My first Apple Cup was when I was 10 years old. Naturally it was in Seattle, and my only real memory was a series of jokes on the jumbotron.
Here are the only two jokes I remember.
What did most Huskies get on their SATs? Drool.
How many WSU freshman does it take to change a light bulb? None, it's not a freshman class in Pullman.
It's a friendly rivalry, as far as I see it. It's not like Oregon-Washington, where hate runs deep and friendliness runs rare. It's not unlike playing against your brother in the backyard and getting mad during the game but laughing about how mad you were after.
I love the Apple Cup. There are so many great games it's hard to pick my favorite. Actually, I lied about that. Easily my favorite is the 2002 game when a .500 Washington team but the No. 2 Washington State team 29-26 in triple overtime. Kai Ellis is still one of my favorite players because of that one play.
There's that cliché of "Throw out the records when these two teams play, it's a rivalry game!" I hate that because you could say the same about Oregon-Washington but 11 straight means more than that. The Apple Cup is so fun because it is the in-state rivalry. I have a co-worker who went to Washington State. I've had friends, relatives, teammates, teachers, coaches who went to Washington State. I even had a friend who was an Oregon fan growing up and went to Washington State. I can't win with him.
I can't say it enough: I love the Apple Cup.
Now, let's get to football.
Washington is playing its best football of the season. You can finally start to see everything coming together. Cyler Miles is playing well; the running game looks really good; the defense continues to play well and, dare I say, get better. It's good to see. That Arizona game lit a fire in this program, I think. They saw how good they could be and haven't relented since. I know, I know that was only two weeks ago, but it's gotta start sometime, and it happened then.
I'm looking at this Apple Cup with reserved optimism. If it snows, I'm worried. See: the Apple Cup of 1992. But I think Washington is still a better team with better players.
I've always liked Mike Leach, though. I like his I-don't-give-a-blank-what-you-think attitude. I like that he writes books about pirates and historical figures. I like that he's a bit off kilter. My kinda guy.
Long story short, I'm looking forward to the Apple Cup. In-state games are always fun for both sides. I just hope it isn't a boring game.