Week 13 Game Matchup: Washington State Cougars VS. Washington Huskies

By Dave Consolazio and Sam Saig, November 27, 2009 9:37 am

Washington State Cougars (1-10) vs. Washington Huskies (3-7)
Saturday, November 28, 3:30 PM PST
Las Vegas Favorite: Washington -24.5

Sam’s Take (49 – 19):

For the second straight season, the Apple Cup will decide the Pac-10’s cellar dweller (well, it will make it official anyway, the Cougs already have the spot wrapped up). Amazingly, both of these programs combined have only won one game since September 19th. That day, I thought the Apple Cup would surely be must-see TV, as UW upset USC and Wazzu pulled out a thrilling comeback win over SMU. But the momentum didn’t carry over for either school, so here we are again.

WSU has won four of the last five, including a particularly satisfying double overtime game last year that kept the hated Huskies winless (which is how they would finish). But U-Dub was without a pair of game breakers that will undoubtedly influence the outcome in Seattle this Saturday. I expect QB Jake Locker and RB Chris Polk to account for at least four to five TDs against a Cougar defense that ranks 116th nationally against the run and 117th against the pass.

Don’t get me wrong; I am a big believer in throwing out the record books for rivalry games. But it is very hard for me to believe that WSU can score enough points to keep up with Locker, Polk and the rest of Sarkisian’s playmakers. As bad as the Huskies are on defense (104th nationally in total defense), Wazzu is even worse offensively (119th nationally in total offense). In a game of weakness vs. weakness, I’ll take U-Dub.

Paul Wulff has been adamant that his WSU program is headed in the right direction, and I want to believe him. But a perfect storm of injuries, dismissals, and poor play has helped produce arguably the worst team in the history of the program. While Sarkisian’s Dawgs have a long way to go as well, the talent discrepancy between the two programs is night and day.

I like the Huskies in a rout.

Prediction: Washington 42 – Washington State 17

Washington State Player to Keep an Eye On: RB Dwight Tardy – This will be Tardy’s last game as a Coug and I expect him to finish his solid career with a big effort. Tardy would love to end his career with a winning record against U-Dub (he is 2-1 in his career vs. UW).

Washington Player to Keep an Eye On: TE Kavario Middleton – Middleton has given the Cougs some bulletin board material this week by saying the Dawgs would score 50 on WSU to show them where they stand in the Pac-10. Now he and the rest of the offense will have to back it up.

Dave’s Take (50 – 18):

It’s been a far fall from 2-1 as Washington has lost 6 of their last 7, but not far enough to make me forget that they are a tier above Washington State.

After all, all three wins came against teams with winning records in Idaho and conference-contenders USC and Arizona. They also had extremely close calls against Notre Dame, ASU, and UCLA.

Washington State? Every loss has been by 13+, and 8 of the 10 have been by three touchdowns or more. Had it not been for an absolute meltdown by SMU’s Bo Levi Mitchell, that game would have been another double-digit loss. The Cougars haven’t been remotely competitive all season, and it has gotten worse as injuries have piled up.

This is the easiest game on Washington’s schedule, rivalry game or not. Plenty of players left on this year’s team that remember the game from last year too. The Huskies have come a long way since then; the Cougars have actually regressed.

Prediction: Washington 44 – Washington State 17

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