Love to hate: The underrated, overheated Apple Cup rivalry
William Mancebo / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The state of Washington is known for producing apples, yet Washington and Washington State have about as much in common as a Granny Smith and a McIntosh.

The Huskies and Cougars have been battling for over 100 years. Before it was coined the "Apple Cup," the Huskies and Cougars clashed for the Governor's Trophy.

To honor the governor's role in the history of their great rivalry, the state's reigning governor presents the Apple Cup trophy to the winning team at the end of the grudge game each year.

Distance between schools: 287 miles
National championships: Washington - 2; Washington State - 0
Series record: Washington leads 72-32-6

Why they hate each other

Besides residing in the same state, Washington and Washington State have nothing in common: Washington has one of the most picturesque campuses in the country; Washington State is surrounded by farms. Washington sits in the metropolis and well-known city of Seattle; Washington State rests in a relatively obscure rural town called Pullman. Washington is on the west coast; Washington State is so far east it's nearly in Idaho.

The cultural differences between the two locales add more heat to the game each season. The Huskies are equivalent to the popular kids in school, and they're always sure to look and act like it; the Cougars are more blue-collared, and are constantly fighting for recognition and respect.

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Washington and Washington State simply aren't meant to coexist - just look at their team mascots: one's a dog, the other's a cat.

If you ask the Cougars, they'll tell you Washington always looks down on them. If you ask the Huskies, they'll tell you Washington State is absolutely correct, and there's not a thing the Cougars can do about it.

Historically, Washington has dominated the football rivalry, but Washington State has enjoyed its share of glory.


"I guess that's what happens when you live in a town like Pullman." - Washington quarterback Sonny Sixkiller, who was offended by Washington State linebacker Gary Larsen's "barnyard" sack celebration

"I've always felt that being a Cougar prepares you well for life. You learn not to expect too much." - Washington coach Don James

"I wouldn't have taken a recruiting trip there even if they strangled me. I'd die first. It's a place where you can go and have a good time, as far as there being a lot of drunk people." - Washington wide receiver Andre Desaussure

"That's what Huskies do. They either win and they're obnoxious about it, or they lose and have excuses." - Washington State offensive lineman Robbie Tobeck

"None of my kids - and I plan on having more - are going to be at WSU because I want them to be able to get a job some day later on." - Washington defensive lineman Jordan Reffert

(Quotes courtesy: The Spokesman-Review)


The most famous Apple Cup took place in 1982, when Washington kicker Chuck Nelson's only missed field goal of the year kept the Huskies out of the Rose Bowl. It was a monumental upset for Washington State, which entered the game with a 2-7-1 record. The 1982 installment also marked the first Apple Cup played in Pullman in 28 years, so the atmosphere was electric.

Ten years after the epic upset in Pullman, the Cougars produced magic on their home field again. Led by eventual NFL MVP quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Washington State knocked off the defending national champion Huskies, who were ranked fifth in the nation at the time. The game became known as the "Snow Bowl" because of its wintry conditions.

In 2002, Washington squeaked out a thrilling triple-overtime victory in Pullman versus No. 3 Washington State. The game ended in controversy, as referee Gordon Riese determined Cougars quarterback Matt Kegel's pass went backward, making it a fumble (that Washington recovered) instead of a harmless incompletion. Outraged by the game-ending call, Washington State fans littered the field with debris.

Love to hate: The underrated, overheated Apple Cup rivalry
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