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Apple Cup 2016: It’s gameday!

Get your Black Friday started right with all there is to read on the game.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The most anticipated Apple Cup in a long, long time has finally arrived. I won’t bore you with hundreds of words rehashing all the different angles — a game this big has already generated more words than any of us could possibly read.

Instead, I’ll direct you to the one story out of the dozen or so below that you must read: A profile in the Washington Post on Gabe Marks.

Before and during the No. 23 Cougars’ run to 8-3 and a colossal tussle Friday with No. 5 Washington, Marks’s meetings with reporters have become should-watch YouTube for insight, candor and humor, often in a flat voice nearing deadpan. The sessions often stretch past 20 minutes, unusual for a college athlete. They’re opinionated without being arrogant, sharp without being mean, explanatory without being stale, novel without being brash, worthy of attention without being attention-needy.

In a nation full of canned brevities, Marks speaks in fresh block quotations.

It’s not so much that it breaks new ground, but it’s really cool to see a player who already has cemented himself as an all-time favorite of ours catch the attention of the national media.

And on a day when he’ll play his final game in Martin Stadium, it seems fitting to enjoy Marks one last time.

Apple Cup Links

Former Alabama QB Blake Barnett Will Check Out Washington State This Weekend - Football Recruiting - Scout
Former Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett will take his first official visit this weekend and will check out Washington State for the Apple Cup.

Jim Moore: Snow Bowl, 151 rum and more Apple Cup memories -
Since the Huskies have won 38 more Apple Cups than the Cougs, when I look back at the history of the rivalry it's frequently a trip down bad memory lane with many games I'm still trying to forget. But there were certainly some Washington State highlights too.

Huskies’ defense built on toughness and intimidation | The Spokesman-Review
There are few key moments in a 45-10 blowout, but the lingering image from last year’s Apple Cup is that of Washington linebacker Azeem Victor standing above an injured Gabe Marks served to encapsulate the manner in which the Washington defense beat up the Washington State offense in 2015.

Former Bethel star Thompson finally gets his chance | The News Tribune
Ex-Bethel High School standout John Thompson does not bemoan his decision to walk on at Washington State University.

UW Huskies' pass defense excited to face WSU Cougars | The Olympian
UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake doesn’t seem worried about facing WSU quarterback Luke Falk. Rather, he said that the Huskies are eager to meet the Cougars’ pass-happy offense.

Apple Cup quotes: A look back at the best takes from those involved in the UW-WSU rivalry | The Spokesman-Review
A sampling of choice quotes from players and coaches involved in past Apple Cups.

Wazzu's Ol' Crimson still flies proudly on GameDay, just not in Pullma - Pac-12 Blog- ESPN
Do you know the story behind the Cougars' famous GameDay tradition? What started as one man's show of school pride has endured for more than a decade.

The Pick: Who will win the Apple Cup? | The Spokesman-Review
Very little about the 2016 football season has played out like I, or many others, predicted. The Oregon Ducks jumped out of their nest and forgot how to fly, falling splat at bottom of the conference.

Pick Six: Feast on Michigan at Ohio State, Washington at Washington State -
No. 5 Washington (-5.5) at No. 23 Washington State: The Apple Cup tends to be an entertaining game even when there's nothing on the line, so I can only imagine what's in store for us this year. Simply put, the winner of this game wins the Pac-12 North. The stakes are even higher for Washington, as a win here and a win in the Pac-12 Championship Game could send the Huskies to the College Football Playoff.

2 minute drill: Keys to the Apple Cup | The Spokesman-Review
What to know before Washington State hosts Washington in the 109th annual Apple Cup.

Bowl watch: Big weekend for potential Holiday Bowl teams - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Apple Cups have never been bigger | The Spokesman-Review
For those of you who remember a good chunk of the 108 Apple Cups preceding this one, its high stakes are a return to normalcy rather than a novelty.

Huskies, Cougars set for one of biggest Apple Cups in history
Here it is, UW and WSU carrying identical 7-1 conference records into Friday's 12:30 p.m. showdown on the Palouse. The winner plays in next Friday's Pac-12 championship game.

Friday's NCAAF Game of the Day: Washington at Washington State
It has been a long time since the Apple Cup packed such importance and No. 5 Washington and No. 23 Washington State square off in a duel for the Pac-12 North Division crown when they meet on Friday in Pullman.

Pac-12: Huskies, Cougars clash for all the apples in North | The Salt Lake Tribune
Pullman, Wash. • They build programs in their own unique and sometimes quirky ways. That’s what Chris Petersen and Mike Leach have proven through their history at respective stops. And in their latest construction projects, ...

Ranked Washington rivals may divide families more than politics | The Spokesman-Review
Joyce Schroeder threw on her robe and hurried outside in below freezing temperatures to grab the morning newspaper. It was Nov. 20, 1976, the day the Washington State Cougars would host Schroeder’s alma mater, the Washington Huskies, in the 69th annual Apple Cup at the Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.

Blanchette: Apple Cup deserves seat at big kids’ table – at least for this season | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougs can’t bring the record back to .500 in one game, obviously, but this Apple Cup could serve as a shortcut in time.