The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

COMMENTARY: Mixed bag on continuation of Apple Cup

Fans, students reaction to new schedule
WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura (4) attempts to run around UW defensive back Asa Turner (20) during the Apple Cup at Husky Stadium, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Seattle.

Ever since UW announced its departure from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, Saturday’s Apple Cup appeared to be the final bout between the two storied rivals outside of a potential future bowl game. While it is the last traditional one as a Conference rival, as of now, it is no longer the last guaranteed bout. 

Back on Nov. 19, WSU and UW jointly announced a five-year plan for the two programs to continue the rivalry. Next season, in 2024, the two teams will play again in Seattle but in Lumen Field. Then, in 2025 and 2027, the two teams will play in Pullman and in 2026 and 2028, they will play against each other in Husky Stadium.

With the announcement, the reaction has been split rather evenly. Some fans are excited that a 123-year-old rivalry that they grew up watching every year gets to continue, while others want nothing more to do with the program, so ready to leave the Cougs behind in Conference realignment. 

“Growing up, I always saw the Apple Cup as the biggest football game in the state of Washinton every year,” said Cole Quinn, WSU senior broadcast production student. “At the same time, UW has a toxic history of trying to undermine WSU. UW treats WSU like a nobody when it rivals them in a lot of aspects.” 

Quinn is right. It is a massive rivalry game. For Pullman, home football game are massive aspects of the community and the Apple Cup is even more important. With the two teams going their separate ways in terms of where they will play most of their football in the future, neither team had an obligation to play against one another. Guaranteeing at least two more Apple Cups in Pullman is an absolute win for the financial stability of the city. 

“Way too many Coug fans responding with their emotion. Playing the Apple Cup is a solution given our current financial state and the even more dire future state without Power 5 media rights. The game must be played, and UW has all the leverage,” @LucasCoug posted on X. 

Far more alumni feel negatively toward the continuation of the rivalry, but for current students and purists of good college football, it is seen more as something beneficial. 

“I like rivalry games. Playing more of them is none issue to me, regardless of the other context,” said Hayden Stinchfield, Daily Evergreen sports co-editor. “It’ll be a harder game to win moving forward, but we’ve been losing the Apple Cup for 70% of the time for decades now. That’s just how it is, doesn’t mean you give up.”

Apple Cup victories are hard to come by for the Cougs. After all, they have a history of having limited resources in comparison to their west-side counterparts.

Since 2013, WSU has been on the winning end of just one of the games. That was in 2021, an upset in Seattle headed by the Cougs current head coach, Jake Dickert. Perhaps the feeling of winning the rivalry put a sweet taste in his mouth, as he is a big proponent of the rivalry going beyond 2023. 

“We’ve been playing for over 100 years, and that needs to continue,”  Dickert said.

While the negatives can feel like they outweigh the positives when it comes to agreeing to drop a seemingly guaranteed battle in Pullman in 2024, with it being replaced with the Lumen game, there is still a lot of positive left of this development.

No matter who the Cougs schedule is, no other team will garner more traffic through Pullman on a college football Saturday. The money that the community will benefit from cannot be understated. 

Beyond that, a win over the Huskies feels far better than a win over a team like Northern Colorado. It may be because they have historically beaten up the Cougs, or it is because they are just in-state rivals, but it is far sweeter to beat UW.

It just means more. Dickert said as such. 

“To say it’s just another game is not fair. It’s not,” he said.

For future and current Cougs, it is good to see the Apple Cup back, but not everyone will think that way. 

“Nothing says unserious program like agreeing to three away/two at home with your rival. And don’t give me this Lumen Field bullshit. It’s an away game,” @PodvsEveryone posted on X. “It’s cool, I’ll just keep not going like I always do. The suckers out there who want to support this, please be my guest.” 

Most of the negative feelings of the news are on the basis that, inherently, WSU is rivals with UW, and in a way, this can feel like it benefits them. Due to them being a better team, the Apple Cup will be an “easy” win on their schedule for the next half-decade.

As they build tougher and tougher schedules, a free win at the hands of WSU will give them a better chance of making bowl games, all while hindering the Cougs’ chances.

“Objectively? I get why WSU does this. I’m sure the financial benefit is just too much to turn down. The revenue for the game in Pullman and the profit for local businesses is huge,’’ CougFan reporter Jamey Vinnick posted on X. “Subjectively? I probably would have avoided any more dealings with Washington.” 

Luckily, or unluckily for some, the feelings and reactions of fans cannot sway the decision anymore. The Apple Cup will continue, at least for five more years.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.