If you live practically anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, you've probably noticed something about this week. It's been raining. A lot. In an amount I can't even really remember seeing in a long time. I think I saw Noah and an arc traveling down I-5 near Harrison in Centralia on my way to work the other day. And on my way to Seattle last night I drove through what can only be described as a deluge followed by a he Niagara Falls dumping over the freeway roughly every half a second.
The weather has been beyond measurable comprehension in terms of miserableness (it's not a word but it is now) but it can't be anything compared to what Connor Halliday went through for Washington State. The guy likely played with a bleeding liver for much of the game against Utah. Let me type that again so you can fully comprehend that. His liver was bleeding. Blood coming out of an internal organ. He spent time in the hospital because of it.
I know the big game is later this week but let me focus on Mr. Halliday for a moment more. He had the best game in freshman history at Washington State and darn near had the best game any quarterback has had in school history. He gutted out an incredibly tough game against Arizona State and almost won another game against Utah. Halliday should be commended, as I'm sure I don't have to tell you. Fingers crossed he's completely healthy again very, very soon.
And now, onto some football game that's being played during some point on Saturday. I'm not exactly sure what it's called. The Orange Cup? The Watermelon Bowl? Oh, wait Apple Cup! This is the one week a year you and you Husky friends don't talk whatsoever and the venom is spewed like a spitting cobra.
Here's the only issue though: is it just me or does it not seem nearly as angry this week? And I think I know the reason why. Nothing is really at stake. The only thing at stake is for Washington State and even then it's mostly to do with the status of a coach at the end of the season. But Washington is already bowl eligible and nothing is going to change that. And Washington State won't become eligible even with a win so that bit of suspense is completely over.
Really, it's one of only a few Apple Cups I can remember that didn't have meaning for either team. Hell, even the 2008 Apple Cup meant something because Washington could keep a winless season at bay and Washington State could almost assuredly send them to one. Last year Washington was playing to get into a bowl game and Washington State was playing to keep them out of one.
But honestly, think to yourself. Does this game really mean anything other than the obvious bragging rights it carries? I mean, that's satisfying enough to lord over someone but it's just so much better if you can say, "Not only did we win, how's that bowl treating you? OH THAT'S RIGHT YOU DIDN'T GO TO ONE!" isn't that really what a rivalry game is all about?
Maybe some of the specialty is taken away because the game is being played at CenturyLink Field. Next year it might be worse considering the game is scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving in Pullman. I'm relatively sure the crowd for that game will be roughly 5,000 people and most of then will be students coming down from Spokane. I really hope the conference thinks better of the game being on that day because literally any other rivalry game to be schedule that weekend would still allow for optimum travel by both fanbases. I don't think I could think of a worse day for the Apple Cup to be scheduled than the day after Thanksgiving. That's another issue entirely though.
Anyhow, back to this year's game. Marshall Lobbestael has been in and out of the starting role for the Cougars this season and for his final game of his senior season, he will start again. I know Lobbestael isn't the most talented quarterback out there but there is one thing Lobbestael has a lot more of than just about anyone else on the planet there may not be anyone else on the planet that wants to beat Washington more if there's one thing we can't doubt about the Cougars it's that they're still playing for Paul Wulff. Regardless of what the outside world thinks of the guy, they still obviously think a lot of him.
And if you want an Apple Cup win, that's exactly what you need from a team full of players who don't have a bowl game to play for any more. You need them to still believe in their coach and even if we don't, they do. And that's the one thing that will keep them in the game more than anything else.
Last Week: 4-2
Who told Arizona it was alright to play crappy non-conference teams? Although ULL has an awesome nickname: the Rajin' Cajuns!
Arizona 41, Louisiana Lafayette 10
Still waiting for this to actually be a rivalry.
Utah 31, Colorado 17
This is actually a rivalry although the Ducks should still win.
Oregon 45, Oregon State 21
How did this end up at the end of the season? This doesn't matter at all.
Arizona State 28, California 10
Neuheisel is terrible and I'm sincerely hoping he gets fired right after this game.
USC 34, UCLA 13
THIS is the rivalry the networks want at the end of the year? Really? I hate the Irish even more now.
Stanford 42, Notre Dame 7
I hate picking this game because the Huskies are a lot better. And the question is whether I want to be right or try and not jinx this for Washington State o I'm absolutely going to weasel out.
Washington State 17, Washington 17
Obscure Pick of the Week: Oh hey look at that, playoffs. The way all football should be! The winner sounds like a dirty word.
Kutztown 24, New Haven 7
Dunderhead of the Week: Whoever at any point said that they enjoy the rain. Because near as I can tell, it's awful.
And, of course, John Buccigross.
Have a very safe, fun and happy Thanksgiving with you and yours.
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The 2011-12 athletic season is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Football, soccer and volleyball, just to name a few, are playing their 2011 seasons. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.