Huard: Favorable schedules for UW, WSU could set up another Apple Cup that settles Pac-12 North title
The 2016 Apple Cup was one of the most important in the long series between rivals Washington and Washington State because it decided the Pac-12 North championship. After the 2017 schedules were released this week, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard said there’s reason to believe it could happen again next season.
“I think these are incredibly favorable schedules for both Washington and Washington State and no reason, looking at it on paper right now, to think they shouldn’t be playing in the Apple Cup once again for the Pac-12 North,” Huard said Thursday on “Brock and Salk.”
The favorable part of the schedules Huard made mention to is how the home and road matchups in Pac-12 play shook out for each team.
For Washington, its road games are at Colorado, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford. And while Colorado and Stanford both finished 2016 in the Associated Press Top 25, they’ll both be looking to rebuild after losing key players. The Huskies also won’t have to contend with USC, a team on the rise that handed UW its only regular season loss last season o and finished No. 3 in the AP rankings.
In Washington State’s case, it will have to take on USC, but the game will be in Pullman, and its road games – other than the Apple Cup – are at Oregon, Cal, Arizona and Utah.
While that’s all good news for one of the teams securing a spot in the Pac-12 title game, the Huskies’ schedule won’t do them any favors should they find themselves in the hunt for the College Football Playoff again. Their non-conference games are at Rutgers and then home contests with Montana and Fresno State – not exactly a murderer’s row. That will again give ammunition to those who don’t believe Washington deserves to be in the mix for the national championship.
“Yeah, that’s a bummer,” Huard said, acknowledging that UW tried to beef up its schedule but lost out on a home-and-home series with Wisconsin in 2018 and 2021 when the Badgers backs out of over two years ago. “You’re gonna hear the same kind of cries from afar, the same treetoppers that look at it from the national level, the same people that are gonna point to Chris Petersen and say he is somehow (former Baylor coach) Art Briles and scheduling soft even though that is not necessarily the case as they’ve tried to already tweak and change that schedule.”