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The last time an Apple Cup game meant everything

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The 2016 Apple Cup is huge, maybe even the biggest in three decades.

1981 Apple Cup WSU Athletic Communications

Every once in a while, the Apple Cup figuratively means everything to Washington and Washington State. In 2008, for example, the game was the bowl game for both teams. They put all of their hopes into the game, because neither team was good enough to have a future beyond the Apple Cup.

Sometimes, the opposite is the case.

Very rarely do both teams enter the game with the chance to make history and crush the dreams of their rival. This Friday we get to see one of those games - and it hasn’t happened in 35 years.

In 1981, the Cougars entered the rivalry matchup at 8-1-1, one win away from their first Rose Bowl in 50 years. The Huskies, who were fresh off of their first Rose Bowl in 3 years, came in 8-2 and needed some help, even with a win, to get to back to the Grand Daddy of the All... And they got it. USC blocked a 46 yard field goal at the final horn to secure a 22-21 win and officially eliminate their rival from title contention.

Now a Washington team had a chance to do exactly the same thing.

The Cougs got off to a good start. They had a 7-3 lead late in the first half, when disaster struck. Washington State’s star quarterback Clete Casper went down with a hamstring injury and wouldn’t return. Washington took advantage and didn’t look back, rolling to a 23-10 victory.

You can watch highlights from the 1981 game below... But I’d rather watch this video from 1981 featuring WSU, or as I like to call it, Ol’ Wazzu. Your choice...

The Cougs went on to get a little payback in the 1982 game, when 2-7-1 Washington State upset the 5th ranked Huskies to keep them out of their 3rd straight Rose Bowl.

WSU lost that Apple Cup with everything on the line. This year, with a chance at the Rose Bowl in the balance for the Cougs and a possible playoff berth on the line for Washington, the stakes might be even bigger, and the Cougs are hoping for a different result.

Football

Some Seahawks, some Husky, lots of Missouri — here’s what WSU DC Alex Grinch’s ‘Speed D’ was built on | The Seattle Times

Washington State’s defeat to Colorado last weekend left defensive coordinator Alex Grinch deeply disappointed – in himself, and in his players.

Pac-12 football: Huskies, WSU Cougars have risen together | The Salt Lake Tribune

The contestants in Friday's Apple Cup football rivalry game have come a long way since 2008, when Washington and Washington State were a combined 1-20 entering the annual contest.

UW Huskies rise to No. 5 in new playoff rankings; WSU Cougars at No. 23 heading into Apple Cup | The Seattle Times

The Huskies are again in position to claim their first national playoff berth. There is, of course, still some work to be done before they can get there.

Huard: Jake Browning's confidence seems to have wavered entering UW's Apple Cup matchup vs WSU

Jake Browning has unquestionably had a standout sophomore season as the No. 6 Washington Huskies’ quarterback. But entering perhaps the program’s biggest game since the turn of the century, he’s mired in a bit of a slump.

Huard: Jake Browning's confidence seems to have wavered entering UW's Apple Cup matchup vs WSU

Jake Browning has unquestionably had a standout sophomore season as the No. 6 Washington Huskies’ quarterback. But entering perhaps the program’s biggest game since the turn of the century, he’s mired in a bit of a slump.

Apple Cup rally a first involving both UW, WSU | The Spokesman-Review

Before alumni swarmed River Park Square’s Kress Gallery for an Apple Cup rally Tuesday, supposed rivals Kirk Schmick and Brian Fleisher became acquaintances during the unlikeliest of events: arm wrestling.

Most Washingtonians have an Apple Cup story or two | The Spokesman-Review

There is a chance of snow for Friday’s Apple Cup, but almost no chance of powder like we saw back in 1992. The “Snow Bowl” took place in a blizzard, much to the delight of a few Gonzaga Prep sophomores.

Beer

Beer of the week: Apple Cup inspires two new brews in Bothell - HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news

It’s Apple Cup week, so it makes sense to pick out two beers to highlight that represent the two schools.