); Stanford’s other Pac-12 games are at Oregon State (0-4, 1-6) and at home against Cal (1-3, 4-3). It sure seems to me that Stanford has the easiest remaining conference schedule among the North Division contenders.
Which just further highlights how damaging last weekend’s losses were for UW and WSU.