The Seattle Times is asking readers tonight the question stated in the headline above — has the Apple Cup lost some of its luster?
I don’t want to influence anyone’s vote (not that this poll matters in any way, I realize, but just the principle of it all, etc.).
But it’s worth nothing that this year’s Apple Cup obviously has a different feel, being played the Friday after Thanksgiving in Pullman. Absolutely that figures to impact attendance and atmosphere, and also may be altering some of the pre-game office ribbing of UW and WSU fans and all of that..
What’s the bigger deal, though, is that the game doesn’t mean what it did for a while. Obviously, UW appears to be returning to consistent winning, and maybe on the verge of a breakout to steady Top 20 status in the next year or two.
Still, even for UW the stakes in this game are more intangible than anything else — no Rose Bowl or conference/division title on the line, for instance.
That’s not how it used to be.
From 1977 to 2002, one or both teams had the Rose Bowl directly on the line in the Apple Cup seven times, including in 1981 when it became a winner-take-all game during the second half. Three other times during that span, UW had already clinched the Rose Bowl. And one other time, 1984, UW wasn’t playing for the Rose Bowl but was playing for a 10-win season and the Orange Bowl.
Since 2004, though, only three times has the game even featured one team with a winning record (WSU at 6-5 in 2006 and then UW in 2011 and this year).
So if the game has lost some luster, maybe some of that is why.
Or maybe you think it hasn’t.
Either way, go ahead and vote, and then comment: