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More Than Bragging Rights At Stake For WSU In This Year's Apple Cup

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) runs off Washington State defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale (90) in the first half of last year’s Apple Cup game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Pullman, Wash. ";

The annual college football rivalry game between the University of Washington and Washington State happens Saturday evening in Seattle. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.

KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel says the tables are turned for this year’s Apple Cup.

Same Records: A Rarity

Thiel noted that both teams have the same record coming into the game. They're 9-2 overall and 6-2 in Pac-12 Conference play.

"That's the fewest losses by these two teams in 20 years," he said. "Really, only four times in the history of the game have both teams come in with four or fewer losses."

"There's a lot of regional interest, certainly. That's always there. But there's a little bit of a national stake to it because they're both Top 15 teams. And that rarely has happened in the history of the Associated Press poll."

"So, this has got a lot of juice to it."

Pac-12 Title Game On The Line For WSU

"Washington State has the additional opportunity to go to the Pac-12 Championship if they beat the Huskies," Thiel continued.

"They're tied right now with Stanford. If Washington State loses, Stanford would advance to the Pac-12 title game against USC."

"Washington is not going to have any role in this because they lost to Stanford. That means that the stakes are much more important for WSU than Washington."

WSU For The Win

Thiel said the Cougars have not won an Apple Cup in Seattle since 2007.

Despite the Huskies winning seven out of the last eight games and the last four in a row, he thinks this is the Cougars' year. He predicts a 35-33 WSU win.

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Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.