I'm writing this roughly eight hours after the end of the Apple Cup. I've written about nine different intros to this post, only to get stuck and start from scratch. I'm not quite sure how to accurately describe this feeling. On one side it's disappointment. Disappointment in losing to the Huskies. Disappointment in missing an opportunity. Disappointment in finishing 6-6, a record I would have been overjoyed with three months ago.
As much as losing the Apple Cup sucks, and as frustrated as I am about a few aspects of the game, it's impossible for me to not be a little encouraged. Not "hey we only lost by 10 instead of 50" encouraged like previous seasons. I'm not trying to dig up a moral victory or give out trophies for playing hard.
Washington has an very talented roster. Based on pure talent alone, the Huskies might be in the top four of the Pac-12. WSU isn't up to that standard, but you would have been hard pressed to know on Friday. This wasn't like last season where WSU rode a miracle comeback and caught handful extremely fortunate breaks to upset the Huskies. The Cougars played toe-to-toe with Washington and could have easily come away with a win if one or two things break a different way.
They didn't, WSU lost and the Huskies won. No amount of being encouraged is going to change that. Still, Friday was confirmation -- at least to me -- that the last month wasn't a fluke. The Arizona win wasn't like the Oregon State win in 2010. The Utah win wasn't like the ASU win in 2011.
A loss is still a loss, but on Friday it only felt like a loss and not a step back in the rebuilding process like seemingly every other loss in the last five years has. So, I guess I'm disapouraged.
Mike Leach postgame quotes - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Nov. 29, 2013
Washington State football coach Mike Leach spoke to reporters after the Apple Cup. Select quotes after the jump.
Washington State Falls in Apple Cup, 27-17 - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Bishop Sankey blitzed Washington State for 139 of his 200 yards rushing in the second half to become Washington's all-time single-season rushing leader, and the Huskies reclaimed the Apple Cup with a 27-17 win over the Cougars on Friday afternoon.
Ending with a twist - Spokesman.com - Nov. 30, 2013
The Washington State football team read off a familiar script in Friday afternoon’s Apple Cup. The setting was different, but the cast and characters were largely the same as last year’s comeback victory against Washington for the Cougars.
WSU coach Mike Leach says he has no Apple Cup regrets | Bud Withers | The Seattle Times
When you strip away all the fervor and froufrou from Friday’s annual Apple Cup, there wasn’t a lot to be gained by either side. No, really.
Huskies turn up the heat on WSU quarterback Connor Halliday | Husky Football | The Seattle Times
A week ago, Washington State didn’t allow a sack in its victory over Utah, which came into that game leading the nation in quarterback takedowns.
Washington State - Apple Cup Postgame Quotes - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
QB Connor Halliday What are you feeling after this loss? Definitely frustrating. I’m real close with the seniors on this team, so it sucks to go out this way. Just a tough loss all the way around.
Cougars eager to keep making big strides | Washington State University | The Olympian
The Washington State Cougars are bowl eligible, but they must wait to find out if they are bowl bound. "I don’t speculate on that kind of stuff," coach Mike Leach said. "There is no question we should go to a bowl game."