It’s close, but the Cougs have it.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll was all about the Apple Cup. The Washington State University Cougars and University of Washington Huskies play one another for the 111th time Friday when they meet at Martin Stadium in Pullman to determine not just state football supremacy, but also the champion of the Pac-12 North.
Therefore, we asked readers to weigh in on which team they thought was going to claim the Apple Cup and a place in the Pac-12 championship game. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Which team prevails in Friday’s Apple Cup, which is for the Pac-12 North title? Full context, including a look at the teams and series history, here: https://t.co/ioE13hbjoF
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) November 19, 2018
Add the two together and 56 percent of the voters picked the Cougars to win Friday’s Apple Cup, while 44 percent stumped for the Huskies. It’s not an overwhelming majority, but WSU definitively came out ahead.
That makes a certain amount of sense. Washington State is 10-1 while Washington is 8-3. The Cougars are ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Poll while the Huskies are ranked No. 16. WSU has won seven straight, while UW lost two of its past five. And the game is on home turf for Washington State. As of Thursday afternoon the Cougars remained a 2.5-point favorite in the betting line. So the poll voting seems to align closely with the way the game is perceived nationally.
But Washington State is going to have to overcome history to win this one. Washington holds a 72-32-6 lead in the all-time series, and the Huskies have won the past five Apple Cups, including a dominating 45-17 victory two years ago in Pullman in which the scenario was almost exactly the same, as the winner won the North title and advanced to the Pac-12 championship game.
So the game, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, appears to be up for grabs.
This is also one of the most significant Apple Cups in series history. Only three times previously have both the Cougars and the Huskies gone into the Apple Cup with a chance at a championship. In 1936, before the game was even referred to as the Apple Cup, the winner earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. Washington prevailed 40-0 in Seattle. In 1981, again in Seattle, Washington State earned a Rose Bowl berth with a win, while Washington needed a win and help to get to Pasadena. The Huskies won 23-10 and got the help they needed to get to the Rose Bowl. Then there was the Huskies’ victory in 2016 with the victor claiming the North title.
So the Huskies have won every time an Apple Cup has taken on this magnitude, meaning the Cougars can exorcise a lot of demons with a victory Friday.