2008 version of Apple Cup full of worms Print
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Wednesday, 19 November 2008 12:27
NCAAF Headline News

 SEATTLE (AP) - How about this for a marketing pitch: Come see the two worst teams in major college football.
Try selling tickets to that.
But that's the task facing folks at Washington (0-10) and Washington State (1-10) this week leading up to Saturday's rotten Apple Cup in Pullman - a battle of ineptitude that will truly go down in history.
``We're the punch line,'' said Washington offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, who previously coached at Washington State as well. ``And when you haven't won a football game and you've only beat, who was their only win, Portland State, well that's why we're the punch line.''
The Cougars and Huskies - who have been about as scary to opponents as kittens and puppies - meet Saturday in game so ugly only the mothers of the players could love it. But just as mom might say, 'This Apple Cup is unique in its own special way.''
h 10 losses faced each other. Of those five matchups, none have been between teams from Bowl Championship Series conferences. The closest competitor for marquee value of futility is the 2002 Army-Navy game, won by Navy 58-12.
The other matchups: Utah State vs. Idaho (2007); Akron vs. Ohio (1994); New Mexico State vs. Cal State Fullerton (1990) and Pacific vs. New Mexico State (1989).
It is the first matchup of 10-loss teams in Pac-10 history, something the league kept noticeably absent from its game notes this week.
There's plenty of national interest in the 2008 version of the Apple Cup - of course, lots of people love horror movies, too.
``In the big picture I don't know if that's fair. You have teams that have been in transition that have transition years that are in a certain state and are going to build themselves back up and are going to be better,'' Washington State coach Paul Wulff said. ``If they want to make fun with it and they get a laugh out of it, then I guess they can do that.''
the Seahawks struggle.
There is the chance those beleaguered souls brave enough to show up on a chilly afternoon in the Palouse will get a rare treat - two negatives (the miserable teams) making a positive (a mildly entertaining game).
That's probably wishful thinking considering the track record.
On one Saturday earlier this month, Washington and Washington State were outscored a combined 114-0 (thank you Stanford and USC).
The Cougars have already allowed a Pac-10 record 533 points this season - and only 33 behind the all-time FBS record of 566 set by Eastern Michigan in 2002, with two games remaining. Washington's number isn't anything to be proud of though, already at 399 and just 12 points behind the school's worst-ever mark from last year.
Hey, at least they're the same in one regard: they've both scored exactly 139 points this season, good enough to be tied for 117th nationally, out of 119 teams.
Who's worse? Wyoming. No disrespect, Huskies and Cougars, but the Cowboys are a much better team. They don't score much but they've at beaten three FBS schools, including Tennessee.
The Huskies haven't won in more than a calendar year. The Cougars lone win since last year's Apple Cup came against a 3-7 team from the Football Championship Subdivision.
ton is ranked 106th or worse in 12 of 14 NCAA statistical categories. The Cougars are only slightly better: 104th or worse in just 10 of 14 categories.
``You hear them talking on ESPN or (Fox Sports) ... It hurts the pride of our state,'' Washington defensive tackle Johnie Kirton said. ``But you've got to look past that because this is an important game for our state.''
It wasn't long ago that the Apple Cup was among the top rivalries in college football, a must see contest full of respectful venom that not only split the state's loyalties but made fans proud.
Between 1990 and 2003 at least one team was ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 on 11 occasions. From 2000-2003, at least one was ranked in the Top 10. It was prime viewing that had national intrigue and was backed up with entertaining - sometimes controversial - games.
This week - eh - not so much. It gets a national broadcast slot on Saturday afternoon, even as disgruntled alumni are pushing a tongue-in-cheek petition on the Internet asking Fox Sports to save the entire country from having to see it.
The petition reads, ``Instead, followers of both teams are encouraged to spend time with their family, friends, even strangers; or read a book, or even play their own game!'' It's not a bad suggestion.
mpact - while the pillow fight in Pullman gets a national audience.
The constant refrain from both schools is the records can be tossed out this week. In some ways, they're right. No matter how good or bad the teams, only once in the last 13 matchups has the game been decided by more than 10 points.
And don't forget, NCAA rules ensure someone will win.
``It's the Apple Cup,'' Washington cornerback Mesphin Forrester said. ``It's still a pretty big deal.''
 

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