When the Washington State Cougars enter Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium for the Apple Cup today, they'll be doing so having won six of their last seven games with a shiny little No. 20 next to their name on national television (FOX).
The five-win Washington Huskies, confident as ever after an average win over Oregon State last weekend, are desperate for a win, hoping to reach their first bowl game under Mountain West legend Chris Petersen, who received a two-year extension yesterday for being one of the best bad teams in college football.
Once again, the Cougars are not favored in this game as the Huskies are laying nearly a touchdown, according to the Vegas humans that determine these kinds of things. That's a fun thing, though, because the Cougars are 9-2 against the spread this season and 5-0 on the road. The Huskies, on the other hand, are 6-5 against the spread overall and 3-3 at home.
There has yet to be a firm update on star quarterback Luke Falk's status for the Cougars today, though Peyton Bender is capable of moving this offense, as Brian Floyd explains here. Falk is a good football player, as is Bender. The offense will be fine. Especially since there's a couple receivers — Gabe Marks and Dom Williams — who catch footballs better than nearly every other football catcher in the conference. Gabe is angry, too.
Rather inexplicably, Petersen decided he would not provide an update on injured linebacker Travis Feeney, who injured his shoulder against the Beavers last weekend. Why a coach wouldn't discuss injuries is beyond me, but here we are. Feeney is a good football tackler and defender, and would be missed on a Huskies defense that may pose the stiffest test the Cougars will have faced since taking Stanford to the wire on Halloween. Or it won't, because Air Raid.
I think the Cougars, regardless of who throws the football, match up well with the Huskies, especially with a confident defense facing a bad but confident offense led by a freshman that enjoys throwing the football to the other team in important situations. I think that sets up well. The Huskies have a good secondary, but so did UCLA and Colorado, both of whom allowed touchdown passes from Falk and Bender.
For an actual preview of today's Apple Cup, look no further than Brian Anderson's Pre-Snap Read, which provides fun statistics and words that make more sense than the ones you're reading now. Go Cougs!
Game time: 12:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: FOX
Stream: FOX Sports Go (log-in required)
Radio: Embedded below