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The good, bad and ugly of another Apple Cup Beatdown

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Different year, same result

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Charles Schulz was born on this date in 1922. What does that have to do with Cougar Football? We’ll get to that. As you’re well aware, Washington beat the brakes off WSU again in the Apple Cup. It was only a couple late scores that made the result, at least on paper, look a little less Wulffian, but we all know that the 2017 Apple Cup was at least as embarrassing as vintages such as 2009. Matter of fact, it was far more embarrassing than that one.

One thing I don’t buy is this idea that Leach’s teams consistently faceplant in this game because he approaches it like any other game, and doesn’t appear to try and give the players extra motivation. Whether WSU’s coaches try and put any extra “want to” into the players’ heads is largely irrelevant.

So what is it, then? Why do seemingly good WSU teams soil themselves at the sight of the gold helmets? It’s incredibly simple. Washington’s coaches are far superior to WSU’s. Washington’s players are superior to WSU’s. Washington’s superior coaches do a far better job of preparing their superior players and, year after year, the result is the same.

Take a second and think about all of the injuries Washington had, before and during the game. Chico McClatcher, Trey Adams, whoever that really good tight end is, Dante Pettis, Lavon Coleman, one or two defensive backs who are probably better than anyone WSU has even when injured, like Taylor Rapp who was playing with one arm. The talent gap is so stark that, even with all those guys out or hindered, Washington completely steamrolled WSU.

So, what’s the deal with Charles Schulz? Oh yeah. This one is for all of you who actually thought WSU had a chance in this game. Maybe someday you’ll come around.

The Good

  • On a personal note, I’m so glad I live on the other side of the country. I don’t know any Washington fans, so I don’t have to take any crap about how they murder WSU every year, and nobody outside my house gives a damn about WSU or this game. Also it’s going to be sunny and 77 today.
  • The punting was...pretty good? It plays to form that the part of the team that’s been awful all season picked this game to actually show up.

The Bad

  • When the start time for this game was published, I told the other authors that I didn’t like it because I preferred to get my Apple Cup beating over with early. So of course we had to wait all day to watch WSU wet the bed again.
  • Really sucked to watch Hercules Mata’afa go out like that. Hopefully he rebounds in the second half of the bowl game.
  • Is Jamal Morrow the best option at punt returner? Really?

The Ugly

  • Funny what happens when #SpeedD faces a good offensive line with a cogent game plan.
  • Three picks and three fumbles for WSU, none of either for UW. Super
  • Injuries - Hopefully Boobie Williams and Jahad Woods come back healthy for the bowl game.
  • This matchup in general - I’d be totally fine with only playing 11 games per year.
  • Luke Falk - I wrote after the Arizona game that Leach should play Tyler Hilinski going forward. I have a high degree of confidence that WSU would have beaten both Stanford and Utah with Hilinski behind center, and the scores may have even been further apart. People want to point to Falk’s game-winning drive in the Stanford game while conveniently omitting the part where Falk also threw the lead away earlier. So here we are again. I know Mike Leach won’t do it, but Tyler Hilinski should start the bowl game and play the entire thing. Somewhere along the way, Luke Falk lost whatever made him so good earlier in his tenure. It’s plain for everyone to see that he isn’t getting it back, and it’s time for Leach to end the charade. He won’t, of course, and then after WSU pulls another no-show in the bowl game, he’ll drop his same old BS about trying too hard, or not trying hard enough, or over-thinking, or not being tough enough, or whatever other tired excuses he trots out after another coach runs circles around him.

In the final analysis, the great part about knowing WSU is going to get destroyed in this game is the ability to flush it pretty quickly. WSU has a chance to win 10 games for one of the few times in history. As someone who has watched this team for nearly four decades, my bar is pretty low. Make me happy more than you make me sad. This year’s WSU team has done that, but damned if they don’t try to make the few lows far more memorable than the many highs.

They have a chance to take the sting off this annual humiliation by getting that 10th win, and seeing off a group of seniors who are at the core of the program’s renewed relevancy. Here’s hoping they take advantage, as long as it isn’t in El Paso.

Football

Washington State sees Pac-12 title hopes disappear in Apple Cup loss to Washington | The Spokesman-Review
When it rains on these Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup, it’s not usually just a light drizzle.

John Blanchette: Washington again proves it wants Apple Cup more than Cougars | The Spokesman-Review
While we were all still chuckling at Mike Leach’s oh-so-original and comical thoughts on weddings and his incisive theories into the College Football Playoff over the past couple of weeks, his Washington State football team was losing another Apple Cup, 141-14.

Pac-12 football: USC vs. Stanford for the title, bowl projections, Todd Graham's future
Washington State is Foster Farms or Sun.

Basketball

The Cougar Men’s Basketball team is improbably playing for the title in the John Wooden Legacy tournament Sunday night. I’ll be honest, I had no idea Steve Fisher wasn’t coaching the Aztecs anymore. Go Cougs.

SDSU meets Washington State in Wooden final - The San Diego Union-Tribune
After technically playing two games in the same day, finishing one just after midnight and tipping off the next a mere 16 hours later, San Diego State gets a full 48 before Sunday’s 9 p.m. final in the Wooden Legacy against Washington State.