Moore: This Coug is sick of saying ‘oh well’ after the Apple Cup
How much did I not enjoy the Apple Cup? Explained in a run-on sentence – I paid $600 for four tickets, lost $170 in three bets with Husky fans, froze my rear end off for nearly four hours, then spent three hours on snowy and icy US 95 during a white-knuckle 85-mile drive from Moscow to Couer d’Alene, drenched to the bone.
Explained in a shorter way – I did not enjoy the Apple Cup at all. Funny thing is, most of the night I thought the Cougars were going to end their five-game losing streak to Washington. I really did. When we were down 20-15 and had the ball, I thought, OK, this is where we take control. When we were down 28-15, I thought we would win 29-28.
I kept the faith because I thought it was going to be 1992 all over again. That was the first Snow Bowl, and Drew Bledsoe and Philip Bobo led the Cougars to a shocking win at Martin Stadium that night. This time around, the Cougars wore the same crimson-colored uniforms and even wore throwback gray helmets with the Cougar script on the sides that they wore in the 1992 Apple Cup.
The snow came down all game long like it did in ’92. The only thing different was the outcome. I still don’t get what happened. But then, I admit to being delusional. I’m always amused when someone prefaces something by saying: “I don’t want to use this as an excuse” or “no excuses” and proceeds to use the excuse anyway.
So I won’t do that. I’ll be up front with it and tell you that I am going to use an excuse. The weather had a major impact on the Washington State offense. Now if you told me a passing team should have an advantage since the receivers know where they’re going, and the slip-sliding defensive backs don’t, I would think you’d be right about that. And that part of it makes me wonder why the Cougs weren’t more effective with their passing game. But you saw it – the Air Raid never got any traction in the snow.
I will always wonder how that game would have played out in better conditions. In my mind, in that scenario, if you played the game 100 times, the Cougs would win 80, maybe even 85 of them. That’s probably not the number you would come up with, but it’s my number, and I’m biased – I’m viewing it through crimson-and-gray glasses, OK? Besides, oddsmakers thought we’d win too.
I’m pretty much sick of saying “oh well” after the Apple Cup. I’ve officially reached the point of feeling like we will never beat the Huskies again. If it didn’t happen this year with a folk hero at quarterback, it will never happen. Folk heroes aren’t beaten in their final regular-season game. Storybook seasons don’t have sad endings. The guy on the white horse never rides off into the sunset as a loser. Gardner Minshew was supposed to wipe his mustache all over the Dawgs and all over the Utes and take it triumphantly to the Rose Bowl.
Can you somehow call a 10-2 season unsuccessful? No, not really, but losing to the Huskies certainly tarnished the masterpiece. I don’t know how you would vote on a Twitter poll I threw out there, but if you gave me a choice between a 10-2 season and losing to Washington and an 8-4 season and beating Washington, I’d take the second choice – gimme 8-4 and a win over the Dawgs every single time. I even put a third choice on the poll, and I understand why some Cougs voted for a 1-11 season and beating the Dawgs as the only win. That’s how tired most of us are of losing to the Dawgs.
And here’s something else that bothers me – this Jimmy Lake guy. Lake is the Huskies’ defensive coordinator who said after the game that the Cougs were predictable and easy to defend. He went into more detail than that, but I don’t feel like going back and seeing exactly what he said; I got the gist of it. Talk about having no class. Now I’ve heard some Cougs and many Huskies say he was simply speaking the truth, but I don’t care, even if he thinks that was the case, keep it to yourself. Laugh about it with your fellow coaches over beers. Whatever, just don’t publicize how smart you think you were and how stupid the Cougs were for being “predictable,” in your opinion.
What I’d also say to Jimmy Lake is this – if you think you’re so brilliant, I wonder how you’d do in Corvallis with the Beavers’ defense. Or how good would you be if you didn’t have a bunch of NFL prospects in your secondary? I have sources who have told me that Lake’s ego is so big, he’s thinking about changing his name to Ocean.
Listen, I’m lacking in class too, I know that, but I’m just watching these games, I’m not involved in them like he is. Lake needs to take a page out of his head coach’s playbook and show some humility and respect for his opponents.
I’m venting, and in many ways, I’m being as unprofessional as Lake in this column. But it doesn’t seem like the old rules in journalism apply anymore so what the heck – this was a poor loser’s perspective. When you’re a poor loser, you’re not thinking clearly. You ramble on and don’t make a whole lot of sense.
But this is what it’s come to with the Apple Cup from this Coug’s point of view. Do me a favor, I know this hopeless feeling of never thinking we’ll beat the Dawgs again will fade over time. We’ll go into the 2019 Apple Cup and something will make me think this is the year we’ll beat the Dawgs, and I’ll forget that I said that the last six years. Shake me, smack me, remind me that I don’t want to eat my words again.
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