Rivalry games are great. Rivalry games with big-picture implications are even better. The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State fills that description perfectly. With a win, Washington State will represent the Pac-12’s North division in its conference championship game. If Washington wins, Stanford will take the division.
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Short of the Apple Cup winner clinching the North, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 25 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Husky Stadium — Seattle, Washington
TV: Fox | Live stream: fubo.TV (try for free) and Fox Sports Go
Washington State: Mike Leach has done an excellent job elevating the Cougars program over the years, but a division title is still missing from the resume. Washington State has had an extra week to prepare for this game and get healthy, too. Of all things, the defense could be the difference here. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is a Broyles Award semifinalist for top assistant coach and he’s led a top-15 group this season. That’s really why Washington State is where it is.
Washington: Nothing about 9-2 with the potential for 10 wins should be disappointing … and yet the Huskies have kind of been disappointing. Not all of it was preventable. This is a banged up team, especially in the defensive secondary, and linebacker Azeem Victor basically fell off the map. Washington also played poorly against Arizona State and Stanford, and it ended up being costly. A win over Wazzu to cap off a 10-win season would be a nice consolation prize for a team that had preseason aspirations of returning to the playoff.
If Washington State can hold up against Washington’s tough pass rush, it should have success passing the ball against the Huskies’ depleted secondary. The problem is, the Cougars are last in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed. Otherwise, Washington State’s defense is good enough to win this game. Pick: Washington State +9.5